Castles & Cakes

Or to be accurate, ONE castle and lots of cakes.

DDameslogo1The Deadly Dames rode again on Wednesday, 26th February, at the inaugural Purbeck Litfest. (See our tasteful logo, above!) As two of our core members, Eileen Robertson and Joan Moules, couldn’t make it we invited an honorary Dame, Wendy Metcalf, and an honorary Chevalier, Peter Tickler, to come and play with us in Swanage – and a good time was had by all.


The castle in question was Durlston Castle which turns out not to be a castle at all but a Victorian crenellated mock-castle built as a place for rest and refreshment for walkers along the cliff tops.  Our performance took place in the Belvedere, which you can see in the photo, a large rectangular room right at the top of the building, with windows all round so that we had a 360view of Swanage Bay, the town, and much of the Jurassic Coast.  It was a fabulous place to sit and chat about our books, what made us turn to crime, how do we incorporate humour, etc, and the audience joined in with some very interesting questions.

At our previous outing, question master, Carol Westron, asked which fictitious detective we would like to introduce to our own sleuths and, with a shocking exhibition of genteel lust, Detective Superintendent Christopher Foyle (or rather his alter ego Michael Kitchen) was chosen by three of the five members of the panel. At Durlston Castle, Carol refused to allow us to repeat ourselves, so I chose Marcus Didius Falco, the Roman sleuth created by Lindsey Davis.

We really enjoyed our visit to Swanage and hope to be invited back for next year’s festival. Besides this, the Deadly Dames are spreading our wings even further afield as we’ve been booked to appear at the Penzance Literary Festival. We’ll be ‘on’ at 5.00, on Friday, 18th July and are looking forward to it immensely.

Now for the cakes – which, sadly, I can’t post on here because we ate them all, but here’s one I made earlier!AmandasWeddingCake2For the launch of my sixth novel, ‘The Dead Queen’s Garden’, I decided on a Victorian ladies’ repast of a glass of Madeira and a slice of cake. Accordingly, I made a madeira cake which turned out to have a crust on it so tough that it bent the beaks of the unsuspecting birds I threw it at. The Resident Engineer munched his way through the rest but I decided to stick to fruit cake, the only thing I know I can bake successfully, though I did rise to a caraway seed cake that wasn’t too chewy. The daughters are better by far at baking and contributed various goodies, including lemon drizzle, double-chocolate cake, and other delights including a vanilla sponge ring iced by the senior granddaughter who, with the junior granddaughter, acted as waitresses. (The youngest grandson nobly tasted every cake!) It was a lovely day, with friends and family milling around the house and the senior daughter manning an assembly line of tea pots and cups.

Sadly, I forgot about getting some photos but it was lovely to see my friends, talented fellow writers, Linda Gruchy  and Paula Readman who both came all the way from Essex.

Finally, news of The Dead Queen’s Garden. Dead Queen's Garden - FINALFirst, a lovely review on Amazon: ‘Charlotte Richmond once again finds herself embroiled in mystery and murder. Her third adventure is breathtaking and the suspense lasts until the sad, albeit expected, ending. It also sees her wielding a very unusual weapon! Her fear that her past may be discovered continues to haunt her but she remains a real support to her family and there are appearances and references to friends met in her previous adventure. I look forward to her next adventure and wonder whether she may be persuaded into marriage again or whether she will choose another direction.’

Secondly, I’ve just heard that the hardback edition is to be reprinted, with the e-book coming out at the end of April.


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