I’m rather startled to find myself very busy being published this year – after the long lean years of rejection and dejection it’s astonishing (and very gratifying) to realise that in 2013 my fifth and sixth novels will be published. It’s still a source of wonder to me to find that a publisher is prepared to invest in my work and even though my present publisher, Robert Hale Ltd, sell mainly to public libraries and almost exclusively publish hardbacks which don’t get into the shops, it’s still a great thrill to get an offer.
1) The year kicks off on 31st January with the publication of my second contemporary cosy mystery, A Crowded Coffin, which features intrepid former headmistress, Harriet Quigley and her clergyman cousin, Sam Hathaway, in their new adventure.
It’s late summer in Hampshire and former headmistress, Harriet Quigley, is enjoying life. Her cousin Sam is moving next-door and the only cloud on the horizon is village gossip about a man who disappeared months earlier, along with a more recent near-fatal accident.
Suddenly it’s all going pear-shaped – and sensible, practical Harriet has only herself to blame. Sam has warned her not to play at being Miss Marple but despite her cousin’s strictures Harriet is suspicious about several newcomers and she’s been asking discreet questions. There’s an enigmatic artist; a good-looking vicar; a handsome Texan; a millionaire orchid-fancier; and Elvis the plumber. To cap it all someone’s seen the family ghost and only her young cousin Edith takes Harriet’s anxieties seriously. With a sudden death in Winchester Cathedral; a treasure hunt that attracts unwelcome attention; and history that looms uncomfortably close, Harriet finds herself trapped somewhere very nasty – and she’s not alone
2) Next – probably somewhere near Easter – sees the re-issue of my first novel, Scuba Dancing, a romantic comedy, in e-book form. The very talented Linda Gruchy, http://linda-gruchy-author.blogspot.co.uk, is editing it for me and I hope to find a whole new readership for it. Lots of people loved it when it was first published in 2005 by Transita Ltd and it’s great to think of it having a new lease of life.
‘It was late summer when the angel first manifested himself to Ursula Buchanan in the village shop, beside the notice board and just along the aisle from the bacon slicing machine…
‘Go on,’ he urged, pointing a glowing golden finger at the notice. ‘Join the group, Ursula, it’ll change your life.’
And so it does.
Ursula’s life is not the only one to be altered for ever.
Finding her life empty as she hits forty, Finn Fitzgerald takes a leap into the unknown, in search of fulfilment. Moving in with her sister, Julia, and meeting gorgeous Charlie Stuart is great, but how on earth has she ended up working as a clairvoyant?
Julia’s friends include wealthy, gin-soaked Delia; ex-Brown Owl, Bobbie; Sue who despairs of her unfaithful husband and Rosemary who despairs of her demented and sex-mad mother. Soon Finn and Charlie find themselves entangled in the mischief of the older generation, and love is in the air. Until, that is, they find out what their elders are up to and Finn finds out about Charlie’s wife…
Gradually, Finn, Charlie and the rest of their new friends come to recognise that a cliché may also be a truth – that love really can strike at any time and in any form, and that the first step towards fulfilment can be the simple act of reaching out to others.
3) June sees the publication as e-books by Robert Hale Ltd of my first two Victorian mysteries, Murder Most Welcome and Death is the Cure, featuring Charlotte Richmond, a feisty young widow who simply can’t help tripping over the occasional dead body.
4) And September is the month when Charlotte Richmond turns up again, in her third adventure, The Dead Queen’s Garden.
No cover illustration for this one yet but you might like to see the inspiration behind the story, The Great Hall, Penrhyn Castle in North Wales http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Penrhyn_Castle
and Queen Eleanor’s Garden in Winchester, http://www3.hants.gov.uk/greathall/queen-eleanors-garden.htm
Young Victorian widow, Charlotte Richmond, has lately found herself tripping over the occasional corpse, but surely the festive season, beginning with a christening party, can’t present the same hazard?
Oh yes it can…
There are some strange incidents and a death, apparently from natural causes, that leaves Charlotte puzzled and anxious over questions that seem to have no answers. Over Christmas, however, she does manage to learn a surprising amount about mediaeval gardening, some unusual and unpleasant ailments, London property values, and how to conduct a rat-hunt.
As if that isn’t enough, Charlotte encounters someone who may know far too much about her unorthodox upbringing in Australia, and then there’s Florence Nightingale who keeps making an offer that she insists Charlotte can’t refuse.
To cap it all, Boxing Day finds the resourceful Charlotte in a garden dedicated to a long-dead queen, fighting for her life and armed only with what is possibly the least likely weapon ever.
And tomorrow, 13th January, is our 45th wedding anniversary. We thought we mark the day by going to see Les Miserables. It seems fitting, somehow. 🙂 (We were very young, of course!!)