Newsletter no 65 May 2013

The Mystery of the Missing Banana skin, reported in last month’s newsletter, has taken on a life of its own. I have had suggestions from readers from all over the world, but I will give you my own idea about what happened to it in a minute. I suppose that if I were clever enough, I could put the solution upside down and in a different typeface at the end of this letter but, as you know, I am not that capable a technician. And PLEASE don’t tell me how to do it, as I do not wish to know!

The first solution received – an excellent one – was that one of our pets had been playing with the missing banana skin, and hooked it under a low chair. We have no pets at the moment, so that was out. Next was that my husband had eaten it, along with the banana; unfortunately his teeth are not up to that much action nowadays. The third and really wonderful anecdote came from a reader in New Zealand, who has given me permission to tell the tale of her father’s missing reading glasses, and what happened to them . . .

‘My father was bed-bound in hospital after an operation on his foot, and had lost his reading glasses. The nurses stripped the bed, scoured the ward, emptied his locker. They looked everywhere. No glasses. I took in another pair. He grumbled they were not so good as his best ones. The following day I was helping him to undress so that he could have a shower, and the glasses fell out of his underpants!’

I hope that gave you a good laugh. Oh, and my solution? I think my husband must have flushed it down the toilet. Perhaps we will never know . . .

The Easter story for the Methodist Recorder was called DOWN-SIZING, which is what so many of us are having to do. If you weren’t able to get hold of a copy of the original, then let me know and I will email one to you.

I had a really good day at the London Book Fair, as my publishers, Severn House, say they want me to go on writing Ellie Quicke and Bea Abbot and have already sent me a new contract. Isis, the company which produces audiobooks, also wants the next Ellie and Bea books, hurray! As I’ve been getting published for over thirty years, I have a backlist of books which have long gone out of print, and these are now being looked at to see if they’d be worth a re-issue, sometimes in large print, sometimes as an e-book. I am so pleased. Mind you, there is just one that I wrote very early on for a competition – and no, it didn’t win – that I think should not now be resuscitated. Yes, it’s an OK-ish story but a bit too black. I think that one will stay in the bottom drawer for good.

So looking forward – I am happily editing the next Bea Abbot, to be delivered at the end of this month. This story has an exploding toaster in it. I have no idea why. I don’t even possess a toaster, but Bea’s defective toaster cropped up as a plot point in the book, and amused me so much that I’m leaving it in.

The details for the Winchester Writers Conference in June are now out. I’ll be doing two talks, one on what voice suits a writer best, and the other about working the media and e-books.  I hope to see some of you there. Dates: June 21st to 25th. Contact details:

Don’t forget that the next Ellie Quicke – MURDER WITH MERCY – will be published in the UK at the end of this month. Allow three months for it to get to Canada, America, Australia, et al.

The story : Ellie is asked to investigate whether or not some deaths in the community are exactly what they seem, while her pregnant, difficult daughter Diana is struggling to cope, and her husband is still in a wheelchair. What’s more, sabotage at the big house nearby is being blamed on young Mikey, who is certainly up to something. Can Ellie track down whoever it is who is killing for mercy, keep Mikey out of the clutches of Social Services, and steer her difficult daughter Diana into calmer waters?

Veronica Heley

Recent releases.

UNSUNG HEROES is now out as an e-book. This is a collection of short stories originally published in the Methodist Recorder, concerning the problems of three retired men and their families. There are also some Ellie Quicke short stories.

£3.40 UK, and $4.90 USA.

CRY FOR KIT, and SCREAM FOR SARAH. First published 1970s, have been joined by FEAR FOR FRANCES in large print versions from Chivers. Warning; some sex and violence in the first two! The third is a Victorian romp-cum-whodunit. They are also available to download as e-books.  

FALSE ALARM, the 7th Abbot Agency story, is now available in hardback and also as an e-book. Bea is asked to find the person who laid a booby trap for the powerful tycoon, Sir Lucas Ossett,  in his own block of flats.  ISBN 9780 7278 8237 0 for the hardback and ISBN 978 1 78010 289 4 for the ebook.

Review for this:  Kirkus: ‘The Abbot Agency’s seventh outing will be just the thing for readers who like their cosies with a bit of bite.’  And from Library Journal:

‘Think of the series’ seventh outing as a big old-fashioned country-house case, Agatha Christie-like, but dressed-up smart and chic for today.’

MURDER BY MISTAKE is now available in large print. ISBN 978 0 7278 9935 4.

FALSE REPORT is available as a paperback  and also as an ebook . This is the story in which

Bea finds that assisting a vertically challenged musician to get some home help is asking for trouble, especially when a pretty girl has been trafficked into this country by a gang who target wealthy men. Paperback: ISBN 978 1 843751 408 0. Ebook: 978 1 78010 201 6.

Find details of all the other E-books at