Newsletter no.97 January 2016

On this first day of the New Year, I would like my world to be all sweetness and light, but no; I have to report a crime. It’s one I can’t take to the police. My milk is being stolen off my doorstep! Last summer I found someone (something) was ripping the tops off my milk bottles and lowering the level of the liquid inside by an inch or so. Next, I found one bottle had been toppled onto its side, the lid removed, and that the contents had drained away. I concluded that the crows which haunt the nearby park had decided to vary their diet, and a neighbour gave me a plastic bucket to put over my milk carrier. That worked well . . . until recently I found the bucket had been left on one side and the carrier was – empty. At first I thought Alan, who had been delivering my milk for years, must have taken the empties and forgotten to leave me a new bottle. But after this had happened a couple of times, the horrible truth emerged; he hadn’t forgotten and my milk was being stolen!

Now it is true that my front garden is somewhat exposed, and what is more, I live opposite some park gates. People walking dogs go in and out of the park at all hours; as do teenagers extending a night out by sitting on my garden wall and eating a ready meal; as do men wheeling fractious babies in buggies; as does the man who delivers the papers in the middle of the night. (Between three and four o’clock, to be precise.) So who do you think I should blame? Not the milkman. Otherwise, the field is wide open. For the moment, Alan is hiding my milk in a flower bed and we’re hoping this will stop the thefts. To be continued, no doubt.

The Methodist Recorder published my Christmas story as planned. It’s titled ‘You Owe Me!’ If you’d like a copy and can’t get hold of one, just drop me an email and I’ll send it to you by return. ‘You Owe Me!’ is what the father of the shoplifting family says as he demands presents and money for Christmas. What do our old friends reply? And will Corin soften his stance on Christmas? How easily we can overlook the real meaning of Christmas and think only of parties and presents.

The next Ellie Quicke – Murder at the Magpie – has been accepted (hurray!) and I’ll shortly be getting the copy-editing to do. The scheduled date for publication is the end of June this year. I recently had a review from someone who hadn’t read any of my books before and said that (apparently to her surprise) she found that there was more to think about than in this book than in the usual light crime novel. She had come across Murder by Suspicion, with its characters who ignore the usual constraints of society to go after Ellie’s money and who won’t take no for an answer. I was interested that she’d homed in on this theme. Although the Ellie and Bea stories are by definition ‘cosies’ or ‘good-reads’ I usually include a strand in the plot about something that’s been bothering me in real life. I was really pleased to read her comments.

And now – Tarantara! – a fanfare for FALSE WALL, which was officially published yesterday, 31st December in the UK. There have been a few good reviews out already on NetGalley, which is open to anyone who is a librarian or has a review blog. If you would like a copy with a view to giving it a review, just contact Charlotte at Severn House and she will do the necessary.  

Finally, a blessing: may the New Year bring you more joy than sorrow, and the strength to deal with whichever comes.

Veronica Heley

  1. Neighbours have just told me their milk is also being stolen. Half a bottle was taken the other night! Alan is now hiding their milk in a food container outside their front door.

NEW . . . .

FALSE           WALL, the 10th Bea Abbot. December 31st 2015, 3 months later in the USA and other overseas territories. Bea Abbot watched in horror as her garden wall came crashing down, exposing 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 leaves both of them in hospital. It also leaves Bea’s home and her agency rooms uninhabitable, while threatening to destroy Leon’s reputation. Bea is distressed when, at this traumatic moment, Leon deserts her to rescue a business deal. Even with the help of her friends, can the agency survive – and what then will become of Bea’s relationship with Leon? Severn House,
ISBN 978-0-7278-8576-0.

FALSE IMPRESSION, the 9th Bea Abbot. The paperback edition, available from December 31st 2015, 3 months later for overseas. A series of strange events and seemingly unrelated deaths lead Leon to take refuge with Bea. And nothing is what it seems. Severn House 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