Newsletter no.93 September 2015

Have you ever forgotten your pin number? Do you convert all your pin numbers to one which you can remember? I have just one store card for which I am required to use a pin number and, as my memory for numbers is not good, I wrote it down disguised as a telephone number in my diary. Only, then I couldn’t remember which part of the nine digits was the pin number! I’ve had this problem once before in the post office where the girl behind the counter said, in a bored voice, that I was the third person that morning who couldn’t remember what her pin number was!  

I’ve had one or two of my correspondents comment on the fact that I’m growing my own tomatoes, and I have to tell you that the very odd-shaped fruit on one plant are delicious! I’m told it’s a Heritage tomato, if that means anything to you. Highly recommended.

My short story called WHY BOTHER! was duly published in the Methodist Recorder on August 7th,   with new character who makes fun of Bruce and Leo for their family values and for being Christians. Bruce’s wife Sally has christened him ‘the man from Mars’, and he certainly acts like it. If you’d like to read it, but can’t get hold of the Recorder, just drop me an email and I’ll send it to you for free. I’ve already been asked to produce another story in this series, which will come out at Harvest time . . . but I don’t know exactly when that will be. Harvest can be such a movable feast, can’t it?

Writing the next book – MURDER AT THE MAGPIE – has been interrupted by the necessity of copy editing for False Wall – which comes out at the end of the year. No one likes dealing with copy editing where all your faults of punctuation come up and slap you in the face, and your long-cherished ideas of what happens with semi-colons are blown apart. You get used to certain ways of dealing with commas, for instance, and then find that all your deliberately placed commas have been removed and put in another place! Ugh. But I now have a new copy editor, who isn’t fixated about commas, but loves – just adores – hyphens. Needless to say, I am grinding my teeth about this. Then I remind myself to choose my battles with care. So, some I’ll let her have, and one or two I’ll fight to the death to retain.

So, how is the Magpie book getting on? Well, I’ve got to the end and found myself surprised by one or two things that happened along the way. All is not what it seems at first sight. I do like planting surprises for the reader to come across, but they have to arise from the plot and not just come out of the blue. In this case I’ve had to go back and back and back over the mss to make sure that the clues to the surprises were there all the time, even though I hadn’t noticed them when I was writing that bit. Young Mikey insinuates himself into the plot even when he’s not supposed to do so – but we’re accustomed to that, aren’t we? This time he not only rides his bike on the pavement and gets shouted at by alarmed pensioners in mobile scooters, but he tries – in vain – to get Thomas to give him driving lessons. He pays War Games with a friend and finds it boring. He borrows a metal detector to find Lesley’s (police, remember) engagement ring which she’s thrown out of the window in the garden in a temper . . . and no, I’m not telling you what that’s all about but Ellie does feel guilty about it.

Meanwhile, MURDER BY SUSPICION is fresh from the publishers and getting out and about and being read all over the world, much to reader’s enjoyment (or so I hear!) This is the story in which the charismatic leader of a cult is after Ellie’s money. Pastor Ambrose works through Claire the Tearful, whom Ellie took on to look after her elderly and very frail housekeeper, Rose – and that did not work out well. Also Ellie’s policewoman friend is raising the question of a missing schoolgirl with whom Claire has had an argument. For details of the ISBNs, see below. There’s been a couple of good reviews out already – Publishers Weekly, have said ‘Ellie remains a formidable heroine, despite her rather slapdash and impulsive habits.’ I like that, don’t you?

And finally, a blessing: may the beauty of the world in high summer remind us to say ‘thank you’ every now and then. And, since I’m having a lot of trouble with my e-mails lately, this comes to you on a wing and with a prayer.

Veronica Heley

NEW . . . .

MURDER BY SUSPICION, the 16th Ellie Quicke.
Hardback:   ISBN 9780 7278 85241   E-book: 9781 78010 6779

FALSE ALARM, the 7th Bea Abbot. Paperback: ISBN 978 1 84751 466 0.

FALSE IMPRESSION, the 9th Bea Abbot. Large print: ISBN 978 0 7278 7164 7

And . . . the paperback is coming soon.

The new pop-up by Francesca Crespi, for Noah’s Ark, has a text written by yours truly. Francesca’s work is stunning. Frances Lincoln, ISBN 978-1-84507-937-6.