Returning home from France in April 1919, scarred both mentally and physically, Liam Murphy looked forward to rebuilding his life. But so much had now changed. His wife, Bridget, was doing the household repairs; his son was sitting in his Dad’s chair; jobs that the men had left when they enlisted were now taken by women; and Liam’s trade as a carter was rapidly being taken over by the motorised trucks.
In this sequel to ‘Made in Myrtle Street,’ Liam finds himself frustrated and despairing, his family hungry. He acquires a rag-and-bone round and is astonished when he feels in the inside pocket of a suit given to him by the formidable, recently widowed, Nellie Grimshaw. He discovers a small, high quality painting of a young couple. The woman, with expensive jewellery and clothes, is lustrously beautiful whilst the man at her side is - him. Liam, with no recall of either the woman or the painting, struggles for an explanation and is haunted by its implication of his infidelity.
Pip, the daughter of his long-time pal, and her best friend, Amy, take up the challenge of finding an explanation and slowly unpick the surprising, and sometimes uncomfortable, revelations about the intriguing woman and her connection with Liam.
Switching from donkey stones to selling vegetables from the allotments of his friends, Liam’s business expands but he suffers threats and intimidation from the aggressively unpleasant Clarence Meredith, a wholesale fruit and vegetable merchant. The eventual solution almost spirals out of Liam’s control.
‘Rags, Bones and Donkey Stones’ is a novel peopled with rich characters that gives a humorous yet poignant insight into the struggle to rebuild Britain after the devastating losses of World War 1.