Some of you will remember that the bottles of milk which are delivered in the dead of night to my front door, had a tendency to go missing. (And yes, in this part of London we still get our milk delivered in glass bottles.) Anyway, for some months now we haven’t had any problems at all . . . until a couple of weeks ago a neighbor complained that her empty bottles had been taken, but no fresh milk delivered. Lulled into a sense of safety by months of uninterrupted deliveries, we all thought it was the fault of the new man who had taken over our round. Alas, no! The other night it happened again! And this time, to me! Oh dear, oh dear. Telephone messages went all over the place, and now the milkman is hiding his deliveries among the grape hyacinth leaves by the door. What a nuisance this all is!
On a brighter note, I’m coming along nicely with the next Bea Abbot. I’m just over half way through the first draft of the story, and enjoying it. Well, I’m enjoying it so far, anyway. There are no particular problems, as far as I can see, with regard to legal issues and Piers – Bea’s first husband, who caused her so much anguish with his tom-catting years ago – is being helpful. I rather like Piers. He has his limitations but then, don’t we all?
Talking of limitations, I was asked to write a short story of 3400 words for the Methodist Recorder’s Easter issue and, learning of an old friend’s having been beaten up by some lads in his local park, I felt I should write about forgiveness. This has not been easy. Whole books written about it. There are so many ways in which I could have tackled the subject, for instance, taking the side of a woman who’d been raped, or about a victim of war, or of domestic violence. What if the victim knew the assailant? Can we understand why someone is driven to harm someone else? What is the Biblical slant?
It seemed to me that I had to pick my way through a minefield of problems in this one. In fact, I was so worried about it that I sent the first draft in early, so that the editor could reject it if she didn’t think it suitable, and this would give me enough time to re-write it. She’s passed the story as acceptable, so CAN YOU FORGIVE? will be out at Easter. The usual arrangement applies; if you’d like to have it and can’t get hold of a hard copy yourselves, I’ll send you a copy free by email AFTER Easter.
Some good news; the first of the reviews is through for FALSE PRIDE, the Bea Abbot story which came out at the end of last year. It’s from Booklist, and concludes ‘There are enough bizarre twists and sparkly characters to make for an endearing, entertaining read’. Hurray! This is the story about a collection of family jewels going missing, along with an international art expert . . . and it’s not only his housekeeper who’s looking for him. Publishers Weekly has also given it a good review, saying: ‘Those fond of darker English cozies will find much to savor.’ This story was fun to write, and I hope everyone will find it fun to read, as well.
More good news: I really like the cover that has been chosen for the next Ellie Quicke – which shows a shockingly expensive handbag. Well, yes. It’s all about money again!
Finally; may the first blossoms of spring bring renewed hope for the future.