Were it not for the mention of a laptop, Hilton Pashley’s novel Gabriel’s Clock could belong in the past. Although it begins with quite a lot of action – you know, the way it is when your home is suddenly destroyed by very scary creatures, who turn out to be demons, and your father might be dead or injured, and you have to flee for your life – it then settles down into something quite comfy and old-fashioned.
Jonathan worries about what has happened to his parents, but having arrived in the village of Hobbes End, he is surrounded by very friendly people and they will do all they can to help him, but first they will drink a lot of tea. And they will socialise a lot. Hobbes End is a village with a difference.
There is more than tea-drinking. We have a talking cat, and live gargoyles. A werewolf. A fallen angel, who happens to make clocks. Lots of kind people.
Which is good, because those demons aren’t going to give up. Jonathan learns what he really is, and Hobbes End is embroiled in a war with Hell.
People are perhaps a little bit too nice and kind. Not the demons, but the vicar and the doctor. And the werewolf. But perhaps they need to be. This isn’t over yet, and I suspect that war between Heaven and Hell might take more than a second book to resolve.
Nice and comfortable, if you like vicarages and pots of tea.