Miss Benson's Beetle by Rachel Joyce

No, not a Volkswagen Beetle as someone thought J but an actual creepy crawly – and a very rare one at that!

Set in 1950 Miss Margery Benson is a disgruntled spinster who, in a fit of pique, gives up her dead end teaching job and follows a dream from her younger days.  Alone in the world she can now make her own decisions and she advertises for a companion to join her on an expedition to the other side of the world to search for a legendary species of beetle which may or may not exist.

We follow her as she interviews the most unsuitable of candidates and then ultimately on their long eventful journey to New Caledonia. Miss Benson and her unlikely companion Enid Pretty discover depths and strength in themselves which they never dreamed of, developing a undeniable bond which neither had anticipated or expected.

Weaved through with colourful characterisation and delightful details of the mundane, the practical and the downright humorous, the story meanders with descriptions of the journey mingled with the vague threat from a stalker who, unknown to them, follows them to their destination, but as the reader we are privy to a  wider view, adding an extra dimension to the tale.

Very enjoyable and a delight to read. The ending is unexpected but not unwelcome and I would highly recommend it as a quirky read.

Submitted by Jillian