On Our Bookshelves:
Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand


NOVEL: Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand


AUTHOR: Helen Simonson





They have a lot in common, the widowed Mrs. Jasmina Ali, the Pakistani shopkeeper from the village, and Major Ernest Pettigrew (retired).  They live quiet lives.  They are both lonely after the death of their spouses.  They share a fondness for English literature.  He has a extremely obnoxious son with a complicated romantic life.  She has an extremely obnoxious nephew with a complicated romantic life.  They form a friendship, and possibly more, and horrify their families and the neighbors in Edgecombe St. Mary in the process.

In short, it’s a Romeo and Juliet story, but with much older protagonists and a much lower body count.  And these older but wiser lovers are a joy and a delight to get to know.  Read this one with a big cup of tea and some scones and clotted cream.


RATING (one to five whistles, with five being the best): 3 ½ whistles





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Burmese Days, George Orwell

Cannery Row, John Steinbeck

Charlotte’s Web, E.B. White

Cloud Atlas, David Mitchell

Cockpit Confidential, Patrick Smith

Envious Casca, Georgette Heyer

Foreign Affairs, Alison Lurie

Gaudy Night, Dorothy L. Sayers

Heads In Beds, Jacob Tomsky

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Mother Night, Kurt Vonnegut

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Rose Madder, Stephen King

The Annotated Alice: The Definitive Ed., Lewis Carroll & Martin Gardner (with original illustrations by John Tenniel)

The Dancer of Izu, Kawabata Yasunari

The Monogram Murders, Sophie Hannah

The Mother & Child Project, Hope Through Healing Hands (ed.)

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, Muriel Spark

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, Rachel Joyce

The Unrest-Cure and Other Stories, Saki

The Westing Game, Ellen Raskin

Up At The Villa, W. Somerset Maugham


Lead-In Image Courtesy of Tymonko Galyna/Shutterstock.com


Laura LaVelle is an attorney and writer who lives in Connecticut, in a not quite 100-year-old house, along with her husband, two daughters, and a cockatiel.

Laura can be contacted at laura@newswhistle.com