Sunday, October 23, 2011

Jane Shaw Guide: Jennifer Harding

Jennifer Harding is a young woman and friend of the Carmichaels who lives in the centre of Wichwood Village with her mother and little brother Michael. At the beginning of Susan and the Home-made Bomb, Jennifer has been awarded a scholarship at the prestigious Sloane School of Art, but cannot afford to take it because she has to help her mother keep the house and get a job as a secretary to help make ends meet. Gabrielle Gascoigne accompanies Susan and the Carmichaels to tea at the Harding home to talk to Jennifer about setting up a meeting with a director of the Sloane, Tootsy Fitzgerald. During tea, Peregrine plants a home-made bomb in front of the fire. Susan throws it into the fire and there is a terrible explosion. Susan loses her eyelashes and eyebrows and there is damage to the room. But Jennifer notices a scratch in a worthless old painting by her late grandfather and discovers that there is another painting underneath. This turns out to be an Italian Primitive, a Fra Angelico. The Hardings sell the painting for £7000. They use the money to refurbish their house and convert it into flats that they can rent, and of course Jennifer will be able to go to the Sloane School without help from the Gascoignes.

Susan and the Home-made Bomb is Jennifer's only appearance in a Jane Shaw story.