Newsletter no.98 February 2016

My report of milk being stolen off my doorstep has inspired comments from all around the world. In Australia apparently milk is no longer available in bottles, but only in cartons. I didn’t know that. Another reader advised me to set up a camera to capture the thief in action . . . which is exactly what a third reader did after he noticed the pears on his tree were disappearing every night. And who did you think his camera caught? A fox! They had never realised a fox could jump so high, but now they have it on camera! Interesting . . . but foxes don’t drink milk, do they?

I am happy to say that no more milk has disappeared from my garden but we remain the Crime Capital of this part of London. The next thing to disappear was the cast-iron name plate for our road, which was affixed to the wall of our garden when the house was built one hundred years ago. It’s a heritage thing. Gradually the old nameplates are being given a facelift and returned to their original places and very nice they look, too. Time and rust had worked their wicked way with the staples holding my plate in place and one morning I found it face down on the pavement. I tried to lift it. Yes, stupid; I know! It was far too heavy for me. Later that day I went out with a friend to collect it for purposes of rehabilitation and . . . yes, you’ve guessed it . . . it had gone! Has it been melted down for scrap, or does it adorn the kitchen wall of another house in our road? A souvenir of the old days? It can’t be the same person who takes our milk, can it?

FALSE WALL, the 10th Bea Abbot, which was officially published on the last day of 2015, has been doing well in the reviews. I understand some librarians and review bloggers have already asked Charlotte for a copy. That pleases us mightily, but she asks me to make sure you realise it will be a digital and not a hard copy. The cost of sending a hard copy from the UK is prohibitive. So here’s reminding you about that. If you’d still like a digital copy for review, just email her and she will send one to you.  

I had quite a few requests for email copies of the Christmas story I wrote for the Methodist Recorder. ‘You Owe Me!’ is about the shoplifter and his family who, when prevented from going about their usual ‘business’, demand presents and money for Christmas. If you’d still like to read this, just drop me an email and I’ll send you a copy free.

I am grinding my way slowly through the first draft of the next Bea Abbot. It starts with a bang – a fireworks bang! – and continues through a maze of misrepresentation, misunderstandings and a cast of nasties. No murders as yet but there’s man (or woman) slaughter all over the place. And two poor little rich girls whom I really do feel sorry for. As the old Nannies used to say, ‘It will all end in tears before nightfall.’ I’m enjoying it, in a weird sort of way.

Meanwhile, there’s a paperback of FALSE IMPRESSION newly out. Hurray! This is the one in which Bea finds herself and her friends targeted by . . . who knows who? See below for details.

Finally, a blessing: may the first flowers of spring bring renewed hope for our own growth this year.

Veronica Heley

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 And now: paperback ISBN

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