Isn’t it great that the days are getting longer? In the first few weeks of January, the mornings seemed to get darker and more gloomy, but finally we can draw the curtains a little earlier and a trifle later. And yes, I have bought myself some bunches of daffodils to mimic the sun’s light indoors.
I thought that in the New Year I’d have time to get my computer serviced, but as you will have guessed, I’ve plunged into the next story and daren’t let anyone touch it until I have the first draft safely written and backed up.
I’d just delivered the next Ellie Quicke story – MURDER FOR NOTHING – when I last wrote to you, and am pleased to say that my editor liked it very much indeed. I had been very worried about it because, for some weeks after my little health problem, my brain had been acting like the pressed cardboard containers used for packaging eggs – impermeable to reason, unable to produce coherent prose. Was the plot really going to hang together? Why did a certain person – whom I had planned to be one of the ‘baddies’ – turn round and become my favourite character? But all is well, and despite my delivering the book a few days late, this story will still be published at the end of June this year.
Oh, and even before my editor had had time to read Murder for Nothing, she’d offered me another contract! How about that! So yes, that will be another Bea Abbot, to be called FALSE PRIDE. And I’m getting on with it as we speak.
Meanwhile, the audio book of FALSE WALL will be out soon. This was the Bea Abbot story which came out last Christmas. It starts off with some idiot pulling the ivy off a neighbour’s old red-brick wall, causing a cascade of bricks to bringing down the mature tree in Bea’s garden . . . whereupon her fluffy black cat Winston streaks for the house and safety. Now the cover for the audio book showed a smooth ginger cat padding along the garden path towards us. I queried: do people really care if we get the cats mixed up? (A ginger cat called Midge and features in the Ellie Quicke Mysteries, but it’s a black, fluffy cat in the Abbot Agency series). The editor and I both thought it did, so we’re trying to see if we can get a more accurate cover, while retaining the ginger cat picture for another book. Hopefully.
The Methodist Recorder have asked for a new story for Easter. I think, now that we’ve finally come to an end of Corin’s story, I’ll strike out in a new direction. But if anyone has missed it, let me know, and I’ll send them an email of Corin’s Gift for Christmas, free.
Meanwhile, the hardback of FALSE FIRE duly came out at the end of the year, and is trickling its way into the libraries and shops as we speak. You may remember there was an argument with the publishers about using a good-looking teddy bear on the cover. I think they got it absolutely right in the end. Because of this, I got my own teddy out of storage. All of eighty years old, he now sits opposite me at the dining-room table. He’s a very thoughtful bear. He still has the ‘Merrythought’ button in his left ear, but I really must put a patch on his hind paws, which have worn through to the kapok stuffing!
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.
Finally, a blessing; whatever problems the newspapers talk about, may you look for and find joy wherever you go . . . in a smile of welcome from a friend, or a glimpse of spring in a florist’s window or a garden.
NEW . . . ‘FALSE WALL’ 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.
NEW . . .. 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 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