2007 William Morrow
Mist rose in swirls from the still surface of the canal. It seemed to take on a life of its own, an amorphous creature bred from the dusk. The day, which had been unseasonably warm and bright for late November, had quickly chilled with the setting sun, and Annie Lebow shivered, pulling the old cardigan she wore a bit closer to her thin body.She stood in the stern of her narrow boat, the Lost Horizon, gazing at the bare trees lining the curve of the Cut, breathing in the dank, fresh scent that was peculiar to water with the coming of evening. The smell brought, as it always did, an aching for something she couldn't articulate, an ever-deepening melancholia. Behind her, the lamps in the boat's cabin glowed welcomingly, but for her they signaled only the attendant terrors of the coming night. The fact that her isolation was self-imposed made it no easier to bear.
They passed the church, then a snow-covered expanse Gemma assumed must be the green. Their street intersected another at the green's end, and there Gemma stopped, her mouth open in an "O" of surprise and delight. This was what Duncan had described, what she had imagined. The buildings ran together higgledy-piggledy, black-and-white timbering against Cheshire redbrick, gingerbread gables, and leaded windows winking like friendly eyes.This was the High, she saw from a signpost, but she would have known instinctively that she stood in the very heart of the town. The shops were ordinary--a WH Smith, A Holland & Barrett, a newsagent's--but they had been tucked into the lower floors of the original Tudor houses, and so were transformed into something quite magical.The movement of the buildings over the centuries had caused black-and-white timbering to shift a little, giving the patterns a tilted, slightly rakish air. Snow iced the rooftops, Christmas lights twinkled, bundled pedestrians hurried through the streets, and from somewhere came the faint strains of "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen." Gemma laughed aloud. "It's perfect. Absolutely. The best sort of Christmas-card perfect."
As Babcock squelched across the rutted ice in the hospital car park, he passed Dr. Elsworthy's Morris Minor in the section reserved for doctors' vehicles. From the rear seat, the dog's head rose like a monolithic monster emerging from the deep. The beast gave him a distant and fathomless stare, then looked away, as if it had assessed him and found him wanting, before sinking out of sight once more. No wonder the doctor had no use for anything as modern as a car with an alarm system, Babcock thought as he gave the dog and vehicle a wide berth. She was more likely to be sued by a prospective burglar complaining of heart failure than to have her car violated.
I loved this book and am so happy I have seven more left remaining to read in this series. Now if only Britbox or Acorn would create a TV series for when I'm caught up. That would be perfect!