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Miss Hargreaves

Remember the Uglis in the Edith Nesbit story? Remember the horrors of Whistle and I'll come to you? Constance Hargreaves is less menacing, but still shows that unrestrained imagination can be an excitingly dangerous thing.

An unexpected parallel to Time and Again, this book considers how powerful imagination can be and thereby encourages the reader to the exercise of fantasy. It adds another quiet cathedral city to the imaginary guide-book, and like William Mayne's chorister stories speaks about music with informed interest and about individuals and animals with half-rueful accuracy.

While in general I'd stick with the assertion that books are for reading, Miss Hargreaves would make a wonderful film. Now, whom could we cast in the title role? Margaret Rutherford? Euphemia Doubtfire?

Someone apparently said of Frank Baker's first novel, a "dark and terrible tale", that it might have been written by the ghost of D.H. Lawrence seated on the grave of Mary Webb. I'll send Ruben into Howling for a copy forthwith.

By the way, Miss Hargreaves kept a flat in London ... look at the list of tenants when Richard Hannay takes "Arabella Smith" back to Portland Place.