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How it all began. We are in England, in the village of Hutton Buscel in the deepest Yorkshire. As in all these villages, there is a church, a graveyard, an Indian restaurant and a school. Toby Teasdale is the headmaster, and Irene Pridworthy, his deputy. Toby is married to Celia, the daughter of Josephine Hamilton, who is well known for her discretion. Toby's best friend, Miles Coombes, is an influential member of the school board. His wife, Rowena Coombes, has a passion for squash. The whole village is talking about it. Lionel Hepplewick, the school's caretaker, is the son of Joe Hepplewick, the village's poet laureate. And finally, there is Sylvie Bell, the Teasdale's maid. We are at the beginning of the summer, and Celia Teasdale is right in the middle of her spring cleaning. She comes out into the garden, stops for a moment, catches her breath, then spies a packet of cigarettes. She hesitates. Should she give in to the temptation ?