Newsletter no.96 December 2015

November was a busy month. The Methodist Recorder scheduled a story from me to go in the Christmas double issue, and they wanted it early so that they could pick out some photographs to go with it. It is not your usual happy-clappy Christmas story, but carries on the story about the shoplifting family, what they expect from society for their Christmas and what might actually happen to them. But poor damaged Corin does get an invitation to join our old friends on the day. Whether he will come or not . . .? You’ll have to find out when the story is published. It’s called ‘You Owe Me!’ and it will be published in the double edition for Christmas.

Next, I had to deliver the manuscript for the next Ellie Quicke mystery, Murder at the Magpie, which meant going over and over the manuscript again and again to sort out typos and mis-spaced lines and the occasional error in timing. Did she leave the office at nine or nine thirty and what happened when her daughter came to the door? This involves going backwards and forwards through the manuscript, trying to check on what I’d written earlier. I thought I’d polished the story off nicely, and then found – oh horrors! – that I’d missed the odd mistake so had to go through it all over again. But finally, it was sent off into the blue and now I have an anxious wait till I hear if it is acceptable as it is or if it needs more work.

The big news this month is of course that FALSE WALL will be published on or about the third week in December. Someone asked me the other day what this book was about and I went totally, but completely blank! I couldn’t think. Picture me with my jaw dropping . . .! Well, you must remember that since I despatched it to Severn House, I have written two short stories and the Ellie Quicke story referred to above as Murder at the Magpie, not to mention beginning to sort out what the storyline on the next Bea Abbot story will be. So, backtracking through four storylines, I herewith present the plot of False Wall – which is, if I’ve counted correctly, the 10th in the Abbot Agency series:

Bea Abbot watched in horror as her garden wall comes crashing down, leaving the rear of her house – and three others – wide open to trespassers. The fall of the wall also disturbs human bones in a neighbour’s pets’ cemetery. An invitation to Bea and her financier friend Leon from the Admiral and his lady next door has horrifying consequences, as both Bea and Leon end up in hospital. It also leaves Bea’s house uninhabitable, wipes out her agency office and threatens to destroy Leon’s reputation. Reeling from shock, Bea is distressed when Leon deserts her in an effort to rescue an important business deal.

Even with the help of her friends, can the agency survive – and what then will become of Bea’s relationship with Leon?

Also out at the end of the month is the paperback edition of FALSE IMPRESSION – this is the one in which a series of strange events and seemingly unrelated deaths lead Leon to take refuge with Bea. And nothing is what it seems. This was first published a year ago in hardback – so don’t get confused, will you. . .

Some of you may know I’ve been experiencing problems with my eyes recently. The long-awaited operation has now taken place and I am thrilled to report that my sight is now returning to normal, hurray! Mind you, when I leave the house at the moment, it’s wearing dark glasses and carrying a stick . . . but I hope soon to be without the stick at least.

Finally, a blessing: may you always bear the true meaning of Christmas in mind as the busy-ness of the season threatens to overwhelm us. Rejoice and be merry, give thanks always for His love.

Veronica Heley

NEW . . . .

FALSE           WALL, the 10th Bea Abbot. December 31st 2015, 3 months later in the USA and other overseas territories. See above for the plot. ISBN 978-0-7278-8576-0.

FALSE IMPRESSION, the 9th Bea Abbot. The paperback will be available from December 31st 2015, 3 months later for overseas. ISBN 978-1-84751-5629.

MURDER BY SUSPICION- the 16th Ellie Quicke. Booklist review: ‘The latest in Heley’s long-running series again draws its appeal from the mix of suspense, gentle humour, an unpredictable plot, and a brave and engaging amateur sleuth.’

Hardback: ISBN 9780 7278 85241   E-book: 9781 78010 6779

The audiobook of THE TARRANT ROSE, from Soundings, ISBN 9781407951836

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.

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)

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.

Find details of all the other E-books at