Oh, my, this was a dandy book. This is one of four books published as part of the Dorothy Project, an effort to increase exposure of women authors of fiction.
The book was originally published in 1954 and is about life in a small British town. The book centers around the Willoweed family, who is governed by a bitter, downright evil grandmother. The story begins after a flood has hit the town and the town is trying to recover.
The flood is soon forgotten, though, as a mysterious illness spreads through the town causing insanity and death. As each person dies, the remaining townfolk react and further changes spread through the town. Eventually the cause of the illness is found which results in yet more deaths.
Although the book doesn't really have a plot, it does a nice job with characters and exploring how people behave. It is an interesting contrast. You have a nice, small, peaceful town that suddenly is beset with disaster and violence.
It's a small book and a very quick read. The (re)actions of characters thus take place rather rapidly and are a little bit exaggerated as a result. It has its flaws but is still a very entertaining read and I think the Project is an excellent one. I definitely recommend reading this just because, darn it, sometimes you have to read overlooked books that are fifty years old.