Decades after her divorce, a lady returns to the village of her tumultuous marriage. A railway carriage hosts a charged schoolboy encounter. A murder raises fears of blackmail. A woman waits anxiously in a cafe before eloping to Paris. Another steals a friend’s kitchen knife. In these bittersweet tales, the author of Lolly Willowes reveals her mastery of the short story, celebrated by the New Yorker for decades. Sylvia Townsend Warner is a tragicomic chronicler of the heart’s entanglements, from marriages and affairs to widowhood; and a champion of outsiders, whether single women, the elderly or wartime refugees. Witty and subversive, her stories meld tradition and transgression, with secret sins and fetishes as much a feature of English life as eccentric aunts, country houses and parish churches.