Newsletter no.120 December 2017

Have you ever found yourself faced with a ‘freeze’ on the computer screen which will not respond to the usual blandishments? Twice this last month I have triggered something called ‘track changes’. I have no idea how I did it. (Please, don’t tell me!) Track changes are used by editors to mark things they wish to query or alter. I do get manuscripts sent back to me by a copy editor which is marked up in such fashion, but I have never tried to do it myself. Suddenly I found myself unable to alter anything in my draft. I hammered on different keys to no avail.

At last I resorted to the well-known business of pressing everything in sight and seeing if it might or might not relate to what has happened. And yes, that worked. Sort of. And then, would you believe it, a few days later it happened again? The second time round I did remember that it was something to do with ‘track changes’. So far, so good. But then I had to work out all over again how to cancel it. And yes, finally, after some teeth-grinding, I got back to where I had been when I was so rudely interrupted.

In other words, I have got through the third draft of the next Ellie Quicke, and am about to start on the fourth and last run through, before delivering the story at the end of the year. This tale is called MURDER BY SUGGESTION. I am told that the hardback will be out in the UK in July ’18, and in the USA, etc., in October. As soon as I despatch this one, I shall be thinking about the next, which will be another Bea Abbot.

It’s all deadlines at the moment. I worked hard on my story for the Christmas issue of the Methodist Recorder. I got it down to the right size, I polished here and there, and finally felt it was ready for submission. Fortunately I took the precaution of having it vetted by a good friend before I sent it off . . . and she spotted a wonderful howler! I had written that my heroes had put all the dirty dishes in the washing machine (instead of the dishwasher)! Yes! I must have read that bit over and over and over – and still not spotted it. However, she did, and I altered it. Thank you, my friend.

The story is called ‘What is a gift?’ It’s not really about money, but what a gift can cost in terms of time and trouble. If you can’t get hold of the Christmas issue of the Recorder and would like to read it, just email me AFTER it’s been published, and I’ll send you a copy by email.

And finally; Try to ease away the stresses and strains of preparing for a commercial Christmas. May you bear in mind, instead, the blessings that came with the birth of Jesus.

Veronica Heley.

Newsletter no.119 November 2017

What’s your favourite way of dealing with unsolicited phone calls? Sometimes I pretend to be very ancient and keep saying, ‘Who did you say you are?’ I get them to repeat it several times, and even to spell it . . . and then they ring off. I’m thinking of replying in future with, ‘Can you wait till I find my hearing aids?’

More good news! I have signed a contract for the next Ellie Quicke, which is to be delivered at the end of the year and will be published mid-summer. I had called it ‘MURDER BY JOKE’ but the Powers That Be decided that this was too frivolous and wanted something else. So now it’s titled ‘MURDER BY SUGGESTION.’ It’s going to be a bit of a rush to deliver by the end of the year but with a bit of luck, it will be all right.

I find it hard to believe, but the next Bea Abbot story – FALSE PRIDE – which comes out at the end of the year, is going to be my eightieth to be published in the traditional way! I’ve just finished the copy editing and proof reading and have seen a pull of the projected cover, so my part in the production is done and dusted.

I have a little book in which I write down the editions of each book as they come out, but can’t be absolutely sure that I record everything that happens. For example, the first out is a hardback book, to be followed fairly quickly by an e-book. Then, perhaps a year later, there is a paperback and fairly often, a large print version. And somewhere in there an audiobook barrels its way through. So yes, that’s five versions of one story. I am told that you can also download most of these tales through something called Audible onto your phone or i-pad, but I’m not clued up enough to do that.

Recently, I’ve been informed that a trade paperback of FALSE DIAMOND will be out at the end of October and that the ebook of MURDER FOR NOTHING will appear on November lst (today!). False Diamond – pb 978 12 84751 798 2 and Murder for Nothing ebook 978 1 78010 903 9. Also, my webmaster has embedded codes into my website which allow you to listen to an extract from recent books at will. How clever is that!

Next on my To Do list is a Christmas story for the Methodist Recorder, which I will have to deliver some time in November. I thought of calling it ‘What is a gift?’ Do we really think of what the recipient would like when we buy a gift for someone, or do we arrange to get something we want ourselves? Do we spend too much to prove that we care about someone? How much should it cost? Do we remember how the business of gifts started? I suppose there are many answers to these questions. But what will the four friends in my story decide to do?

And finally, a blessing; In the dark days of winter, may your bright smile warm the hearts of people wherever you go.

Veronica Heley.

Newsletter no.118 October 2017

The news broke last month that Severn House, my publisher for many years, had been sold to Canongate, who publish good fiction. My editor told me that things should go on much as before, which was all very well but I worried that the new bosses wouldn’t like what I write, and that they wouldn’t want me to continue with Bea and Ellie. However, they did send me the copy edit for the next Bea Abbot – FALSE PRIDE – which is due out at the end of the year, and I got on with that . . . Until finally I got a phone call from my agent to say that Canongate are offering me another contract! Hurray! So now I’m happily working away on another Ellie, for delivery probably at the end of the year.

More good news: I’ve had another excellent review from Publishers Weekly, which calls ‘Murder for Nothing’ an enjoyable read. It ends up : ‘Heley’s strength is in creating unpleasant people that the reader loves to hate.’

I find this an acute judgment, but I would argue with the word ‘creating’. I don’t really ‘create’. Once I have the main story-line worked out, I let my mind wander where it will on the subject of the various characters and the parts they are going to play in the storyline. Once the dim outline of a suitable person pops into my head. I spend time thinking about him or her until he/she stops being a cardboard cut-out, and crystallises into something more solid. In the best instances, the character becomes three-dimensional and recognisable as someone you might have met. But let’s be clear about this; once the characters are fully formed, I can’t push them around and tell them what to do. They tell me what they are going to do, and that’s it.

I suppose the character my readers most love to hate is Ellie’s dreadful daughter, Diana, who never gives up on her campaign to get rich. Her rudeness is appalling, and she can’t seem to learn that Ellie can only be pushed so far. Yes, she is a monster, but she does have her good points: she is brave and loyal to her almost equally appalling husband, and she is devoted to her little son. Every now and then I meet someone or hear of someone who is equally self-centred and I allow myself a private grin of recognition.

Meanwhile the short story, titled RECYCLING has just been published by the Methodist Recorder. This story has Leo finding it difficult to pass on his old palm crosses to new owners. If anyone would like to read ‘Recycling’ but can’t get hold of a hard copy, let me know, and I will send it to you free by email. And now I have to start thinking about a story for the Christmas issue.

And finally, a blessing; May the wonderful colours of the trees in autumn fill you with wonder at the beauty of creation.

Veronica Heley

Newsletter no.117 September 2017

I stole away up north for six days in August and talk about temperatures dropping when you leave London! Five or six degrees, I kid you not! Yorkshire is beautiful, and I love Yorkshire cheeses, so there were compensations . . . not to mention attending the Gilbert & Sullivan operetta season in Harrogate. So I return refreshed to find another cheque from my agent for some royalties, and the suggestion for the cover of FALSE PRIDE, which should come out at the end of the year.

 Yes. Another cover. You know I sometimes struggle with the ideas my publishers have for covers. I thought that the cover for MURDER FOR NOTHING worked very well as so much of the plot dealt with what happened to various cell phones – and we had cell phones on the cover. Fine. Now for FALSE PRIDE I had made various suggestions which apparently wouldn’t work for various reasons and my publishers have picked on one which shows lots of jewellery in a briefcase. Actually, it’s a good cover, but I’d described the jewellery to be all diamonds and it isn’t. Sigh. But no, it’s not worth fighting about.

 Meanwhile I have delivered another short story, titled RECYCLING to the Methodist Recorder and they are putting it into an issue shortly. Memo to self; must find out when it comes out. Now I have to start thinking about one for the Christmas issue. Maybe something about how much a gift should cost? Hmm. Further thought required.

 I had a big struggle getting back to the next Ellie after my holiday. Sometimes I try to do a little bit of work when I’m away but this time either my wonderful computer guru or I got the date of my departure wrong, and I went away with only a tiny notebook for company. (I’m talking a paper notebook, not an electronic piece of wizardry). And I didn’t do any thinking about the next bit of plot at all. Now I’m back and facing the computer screen I see where I went wrong. Usually I have to stop work at the end of the day while the ideas are still working away in my head, so that the next morning I can slot straight back into the flow. But this time I finished off a scene and thought I’d start again with one of three missing people coming through the door and I couldn’t work out which one! Ridiculous, isn’t it? Finally, I worked out which person should enter next and that started me off again.

 This reminds me of the way Peter Cheyney used to work. Do you remember his ‘hard-boiled’ detective books? He used to say that if the plot flagged, he’d have someone open a door and discover a corpse. Actually, that’s a thought – I have a number of people I intend to kill off in this next book. Hm. Who’s next?  

 Thanks to those people who have sent me ideas about how to commit murder. Three of them were particularly good. I have started a file to keep this information in, and am sure I’ll be using them as and when required. And no, I am not going to tell you what people have suggested!

 And finally, a blessing; May you always feel strong enough to greet friends with a smile.

 Veronica Heley.                                                     

Newsletter no.116 August 2017

London has been swelteringly hot for days at a time – and then remarkably cool. When it was so hot I couldn’t work unless I put the fan on, but that sent all my papers flying about the room. By the time I’d anchored them down I had to wash my sticky hands and then the phone rang and . . . In other words, I didn’t get much work done while the hot spells lasted. Everything in the garden needed water, and as for the pots! Every year I tell myself not to plant up so many pots, and every year I give in and do exactly that. But I must admit the flowers and the runner beans are worth the trouble.

Back to work, and I can report that the hardback of MURDER FOR NOTHING is now out and hopefully amusing lots of people. Someone said to me that surely no one can be as self-centred as Angelica, the girl in this book. But I’m afraid she is alive and well and getting her own way about everything, all over the world. She certainly causes maximum bother to Ellie, who took her in when she said she had nowhere to go – and cried most beautifully to underline her case. Ah well; Ellie soon learned.

Covers I have known. As you know, I don’t always see eye to eye with my publishers about covers. They look to the sales department for advice as they know what sells, whereas I think in terms of what the people who read my books would like. How it works is this: I suggest something for the cover, and they consider if it’s eye-catching or not. In the cover for MURDER FOR NOTHING, we are in agreement; a number of cell phones, with the top one being all pink and pretty.

We are all so reliant on phones nowadays that I have to take this into account when writing my stories. In real life a call on a cell phone can get you out of trouble pretty quickly, so sometimes I have to work out why a character can’t use his or her phone. This happens a lot in FALSE PRIDE, which will be out at the end of the year.

Now I’m researching pills for my next book and writing a short story at the same time. It’s amazing how many ways I can find out to kill someone if you can work out the right questions to ask the expert. I think I’ve done quite a few different ways by now. If anyone has a bright idea for a novel way in which to bump someone off, would you like to let me know? I promise not to put it into practice, but only to write about it . . . and then only if it fits the next storyline.

Mark tells me my new website is up and running. I hope I’ve got everything on it, but as the total is now 80 books with traditional publishers, I’m not entirely sure that the odd title or reissue hasn’t slipped through the net. Have a look sometime. It might amuse you. And don’t forget the paperback is now out of Ellie’s MURDER FOR MERCY and, new! the audiobook of MURDER IN STYLE.

And finally, a blessing; May you reflect the warmth of summer and of God’s love in your smile when you meet other people.

Veronica Heley.

P.S. Harlequin, the big American publisher is taking two of the Bea Abbot stories for its book club. Hurray!

Newsletter no.115 July 2017

News . . . I managed to get the next book off to my editor, and then paced up and down waiting to hear if she liked it or not. I thought the story was all right, but by the time I’d been living with it for six months or so, I really didn’t know what day of the week it was. Two days before I sent it off, I was sure that I’d not ironed out a particular bit of plot. And could I find that bit in the mss? No, I could not. Then, I found it, and put it right. Hooray! And then I sent it off . . . only to realise that I’d changed something else at the last minute which was not right, and which was going to be picked on and chucked back at me . . . ah me! Who’d be a writer?

 But at last the waiting was over. The editor liked it and said some very nice things about it, hurray. All things being equal, it will be published at the end of this year. This story is titled FALSE PRIDE and includes one of the nastiest weapons this century had come up with – a taser. I like to do the research on anything I don’t understand, so I googled ‘taser’ and came up against a screen which forbade me to go any further under pain of being interviewed by MI5 or whoever. So I desisted. I knew enough about the horrid things by that time to write about them, anyway.

 Mark, who created and looks after my website, has given me a new website. Some things still need tweaking. For instance, I have been getting published since 1974 (yes, really!) and the very first crime books that I wrote were not on the site. They are, I must confess, somewhat ‘harder’ than the stories that I write nowadays, but nevertheless have been brought out recently in large print and e-book by AudioGo. Also missing were the beautiful pop up books by Francesca Crespi at Frances Lincoln for which I provided the text. So, some of this has now been rectified, some not. No doubt Mark will sort it out. (I’m just so grateful that I can ask him to do this sort of thing for me. If I even have to change the batteries in the remote control, I’m liable to get them in the wrong way!)

 Some paperback copies of the 14th Ellie Quicke, Murder with Mercy, arrived on my doorstep the other day. I’m so glad the publisher continues to bring out paperbacks. I rather like this story, which has a lot of duplicity in it, and young Mikey getting into trouble – again.

 If anyone missed the last short story I wrote for The Methodist Recorder and can’t get a copy, I’d be happy to email one to you. It’s called ‘You can do it!’ and is about how Sally learns to stand up for herself . . . a bit.

 And finally, a blessing; may we pause even in our busiest days, to look around us and thank God for His many blessings.

 Veronica Heley.

Newsletter no.114 June 2017

Yes! I am back on my wonderful old computer! There are still one or two glitches to iron out, but I can merrily go on with the next book without too much of a hassle. My little old net book has gone in for a service – which it needed.

The proof reading for Murder for Nothing went off all right, and I’m told the book will be published on July 10th. Why July 10th? I’m not sure. Anyway, that’s the date for Britain – 3 months later for overseas.

Meanwhile I have to get back to work on the next Bea Abbot. My first draft ended up a bit short on the word count. That always seems to happen with my first draft. Then, when I come to work on it, I find that I haven’t explained this, and could well spend a little more time on that. So the second draft often ends up over the word count. I get it down to the right number on the third run through, and after that I check for the inevitable typos and silly mistakes that inevitably end up on the page when you keep altering the text. I’m hoping not to have to ask for another week’s grace. With luck, it will be all right.

Most days after lunch I retire to bed for half an hour’s snooze. What is it about the postman and the telephone that they choose that very half hour in which to require my attention? One day I was roused three times in half an hour to deal with someone who wanted to change the time of an appointment, by one postman delivering a book, and then – would you believe – a second postman ditto? I had to forgive the posties, though, as they were bringing me my audio book copies of False Wall, and the large print version of Murder in Style. Both now available through the usual channels. We did have a spot of bother about the cat on the cover of the audio book for False Wall. The original version had a ginger cat on it – but that’s Midge, who belongs to Ellie (or vice versa? Do cats belong to their owners, or do the owners belong to their cats?) So the designer had hastily to change a ginger tom for a black fluffy.

The next short story for The Methodist Recorder will be out on June 2nd in time for Pentecost. It’s always struck me as an interesting thought that the first disciples had to leave the safety of their locked room for the dangers of the marketplace, before they could spread the news about Jesus. If they had stayed inside, it’s arguable that Christianity would never exist today. Anyway, this next story is about how Sally learns she can leave her comfort zone to help someone who’s fallen down in the street – and the repercussions of that. Title: ‘You can do it!’ If you’d like to receive a copy of this story, email me, and I’ll send it to you, free.

And finally, a blessing; may we find opportunities to be kind to others, as we thank God for the blessings of this glorious summer.

Veronica Heley.                                                                   

Newsletter no.113 May 2017

Well, I survived almost a month without my trusty computer. I am very grateful to my little old netbook which, wired up to the gills, managed to do almost everything I asked of it. I managed to cope with the copy-edit for the next Ellie, which is called Murder for Nothing, and due to be published on July 10th. It was not easy. At different times the MacAfee thingy swung into operation, reminding me it was out of time or money or something. Then there was a nasty little message which came and went, saying that my USB thing was malfunctioning. And everything would freeze for a second or two, and I would try not to panic . . . and pull things out and push them in . . . and eventually, after having put me in a state of collapse, the netbook would agree to continue as before.

Do you get nightmares about computers wanting you to do this and that, and you haven’t even the terminology to understand what they’re talking about? I am only grateful that some people’s minds work in different ways to mine, and that they can understand what the computer wants and can attend to its needs.

As I say, I had to deal with the copy-editing of Murder for Nothing. I have a new copy editor who hadn’t met my work before, and as with all new relationships there were times when we both had to grit our teeth and be very restrained in our language. I must say, I do respect copy editors; they take our work and check it for spelling, grammar, and delusions of grandeur; for typos, and run ons; for errors and omissions. They know the rules and do their best to see that we writers follow them. Then someone like me wanders into their orbit and says things like, ‘Rules are meant to be broken. Language is always on the move, so live dangerously!’ Mostly, they laugh and agree. Only now I’m not laughing because I have to do the proof-reading instantly! Now! This minute!

You remember that I sometimes have a difference of opinion with my publishers on the subject of covers? You will be amused to hear that, as I suggested, the cover for Murder for Nothing really is going to show some cell-phones, with the top one being pink and sparkly! Hurray!

The Methodist Recorder brought out the short story ‘Remember me!’ on Good Friday. This is about the strange things grief can make you do and also an Easter reminder that death is not the end, but the beginning. If you’d like to receive a copy of this story, email me, and I’ll send it to you, free. Meanwhile, I had to write another short story for the Recorder, which will come out at Pentecost and it’s due in today! Oh, dear. Everything happens at once.

I haven’t got very far with revamping the website as I couldn’t access my picture gallery on the netbook, and now I can’t seem to scan anything, either. But I have managed to find out that False Wall will be released as an audiobook on 1st June, and Murder in Style in 1st August. And this last month, Severn House released Murder with Mercy in paperback, and Murder in Style in large print.

And finally, a blessing; may the kindness of friends and the beauty of the trees as they come into leaf, keep you in mind of the love of God.

Veronica Heley.                                                                   

Newsletter no.112 April 2017

Many apologies for this letter being late. At noon on April 1st I finished checking over the text for the April news, and tried to copy it for transfer to email . . . and the screen froze! Solid! Nothing I could do would persuade it to cooperate with my instructions. Eventually I turned the power off . . . and turned it back on again. I hoped this rebooting would work. It didn’t. Apparently what I did caused everything on the computer to be wiped clean. (No, I don’t know why it did, but that’s what’s happened. And no, this is not an April Fool’s Day joke. I only wish it had been.)

There followed some three days of worry until a hero in shining armour arrived to give me the bad news and take away the computer tower to see what, if anything, he could rescue. By that time I had resurrected my trusty old netbook, which lacks the power of a computer but did get me back onto the internet and able, with some lapses of concentration and use of various words to which I do not ordinarily give way, to compose the newsletter once again and send it out.

The good news is that I had backed up the new Bea Abbot story pretty well, and should be able to return to working on that soon. The bad news is that I was not good at backing up anything else . . . so I will have to aspire to the clo0ud in the future.

So what had I been going to tell you? Well, I had been to London Book Fair as usual. It was very crowded, indeed one might say, thronged. There was not a seat or a sandwich to be seen by 11 in the morning, and the layout seemed to be as complicated as ever, over a number of different halls and three – or was it four? – storeys. However, with the aid of some Belgian chocolate, I managed to meet up with my editors at Seven House and learned that they want me to go on writing, please. Good news. Oh, yes, and they said that the next Ellie Quicke, which is called Murder for Nothing, will be published on July 10th. We haven’t got a cover yet. I’m pushing for at least one pink-and-sequined smartphone to appear on the cover, but Severn House may want something completely different. Also, I haven’t had the copy editing through yet and all I can say is, I’m glad about that, as getting my work life back on track of proving something of a challenge.

I don’t think I’ve had a chance to tell you of another really good review for False Fire, which is just about to go on sale overseas. Publishers Weekly talks about ‘Heley’s appealing 11th Abbot Agency mystery,’ and concludes ‘the capable, quick-witted Bea handles the insufferable suspects with Mary Poppins-like aplomb. It’s a pleasure to spend time in her company.’ How about that!

Back to London Book Fair. After leaving the Severn House people I met my agent, and we had a good natter about revamping my website to allow for easier downloading of ebooks onto all the different methods of communication available nowadays. And here I would really like your help. If only three or four of you could find the time and energy, could you please let me know what you think I could lose from my website, which has grown so much over the years. Could we lose the detailed story-lines from the Bea and Ellie books? Or junk the Review site? Should we have a separate section for the audiobooks?

So, what’s happening with the audiobooks? Yes, well; I did meet with my friends from Soundings, and I was told there may well be three more of my Bea and Ellie books coming out with them this year, but so far I am only sure of Murder in Style in, I think, July. I’ve asked them for an up to date list, which they will be sending me soon. In passing, I must tell you that we have agreed the cover for Murder in Style and it is indeed very stylish.

The Methodist Recorder have accepted another story from me for publication at Easter. It’s called ‘Remember Me!’ and it’s about the strange effect grief can have on some people, and how someone who thinks she’s rubbish, can manage to do the right thing, in spite of her lack of confidence. I started this series of stories about the problems of older people some years ago when three newly-retired men met and became friends. Eventually three became two when one moved on, and now I’m writing stories about the remaining two and their wives. If you would like to read this story but can’t get hold of a copy of the Recorder, just let me know after Easter, and I’ll send it to you, free.

And finally, a blessing; may the kindness of friends and the beauty of the spring flowers keep you in mind of the love of God.

Veronica Heley.

Newsletter no.111 March 2017

My garden is small and chaotic. Lining the path to the front door I have managed a formal layout but for the rest, plants flourish or not as they please. I do like to have something in bloom all the year round. In February it was the snowdrops. They are the late kind and never seem to drop their heads until everyone else’s blooms are over. Nevertheless, I love them dearly. I have a tiny Victorian glass vase which is too small to use for anything else, but three or four snowdrops in it look good. I seem to remember someone calling them ‘Fair Maids of February’. I like that. My snowdrops are still blooming today on March lst, but crocuses, iris stylosa, winter jasmine, daffodils and polyanthus are opening up every day and soon I will cut some ‘whips’ of forsythia and bring them indoors to flower.

Work continues throughout as I battle one heavy cold after another. I have heard people greet one another with ‘Which virus have you got?’ This must prove something . . . probably that we’re not getting enough sunshine/not eating enough greens/not taking our Vitamin D tablets/don’t get out of the house enough. In the old days we used to say that you should feed a cold but starve a fever. Where, I might ask, does chocolate come into this equation? It certainly improves one’s mood to eat chocolate, but it’s not that good for the vocal chords. Lemon, honey and ginger drinks seem to be one answer and, for the record, I do like honey.

I haven’t yet received the copy editing for Murder for Nothing, so I’m bashing on as fast as I can with the next Bea Abbot and with another short story. It’s hard to relinquish one set of characters and switch to another, and I have to admit that one has been getting more attention from me than the other. Guess which!

The Methodist Recorder wants the next story for their Easter issue, to be delivered early in March. I’ve known from the start what story I wanted to write, but somehow I kept putting it off in favour of getting on with the next Bea Abbot tale. One of the problems was that Bruce’s wife Sally turned out to be the person who sorted out the mystery of the Lucky Draw ticket, while being the least articulate of the four main characters and the one who thought herself least able to help someone deep in grief. But, that’s how it is sometimes, in real life as well as in fiction.

Meanwhile, the first of the reviews for False Fire has come through. This is from Booklist, and among other nice things it says ‘a colourful cast of characters, an intrepid heroine, and a surprising but ultimately heart-warming ending make this an enticing read for genre fans’. So that’s all right, then. It should hit the American and Australian shops in March.

And no, of course I haven’t had my computer serviced. I know I ought to have done so. I do tell myself that this is a job that ought to go to the top of the list, but then I get involved in the next bit of plot for the Bea Abbot story, and all my good resolutions go by the board. I fear that one day something will Go Horribly Wrong! And at that stage I will be forced, willy nilly, to ask for help. But until then, I soldier on.

Finally, a blessing; may winter colds fade away with the coming of the spring flowers,

Veronica Heley

NEW! . . . FALSE FIRE starts with thirteen people for a dinner party which ends in multiple deaths – oh, and a teddy bear who becomes a Very Important Person in the lives of two poor little rich girls. Bernice and Alicia may be heiresses but money can’t buy the love that these two ten-year old girls need. This is the 11th Bea Abbot story.  

FALSE WALL is now out both in paperback and in large print. The 10th Abbot Agency book begins as Bea’s ancient garden wall collapses, revealing a skeleton buried in a neighbour’s plot. Before Bea and her long-time friend Leon can investigate, they fall victim to an elaborately-planned trap. With her home, livelihood and the agency under threat, it seems that Bea is the subject of a neighbourhood vendetta. But why? And why is Leon becoming so distant?

‘Excellent characterisation and plotting.’ Library Journal.

MURDER IN STYLE, the 17th Ellie Quicke. ISBN 978-0-7278-86309. This story is set in a fashion boutique started by twin girls who had been unwise in their choice of husbands. When one of the twins tumbles down the stairs and dies, it sets off a chain reaction of greed and malice in those left behind. Ellie tries to sort out the mess and is drawn into danger herself.

Publisher’s Weekly speaks of ‘Heley’s well-plotted 17th Ellie Quicke mystery’, and goes on to say ‘A mature woman with keen observational skills and psychological insight into dark human deeds, Ellie is a worthy successor to Agatha Christie’s Jane Marple.

MURDER BY SUSPICION, the 16th Ellie Quicke, the large print edition. Also the trade paperback, and now, the audiobook as well. A local house church is after Ellie’s money but their members hold some very odd beliefs – not to mention their unscrupulous methods of getting the funds needed by their charismatic, if misguided, pastor.

MURDER BY BICYCLE, a paperback from Ostara Publishing. ISBN 9 781909 619418 is the 7th in the series and MURDER OF IDENTITY,             also from Ostara is the 8th in the series. The ISBN for this is 9781909 619425.

The pop-up by Francesca Crespi for Noah’s Ark, has a text written by yours truly. Francesca’s work is stunning. Frances Lincoln, ISBN 978-1-84507-937-6.

You can hear me reading various bits and pieces in recordings made by Isis (Soundings) as follows: Podcast & Interview:   Collected newsletters 2011-2014 (one audio file)   Links to individual newsletters (click on each title)

Find details of my E-books at