Sunday, 8 April 2012

SUMMER’S LEASE – John Mortimer, 1988

I watched a DVD of the TV series recently. I enjoyed it very much but I didn’t really understand it. I read the novel on which it was based this week, hoping for enlightenment. I enjoyed it very much but I still didn’t really understand it.
Mortimer sets up a whole series of mysteries for his heroine, Molly Pargeter (and the reader) to solve. Clearly, the loss of the water is due to a local racket and clearly Mr Fixit was murdered for his affair with Mrs Kettering. But what about the clue of the The Copper Beeches? Why did the advert for the villa ask for a family with three girls if the Pargeters are not intended to be impersonating the Ketterings? And what did Henrietta see in the manhole? These questions are asked but never answered.

My paperback copy, as per usual, has a back cover full of reviews. Each one praises the character of Haverford Downs. He is wonderful but, after seeing him ‘inhabited’ by John Gielgud I cannot imagine him any other way.

But Molly Pargeter is the real gem of the novel. Her quiet strength keeps the family together and her love of Italian art is subtly contagious.

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