Georgie Sinclair’s husband has walked out; her 16 year-old son is busy surfing born-again websites; and all those overdue articles are getting her down. So when Georgie spots Mrs Shapiro, an eccentric old Jewish neighbour with an eye for bargain and a fondness for matchmaking, rummaging through her skip in the middle of the night, it’s just the distraction she needs. And although they mistrust each other at first, a firm friendship is formed over the reduced-price shelf at the supermarket.

Then Mrs Shapiro is admitted to hospital and Georgie is named as her next of kin. But sorting out Mrs Shapiro’s semi-derelict mansion, home to 7 stinky cats with agendas of their own, is no easy job when the handyman called into change the locks turns out to be not what he seems and is doing more breaking than fixing. As Georgie steps in to help her new friend, she finds herself unravelling a mystery which takes her from Highbury to wartime Europe to the Middle East, and learning a bit about DIY along the way.

Our group enjoyed this one; colourful characters and unpredictable plot. We found it easy and enjoyable to read, finding it humorous at times. We agreed it was worth getting past the first few chapters and we all found merit in some of the contemporary and historical themes.  A great read all around.