THE EMPTY NEST by Elizabeth Cadell


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As Cadell has proved in dozens of previous novels, she knows Village, England, as thoroughly as Sinclair Lewis knew Smalltown, U.S.A. In her latest, life goes on there, cozily, chattily, but aimlessly; the central psychological issue is how the upper-middle-class matron, Stella Deepley, will occupy her days now that her youngest has married and moved away. Will it be art class? Knitting? Enamel jewelry-making? But before Stell faces her dilemma, she and her husband, George, vacation in Naples, where they meet Oliver Anvil, an urbane traveler who volunteers to serve as their tour guide. Once they return home to the village of Outercrane in Middlesex, George goes back to pottering around in his garden aided by a young horticulturalist, Kate Malden, and Stella twiddles her thumbs until Anvil appears in Outercrane seeking lodgings, which the Deepleys provide. It's only when their gardener, Ken Preston, finds a stripped, abandoned car on the grounds and begins to suspect Anvil of shady dealing, that a plot begins to surface. Preston steals Anvil's briefcase, thus exposing him as the head of a ring of car thieves, much to George and Stella's shock. But before long, calm returns to Outercrane, which, with Anvil's hurried departure, is once again populated exclusively by nice folks. Cadell fans and Anglophiles in search of the lightest of entertainments will find pleasure here. Not a book, though, for those desiring something more of the daring, dashing, or robust.

Pub Date: July 28th, 1986
Publisher: Morrow