This descendant of Robert Louis Stevenson has the same cunning skill in constructing characters by the use of dialogue and action. The story does NOT involve pirates unless... Well, Barbara Buncle's efforts to make her finances healthier, in the Thirties Recession, turn her neighbourhood upside down, creating happiness and fury in about equal amounts. You could draw a map of the village, smell the autumn fires and the drains, and... dare I say it?... meet the same people any day in any Home Counties hamlet in 2013. The lady's neighbours are fascinating, as are her mistakes about them. As the complications increase we almost begin to expect violence. Read this if only in order to be reminded that 'the times they're not as changing' in the UK as the media would have us believe. This is a very subtle book, beginning like an old -fashioned steam train, (which figures in the story), and picking up speed to a whistling arrival. Persevere: 'John Smith' is worth careful study and will re-read very well.