I blame Stella Gibbons. A one-time country gal myself, I sometimes fantasise about finding a book where a naïve refugee from city life arrives in a picturesque country village and discovers that the locals are well-adjusted members of society living pleasant, orderly lives. You’d miss out on comic mayhem, perhaps, but as a radical literary experiment it would be hard to beat.
Naturally, as soon as the heroine of Bed of Roses takes her first breath of rural air, you know it’s only a matter of time before the perverts and the psychopaths start creeping out of the daffodil patch. Fanny Flynn has arrived to take the job of head teacher at