The Girls by Bowen
A wry, macabre tale of simple living, brutal murder, and a reasonably happy couple. In their lovely old Cotswolds village, Janet and Susan are known to all the other villagers as “the girls”—a fixture. Partners in love and work, co-proprietors of a picturesque shop specializing in the work of local artisans and farmers, they lead an enviable, enviably settled life. So it’s no catastrophe when Sue, the younger of the two, feels the need to take a month to travel on her own, leaving Jan alone to run their stall at the Inland Waterways Rally Craft Fair. Nor is it any real threat when a kindly gay man named Alan lends Jan a hand in Sue’s absence, or when the two wind up sharing some wine and even a bunk for the night. If Jan turns out to be pregnant some weeks after Sue’s return to the nest, what’s that but cause for joy? And when Alan happens to come visiting, by and by, finding the delighted girls raising a beautiful baby boy, who can blame him for wanting to share in a small part of their bliss? Yes, theirs is an enviable, enviably settled life. And the girls will defend it with every tool at their disposal.