This book ticks a lot of boxes for me. Post-War England, check. Small-town setting, check. Acerbic spinster heroine, check. Rather camp ecclesiastical milieu replete with jumble sales, check. In lesser hands Excellent Women would just have been an entertaining bit of proto Chick-lit/Aga-saga. But with Pym, it’s not about the story or even particularly the characters – it’s about the acuteness of her observations and the exquisitely comic language in which she delivers them. It’s hard to pin down exactly what she does, and if I tried to do so I’d probably spoil it for myself. Incidentally, I was introduced to her work by a character who could have been straight out of one of Pym’s novels, the glamorous, eccentric Robert Tewdwr Moss, with whom I went to university.