Newsletter no 70 October 2013

Yes! I’m now back on the internet. Mind you, I had to get a clever friend to connect everything up for me. My days of scrabbling under the desk to find out which plug to push and pull are not quite over, but severely limited. I now have a black box with lights that wink at me all the time. I have no idea why they do this, and please don’t try to enlighten me. I am content to know that they indicate I’m on line or whatever. (Actually, I find them extremely irritating. I have tried turning the box away from me,  but it won’t turn very far because of the wiring. And yes, I know I ought to go wi-fi and I do intend to . . . when I’ve got a minute to organise it).

The Methodist Recorder published the next short story – entitled A Change of Address – in the middle of September. Harvest is a movable feast nowadays, isn’t it? In different churches it can be from September through to the end of October. If visiting churches in different parts of the country, you could – and indeed we have on occasion – managed to fit in two harvest festivals. Anyway, if you can’t get hold of the Recorder and would like to read this story just drop me an email and I’ll send it to you. Don’t forget that the earlier stories about these old friends in retirement – together with some Ellie Quicke stories – are available as an e-book titled Unsung Heroes.

There’s yet another good review in for Murder with Mercy, which was published in May. Sometimes I only get one review, sometimes two, and this time there’s three. This one is from Booklist (Online) and it says at the end ‘This is a pleasant read that’s part British cozy and part women’s fiction, given its celebration of a woman who can do it all.’  I’m not at all sure that Ellie would agree with this assessment of her character because she’s a modest soul. I am thrilled with this review. It’s pleasant to get a word of praise every now and then, isn’t it?

I’m finding it hard to keep up with all of the titles that are now available in E format. I know that some time soon an early romance of mine, set in the Middle Ages, will be coming out in large print, and as an e-book. It was originally called The Siege of Salwarpe, but the new publishers, Chivers, feel that as it is a romance as well as a slice of baron-bashing, it ought to have a new title. I suggested several. What do you think of ‘The Lonely Knight’ as a title? Or should it be ‘The Lonely Man?’ I liked the first title because at least it indicates the story is set in medieval times, whereas the other one might just as well be set today. Ah well. In the end they chose A HEART BESEIGED. They are having a new cover done as we speak, and I await it with interest. Publishers slant the covers towards what they can sell, and sometimes I have been somewhat taken aback by what they have produced. Publishers always say They Know Best. Well, sigh, they may do.

So now, with proof reading out of the way, I have finally managed to struggle through to the end of the first draft of the next Ellie, Murder in Time. This is due to be delivered at the end of November, with publication scheduled for next May. This is a whodunnit,  with side swipes at the question of appropriate punishment for a crime committed long ago. This theme started me thinking about whether or not justice is best served by taking the perpetrator to court if he or she has gone ‘straight’ ever since and truly regrets what happened. And yes, I know that the courts can take repentance into account when sentencing the person concerned, and that some crimes are so horrible that a prosecution should always follow. But . . . well, you will probably have your own views on the subject.

This is not a theme which I would have chosen, but once it arrived in my story, I had to try to deal with it as best I can. Have I got the balance right? I can see that long-ago sins can throw a long shadow over the present. Some crime committed by a schoolboy or girl can affect not only their own lives, but those of others. On the other hand, what if the perpetrator went on to commit yet more crimes because he wasn’t found out in the first place? It’s something of a dilemma and I’m not sure I’ve worked it out satisfactorily. Am I, in fact, becoming too serious in this book? Well, there’s a long way to go yet, as I have eight weeks to work on the manuscript before it is due to be submitted.

Looking at the calendar, I see I’m due to have some waves of visitors at the end of October and into the beginning of November. So please forgive if I’m a couple of days late with the next newsletter.

Veronica Heley

PS. The invasion of the moths appears, hopefully, to be on its last legs. (Do moths have legs?) Well, you know what I mean . . .


Recent releases.

MURDER FOR MERCY.  Ellie is asked to investigate whether some deaths in the community are exactly what they seem, while her pregnant, difficult daughter Diana is struggling to cope at work, 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?  ISBN 9780 7278 8281 3       Reviews; Publisher’s Weekly, ‘ . . . this rewarding cosy.’ And Kirkus, ‘Heley’s 13th finds Ellie beleaguered but resolute as ever . . .’

UNSUNG HEROES is now available 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, plus some Ellie Quicke short stories. £3.40 UK, and $4.90 USA.

CRY FOR KIT, and SCREAM FOR SARAH. First published l970s, 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