82: Rivals: Jilly Cooper: ISBN 0-552-15056-8
Set in the rural area around the home of Rupert Campbell-Black, one of the show-jumping stars of Riders, this book eschews the world of horses and concentrates instead on the ins and outs of running and bidding for an ITV franchise. A cast of characters all falling into and out of bed with each other, with shifting loyalties. By and large most people turn out to be pretty nice really, and the nasty ones get their comeuppance. And it has a lovely happy ending of course, which yes, made me shed a tear or two despite having read it before. It's still trash, but it's readable trash. Though I must learn not to wince at the constant strings of women who would be prettier if they'd just lose some weight.
In addition I've been slugging away at the Chalet School shelf and have got a reasonable way through.
83: The Chalet School And Barbara: Elinor M Brent-Dyer: ISBN 0-00-690375-4
84: The Chalet School Does It Again: Elinor M Brent-Dyer: ISBN 0-00-693661-X
85: A Chalet Girl From Kenya: Elinor M Brent-Dyer: ISBN 0-00-693662-8
86: Mary-Lou Of The Chalet School: Elinor M Brent-Dyer: ISBN 0-00-690405-X
87: A Genious At The Chalet School: Elinor M Brent-Dyer: ISBN 0-00-691412-8
88: Chalet School Fête: Elinor M Brent-Dyer: ISBN 0-00-690445-9
89: A Problem For The Chalet School: Elinor M Brent-Dyer: ISBN 0-00-690504-8
90: The New Mistress At The Chalet School: Elinor M Brent-Dyer: ISBN 0-00-690390-8
91: Excitements At The Chalet School: Elinor M Brent-Dyer: ISBN 0-00-691915-4
92: The Coming Of Age Of The Chalet School: Elinor M Brent-Dyer: ISBN 0-00-692584-7
93: The Chalet School And Richenda: Elinor M Brent-Dyer: ISBN 0-00-692060-8
Strange to watch as the characters who are new girls in the earlier ones are settled in and becoming sheepdogs for the girls who come only a few terms after them. The usual mix of excitements and alarums. Weather and mischieviousness play their parts in various minor disasters, but overall the Chalet Girl spirit wins through. Lovely to see the point of view of a new teacher (only 22!) in The New Mistress. And great to catch up with Joey, Frieda, Marie and Simone and have them all enjoying themselves like schoolgirls again, visiting the Tiernsee in Coming Of Age. And through all of these Mary-Lou is a big star. Richenda has her first term as Head Girl, so I guess it won't be too many books now before we lose her. Who will be the big character then? Len is following a lot in her (and Joey's) footsteps as a champion butter-in. I shall just have to wait and see.