And a happy New Year to you!
Some good news to start with! I haven’t had my milk stolen since I last wrote to you. My new milkman has been hiding the milk in the winter jasmine by the front door, and so far all is well. Also, Christmas preparations – although rushed and somewhat chaotic – worked out well and a good time was had by one and all. I don’t quite know why we have to pack seeing so many friends into so few days, but I did manage to get to the right place at the right time, and with the correct present. Well, almost. I have three friends who have birthdays so close to Christmas that it’s always a worry when to deliver birthday or Christmas cards and presents and on which date. Added to which we had a postal strike, which aggravated everything! But now we can put all that behind us and look forward to what comes next which, as far as I am concerned, means getting hold of some spring bulbs to brighten up my living room.
My grateful thanks to the readers who freed me from the tyranny of the toolbar by giving me the codes to copy and paste this newsletter into my email. I am so grateful. Do you remember the old ‘Dummies’ books which we all had when we first started out on the computer trail? I wish we had such a quick reference book nowadays but I understand that the number of things a computer can do is so vast that a) I wouldn’t understand them and b) it would need a whole library to get it all down in print. So many thanks for the short cuts.
My next short story – CORIN’S GIFT – came out in the Christmas issue of the Methodist Recorder. If you can’t get a copy but would like to read it, let me know and I’ll email it to you for free. But be warned; this is not your typical cosy Santa Claus tale. The Recorder has already asked me for another story for Easter, but I will be starting a new ‘thread’ for that.
The latest Bea Abbot story – FALSE FIRE – came out at the end of December, but will be delivered three months later in the USA and Australia. I really like this story, which ends with a change of direction for Bea’s life as she accepts someone new into her life – and no, it’s not another man! (Maybe in the next one . . . hm . . . now, there’s a thought. My editors are always urging me to get my heroines fixed up with a man, but although that did work out all right with Ellie when she came to know Thomas, Bea has not so far found anyone to invite into her life. Maybe in the next story. . .?)
Anyway, 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. (Because a teddy bear took such a large part in this story, I was reminded to take my own bear out of store. He’s looking remarkably chipper for someone in his eighties. Do you still have your old bear(s)? I seem to have outgrown all the companions of my childhood, except this one.)
I delivered the next Ellie Quicke story – MURDER FOR NOTHING – just before Christmas, which is later than I’d been contracted for but owing to my health blip, my publishers were very kind and let me have extra time. It was a difficult plot to start with as I thought one particular character was going to be a real baddie, whereas he became not only a force for good but likeable, as well. This is a ‘What if . . .?’ story, starting out with a flat getting wrecked during a party. Murder, money lending and mayhem follow quite naturally, and it takes Ellie and her friends both old and new, to work out what really happened.
Finally, a blessing; as the days begin to lengthen, let us put the good and the bad things that happened in the past year behind us, and go forward in His love.
NEW . . . ‘FALSE WALL’ 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.
NEW . . .. MURDER IN STYLE, the 17th Ellie Quicke. Out in the shops in the UK on June 16th. 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 new 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:https://soundcloud.com/isisaudio/isis-unabridged-podcast-3-veronica-heley-interview. Collected newsletters 2011-2014 (one audio file) https://soundcloud.com/isis/veronica-heley-newsletters-2011-2014 Links to individual newsletters (click on each title) https://soundcloud.com/isisaudio/sets/veronica-heley-newsletters
Find details of my E-books at http://www.veronicaheley.com/ebooks.php?l1-11