When, on the spur of a moment, Norman Huntley and his friend Henry invent an eighty-three year-old woman called Miss Hargreaves, they are inspired to post a letter to their new fictional friend. It is only meant to be a silly, harmless game - until Miss Hargreaves arrives on their doorstep, complete with her cockatoo, her harp and - last but not least - her bath. She is, to Norman's utter disbelief, exactly as he had imagined her: enchanting, eccentric and endlessly astounding. He hadn't imagined, however, how much havoc an imaginary octogenarian could wreak in his sleepy Buckinghamshire home town, Cornford. Norman has some explaining to do, but how will he begin to explain to his friends, family and girlfriend where Miss Hargreaves came from when he hasn't the faintest clue himself? Will his once-ordinary, once-peaceful life ever be the same again? And, what's more, does he want it to? Miss Hargreaves is part of The Bloomsbury Group, a new library of books from the early twentieth-century chosen by readers for readers.
Frank Baker was born in London in 1908 and trained as a musician. In 1930, after five years in an underwriting room and one in a school for church organists, he drew chants overboard with cargo papers and drifted to Land's end. It was then possible to live on a pound a week, and this amount he earned as village organist. His first novel, The Twisted Tree, published in 1935, was called 'a dark an terrible tale' which might, somebody said, 'have been written by the ghost of D. H. Lawrence seated on the grave of Mary Webb.' His second, The Birds, forecast the collapse of civilization under an onslaught of harpies and it worried the reviewers. In 1938, after changing from one village organ to another, he was received into the Catholic Church and consequently abandoned the Anglican console. In 1939, somewhere in Ulster, Miss Hargreaves crossed his path and influenced his fortunes. Frank Baker died in 1983.