Christina Jones is one of those authors whose books should be available on prescription, laughter, as they say, being the best medicine. All her previous novels have been great, entertaining reads, but not since reading 'Three Men in A Boat at an early age has any novel caused me to laugh so much and so helplessly as did 'Hubble Bubble'.
It's not just that Christina Jones has a rare gift as a comic writer; she has, too, a warmth towards her fellow-beings, albeit tempered with a sharp eye for their foibles, which permeates her work and produces a rich range of characters. Even minor figures are as spice to the mix. Trilby Man in this novel is a gem of a creation; we've all met him at some time, the kind of man comedian Al Reid used to call 'a dismal Johnnie'.
It is especially pleasing to see in 'Hubble Bubble' that most unusual creature in contemporary popular fiction, the older heroine. Mitzi Blessing may be in her mid-fifties, but inside she's not too far removed from her much younger, flower-child self. As for the hero, when last did we see a dentist in that role in a romantic comedy?
Being made redundant by the boring bank is the best thing which could have happened to Mitzi, her two delightfully different-in-temperament daughters and indeed the whole population of Hazy Hassocks. The discovery of Granny Westward's old cookery book is just the start of a riotous roller-coaster of a story - though the reader is warned not to try any of the recipes at home! To do so might just lead to a less-than-riotous trip in an ambulance, the author implies. As to the magic, well, the reader can interpret that as she pleases.
'Hubble Bubble' works its feelgood effect without the aid of magic - or medicine. That it does so is due to the combination of sure-touch storytelling, an instinct for comic timing and Christina Jones' uniquely individual voice and style. This is a perfect souffle of a novel, prepared, cooked and served by a mature and experienced chef.