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INTRODUCED BY LOUIS DE BERNIERES

‘I’d sooner read a new Barbara Pym than a new Jane Austen’ Philip Larkin

Formidable Miss Doggett fills her life by giving tea parties to young academics and acting as watchdog of the morals of North Oxford. Anthea, her great-niece, is in love with a dashing upper-class undergraduate with political ambitions. Of this, Miss Doggett thoroughly approves. Anthea’s father, however, an Oxford don, is tired of his marriage and carrying on in the most unseemly fashion with his student Barbara Bird – they have been spotted together at the British Museum! Miss Doggett isn’t aware, though, that under her very own roof the lodging curate has proposed to her paid companion Miss Morrow. She wouldn’t approve of that at all.