Newsletter no 75 March 2014

Don’t you hate it when people ask if you want the bad or the good news first? I do. So here’s the bad news first; the moths are still around. At least twice a day I go round the house with my zapper and last night I found one in my bed! In it! No, I didn’t scream, but I said ‘Aaargh!’ in a heartfelt manner.

The good news is that both Ellie and Bea are being asked to go on for another year. I am currently working on a Bea Abbot, which will be out this November. After that, it will be back to Ellie. I am so pleased.

Do you ever get round to reading the reviews in that section on my website? I’ve been a member of a book reading club for over forty years. This means that every year I have to prepare a half hour talk about a book I’ve chosen. Sometimes it’s something light, sometimes it’s an oddity that has caught my fancy. This year it’s Sidney Chambers and the Shadow of Death, by James Runcie. An interesting and thoughtful writer venturing into murder mysteries. He’s now produced two volumes of short stories with a clerical hero, and they are definitely Good Reads. I mention this because the first book is being made into a TV series to be shown on ITV in the autumn. I don’t know who is going to play Sidney. It’s an interesting game to play . . . who do you fancy for the part, and is he available?

Work progresses, more or less as usual. I have come to the end of the first draft of the next Abbot Agency story. There’s a lot to do to it yet, as I probably go through it another three or even four times before I consider it’s ready to send off at the end of May. But I must leave it aside for a little while to ‘settle’ in my mind, so that I can come back to it afresh in due course.

The title of this next Bea is FALSE IMPRESSION. Almost everything that happens can be interpreted in different ways and it’s some time before Bea realises exactly who was murdered, when and why.  Technically, I set myself a challenge as, until the very last chapter, Bea never leaves the house. She, and the people who have taken refuge under her roof are, in fact, under siege . . . which makes for increased tension. I hope.

I’m also working on the next short story for the Methodist Recorder. I want to deal with the difficulty a busy person has in saying ‘no’. If you’re anything like me, you’ve had to learn how to say ‘no’ the hard way by saying ‘yes’ and finding out that you really can’t manage to fit whatever-it-is into your schedule without major problems. It’s easy enough to respond to a plea for help by saying ‘Yes’, but is it the right thing to do? I wanted to call this story ‘THE ABILITY TO SAY “No!”’  Then I thought that ‘THE ART OF SAYING “No!”’ might be better. Now I’m dithering between the two titles. Perhaps you’ve got a preference? If so, do let me know. The story won’t be out till just before Easter, by the way, and I can’t send copies to anyone until after that.

Talking of Downton – which we weren’t, but why not? – I wrote a series set in a modern British stately home in crisis. This is the Eden Hall series and the last of the four books – Master of the Hall – is now out as an e-book.  My heroine, Minty, is nothing like flinty Mary from Downton, but I enjoyed writing these books and hope you will enjoy reading them.

The short stories in Unsung Heroes is also available as an e-book, and doing well. I think I’ve almost got enough stories to fill another book, but they all need editing. Some need lengthening, some need shortening. Oh dear. Well, I must find the time, somehow. . . To be continued…

 There’s still a lot of talk going on about putting my early crime novels back into print or e-book, but these things take time. I get e-mails from this publisher and that asking me if I’d be interested to going with them, and then I ask another publisher who has taken my earlier books if they’d like them, and I wait for a reply from them. Meanwhile, I calm myself by thinking my agent has all this under control. Also to be continued . . .

A new blessing: may you find time to look around and appreciate the beauty of this world, the daffodils, the early red tulips, the forsythia . . . the birds . . . and the kindness of friends. Till next time . . .

 Veronica Heley


Recent releases.

FALSE DIAMOND.  Bea is drawn into the questionable doings of the multi-billionaire Holland family, which include an engagement with a fake diamond ring, an alleged suicide attempt, an abusive man who tries to put the frighteners on Bea, and the ambiguous behaviour of the black sheep of the family, who turns out to be the joker in the pack. ISBN 978 0 7278 8298 1.

Booklist: An action-packed variation on the British cozy, this latest from Heley is full of unexpected twists and gentle humour. Publishers Weekly: Starred: Excellent . . . suspense and betrayal combined with appealing players make this a superior series entry. Library Journal:   Marvelous!


MURDER MY NEIGHBOUR. Large print, hardback. Pub Nov 2013. ISBN 9780727896551.

MURDER FOR MERCY.  Ellie finds some deaths in the community are not exactly what they seem, while her pregnant, difficult daughter Diana is concerned that her husband is still in a wheelchair. Sabotage at the big house nearby is being blamed on young Mikey. 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

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.

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.

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 . ISBN 978 1 843751 408 0. Ebook: 978 1 78010 201 6.

Find details of all the other E-books at