Riceyman steps: a novel by Arnold Bennett
Published in 1923, this richly layered novel is set in Clerkenwell. Reyman steps "lead from King's Cross Road up to Riceyman Square". Telling details evoke time, place and atmosphere. The vividly realized central characters are second-hand bookshop proprietor, Henry Earlforward, Violet Arb, neighbouring shop owner, and their servant, the magnificent Elsie.
Earlforward inherited the bookshop from his uncle, who died suddenly after giving Henry an excitable account of Clerkenwell's history. The key episode in this history is the arrival of the underground railway. At first, the railway was greatly desired. As perilous construction work shook foundations and endangered lives, it became feared and loathed. "All Clerkenwell was mad for the line. But when the construction began all Clerkenwell trembled. The earth opened in the most unexpected and undesirable places."
Author: Arnold Bennett
Publication Date: 1923
Publisher: London ; New York: Cassell and Company
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