A Jamaican Alexander McCall Smith meets Small Island by Andrea Levy
It all begins with the theft of Tessa Walcott's polkadot panties and a river that changes course overnight...When Imelda Richardson leaves the small village of Watersgate, Jamaica, armed only with one small suitcase, she is doing so for the second time. One of the throng of young Jamaicans who left the island after the devastating hurricane of 1974, Imelda's journey has taken her to England, to the home of ganja-growing rebel Purletta Johnson, the arms of fake Northerner Ozzie, and a law degree. But when her mother dies Imelda returns to Watersgate, choosing Jamaica over England. 1983 is still a couple of years shy of the great dancehall explosion in which artistes like Shabba Ranks would sing how he 'loved punany bad', and the village is still dominated by the Evangelical church and the thundering voice of Pastor Braithwaite. When Tessa Walcott's panties are stolen - and in the absence of Perry Mason - she and Imelda decide to set up a Neighbourhood Watch. But they haven't counted on Pastor Braithwaite and the crusading zeal of Evangelist Millie. As a Pentecostal fervour sweeps through the village, the tensions between old and new come to a head.