An American wanders around the quiet Sussex village of Ditchling. He roams the narrow lanes looking for his ancestral roots, and for stories of his grandfather amidst the ghosts of the artist Eric Gill. The American had better be careful. He might encounter beautiful widows, enigmatic boot scrapers and preternatural crosswords. He might take a tumble in the graveyard or fall foul of traffic regulations. There is a risk he will win the village quiz. Scorper is a novel of loyal chickens, sharp tools and twitching curtains. It is a tender triumph of macabre romanticism, with added bird bones.