She is known now, almost exclusively, as a children's writer - the author of The Railway Children. But E. Nesbit was more than that: a pioneer Socialist, a campaigner for Women's Rights and a passionate social reformer. She was also a prolific poet and author of adult fiction.
The stories in this series are taken from 'In Homespun', a collection that was originally published in 1896, and are set in the villages of South Kent and East Sussex that Nesbit knew well. Told in the first person, by a variety of strong, women characters- the sort of character E. Nesbit specialized in - looking back on their earlier lives. Their voices are robust and distinct.
Here, by turns, are danger, comedy and romance. At stake? Marriage and money. Deft and atmospheric writing from a master story teller.
Her Marriage Lines is a wonderfully comic detective story cum romance. Harry, the son of the house, wants to marry Poll, but the delightfully wicked old housekeeper has other ideas. When the Old Man dies unexpectedly, poison is suspected. But there is a surprising twist in the tale.
Reader: Jenny Agutter
Abridged by Roy Apps
Producer/Director: Celia de Wolff
A Pier Production for BBC Radio 4.