A Journey Begins in the Post Office Queue

The self-service mailing machine was out of order – again.

The queue went all around the building, out of the door and a good way up the main street.

Once again, I cursed the government that had seen fit to close my lovely, one-man, local Post Office. and forced me to go to the big Post Office in town.

It was lucky I had been to the library first, that I had the option of losing myself in a wonderful book as I waited.

“Lawrence Bartram was waiting for a late connection at Swindon station. It was a bright April day and he had been glad to leave London, a city teeming with the crowds drawn in by Empire Exhibition fever. Now, as he looked beyond the water tower towards the vast marshalling yards and busy workshops of the Great Western Railway, the metallic clangour, the smell of oil and coal, and the distant shouted exchanges filled the air. There was order in the rows of trains in their cream and brown livery and then the tidy terraces of railway cottages, but behind them the sweep of the hills to the south-west rose, bigger than all of it … “

From The Strange Fate of Kitty Easton by Elizabeth Speller.

When I finished reading The Return of Captain John Emmett  I had no real expectation of meeting Lawrence Bartram again. I am so pleased that I am, that we are setting off on another journey, another mystery …

14 responses

  1. This sounds enchanting! I love her writing style in that quotation. I must track down the first book. Thank you for letting me know about it.
    I sympathise with your queue waiting – urgh – my post office is equally slow despite there being three people there to ‘serve’ – usually only one is ever bothering to call customers over. At least you had a lovely book to help you pass the time.

    • I do think you’d like these Christina.

      The staff in my PO are pretty good, but they are overwhelmed in a town that had four branches but now has just two.

  2. You have summed up my feelings exactly!! I have my copy from the library too. From the extract you quoted it’s looking good! Can’t wait!

    • It does look good, I have to finish a couple of other books due back soon, but I shall be getting back to this one as soon as I can.

  3. Oh, tell me about it… my big Post Office in Oxford sees fit to take most of its staff off during the lunch hour. As Americans say – go figure. But of course I always have a book (or two or three) in my bag…

    • I always had a book with me when I lived in London, but the habit slipped when I came back to my slower, friendlier homeland. It may have to be revived …

  4. I haven’t got a copy of this book yet but I’m looking forward to reading it eventually. I loved The Return of Captain John Emmett so it will be nice to meet Laurence Bartram again.

  5. I have yet to read The Return of Captain John Emmett but it is in the building! Looking forward to reading it if there is another one afterwards!

  6. I don’t do post offices any more, they are horrendous places … I do as much as I can without having ever to go there, buying stamps at my local shop, doing much of my bill paying online, buying presents online, but the worst part is when, having been indoors for the better part of several days, you pop out to get milk and return to find some Postie has attempted to deliver a packet that he can’t get through the letter box and you then have to wait 24 hours and then, as if to add insult to injury, you have to go to the collecting office for it. Bah Humbug!
    Re The Return of Capt John Emmett and The Strange Fate of Kitty Easton – they are the best reads thus far this year (and to them I would also add Natasha Solomons’ The Novel in the Viola which I absolutely loved.)

  7. We don’t have a problem with deliveries as we have a secure porch, but sending is a pain. My online prepay account was closed when I didn’t use it for a while, I took to the mailing machine but it has turned unreliable…

    I’m very pleased you write positively about Kitty Easton, particularly as I loved both the other books you mention.

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