I have enjoyed all the books I’ve read by Rachel Joyce, and this is no exception.
For some reason I assumed Miss Benson’s Beetle would be of the Volkswagen persuasion, but no, it’s an actual insect type beetle.
Set in England (to begin with) in the 1950s Miss Benson is a middle aged unhappy teacher with a lifelong passion for beetles, and an obsession for finding an elusive golden fruit beetle that had been mentioned in the writings of several explorers, but never caught and verified. She has a bit of a meltdown at work which ends in her stealing her colleagues boots (!) and being sacked. She decides to up sticks and travel halfway around the world and have an adventure finding the beetle for herself.
The heart of the story really comes from the relationship she forms with the woman she end up hiring as an assistant for the trip, a totally unsuitable character (or is she…?) with secrets of her own.
I found the book very readable – funny, exciting and genuinely moving – I read it quickly and then was sad when it was over.