One of my friends is allowed to read the proof copy of my books, as a favour, before they come out. She returned the latest to me with a concerned expression on her face. What was wrong? Had I dropped an important plot point somewhere? ‘No, the book’s all right,’ she said. ‘But, I do worry about you, Veronica. You have such a peculiar mind.’
She’s right, of course. I was in my early twenties before I realised – with astonishment – that not everyone went around making up stories in their heads. So here am I with my peculiar mind, producing another complicated plot using characters we all know and love.
The book she’d read in proof stage is the latest Bea Abbot, FALSE IMPRESSION, which will be published officially at the end of this month. If you’re near a library, you may like to go and reserve a copy now. The cover is a little different from those we have used before in this series, as it has a large black cat on it . . . which is fine, I suppose, as Bea’s Winston does wind his way in and out of the story.
What is this book about? Well, Bea has taken in the helpless (and hopeless) Dilys, who accidentally infects the agency’s systems with a virus, while Bea’s on and off friend Leon first seeks sanctuary with her and then tells her to disown him. It turns out that both Leon and Dilys’s boy-friend Orlando had been lured to the car park of a swimming pool where a murderer had been at work – leaving them entangled in a web from which they find it hard to extricate themselves. Surely this can’t have anything to do with Leon’s taking over his elder brother’s global empire? Or can it? Everything that happens can be interpreted in different ways and it’s some time before Bea realises exactly who was murdered and why. Before she does so, she and everyone else in the house and the agency find themselves under siege.
I do hope you’ll like it. And, if you’re a professional reviewer, you can ask Charlotte at Severnhouse to send you a digital copy through NetGalley NOW.
Meanwhile, I’ve been slugging along with the next Ellie, which is, incredibly, number sixteen in the series! How has this happened? Most series peter out after six or seven, but this one keeps on and on. Of course some of the minor characters come and go; some stick around for a couple of books – or even more. Some pop back in again, as they would in real life. So the difficult schoolboy Mikey is still coming around, and of course Ellie’s dreadful bully of a daughter, Diana. Someone said recently that there is a touch of Diana in even the nicest of daughters. Hm. Better not let my own daughter hear that!
Every now and then I feel a character telling me that they have had enough. The years take their toll, and one of the characters who appeared in the very first Ellie, is feeling her age. And no, I can’t stop her leaving. When it’s time to go, then that’s it. With regret and a good many tears on my part.
At the moment I’m taking a rest from this book while I start on another short story, this time for the New Year for the Methodist Recorder. If you didn’t manage to catch up with the last two stories I wrote for them, just drop me an e-mail and I’ll send them to you. ‘Summer Holiday’ saw our heroes going off in different directions and learning something new, while ‘Accident & Emergency’ found Kerry ending up in hospital and his friends rallying round to keep the hostel going.
The saga of the moths in my house is, hopefully, drawing to a close, but I have had to dispose of three warm wool skirts and ditto tops. So I now have excuse to go shopping, hurray!
A blessing: may you enjoy to some of the seasonal produce which is now coming into the shops . . . but remember that sprouts are not at their best till they’ve had the frost on them.
One of my earliest historicals – My Lord, the Hermit – has just come out on audiobook. Libraries usually stock my audiobooks, so you can ask for it there. CD/9781407951638.
Cry for Kit – one of the early mysteries, is now out as an e-book, as is . . .
The Siege of Salwarpe – a romance set in the middle ages.
You can hear me reading various bits and pieces in recordings made by Isis (Soundings) as follows: Podcast & Interview:
Collected newsletters 2011-2014 (one audio file)
Links to individual newsletters (click on each title)
Severn House e-books released recently
Bea Abbot: FALSE STEP: http://aerbook.com/books/False_Step-8687.html
Historical: LONGSWORD: http://aerbook.com/books/Longsword-8830.html
Ellie Quicke: MURDER IN TIME: http://aerbook.com/books/Murder_in_Time-8823.html
UNSUNG HEROES is now available as an e-book. This is a collection of short stories concerning the problems of three retired men and their families, plus some Ellie Quicke short stories. £3.40 UK, and $4.90 USA. http://www.veronicaheley.com/othertitles.php?l1-11
Find details of all the other E-books at http://www.veronicaheley.com/ebooks.php?l1-11