Cover of A Job for SusanA Job for Susan

Jane Shaw
May 2006 160pp, ISBN 978 09552973 0 4
£12.99 (includes p&p in the UK)

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In A Job for Susan, her parents are at last returned from Africa, after three years during which Susan lived with her Carmichael cousins in Wichwood. Fortunately Mr and Mrs Lyle are equally enchanted with Wichwood Village, and rent Maggie Zimmerli’s little house just five minutes walk from the Carmichaels’. Christmas is on its way, but Bill is feeling only panic as he realises his rash promise to raise £10 for Oxfam over the holidays must be fulfilled. Susan happily springs into action to help him out, and embarks on a spurt of inexpert but enthusiastic fundraising. Once they find out the value of rare coins, their search for a 1953 penny becomes the stuff of farce, but a trip to the bank to acquire a small sack of change results in the capture of some local hoodlums.

Wichwood Village in real life was Dulwich, where Jane Shaw and her family spent several happy years before emigrating to South Africa. All the houses and shops mentioned in the book can be traced on a map of Dulwich; even better is an afternoon stroll round this charming part of south London. For readers who have followed her career over the past ten books, it is curiously satisfying to read of Susan’s unmarred happiness in finally having her parents home again, and of her delight in introducing her schoolfriend Tessa, who joins Susan for the holidays, to her Wichwood haunts.

To learn more about Jane Shaw's life and the archive of her personal papers, now deposited in the National Library of Scotland, click here. To read the opening chapters of The Man at the Villa Carlotta, an unfinished manuscript by Jane Shaw, click here. To view maps of the sites where Jane Shaw's books are set, drawn by Elsepth Insch, click here.

Have you read Susan and Friends: The Jane Shaw Companion?

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