Newsletter no.100 April 2016

Well, here it is. The Hundredth Newsletter. I’m greatly surprised to find that I’ve produced so many of them. When I first realised how many I’d done, I tried to work out how long I’d been doing them for, and my mind went totally blank. Where was my twelve times table when I need it? Gone walkabout. I told myself that it was still there at the back of my head somewhere, and eventually I retrieved it. And the result was . . . eight years and four months! (All right, I know you got there quicker than I did!) Little did I think when I first started this odyssey that, so many years later, I would still be writing to you all about my difficulties and successes with my writing and different publishers . . . about missing banana skins and my milk being stolen!

And, talking of stolen milk, dear Alan – my milkman for so many years – writes that ‘It’s the foxes who do most damage. They knock the milk over and drink it.’ So not human beings, not crows or slugs . . . but foxes! My correspondent who reported the foxes stealing their plums will be amused! So the next time I look out of the window in the night to see a fox slinking up the street, I’ll know what he’s up to.

And yes, you’ve spotted the flaw in this argument. Foxes can’t lift a large pot off the milk bottles, take the top off, drink half and replace in the crate. So perhaps it’s half foxes and half crows? But, it’s definitely the foxes who upended my waste food container – destined for the compost heap – and spread the contents all over my path. Tea bags, potato peelings, onion skins, banana skins . . . No, that’s definitely foxes.

Now for the latest news on the writing front. I am slowly struggling through to the end of the first draft of the next Bea and all seems well there – for the moment, anyway.

I did the copy editing for MURDER IN STYLE (which used to be called Murder at the Magpie, remember?) So far, so good. It’s another Ellie and it’s due out at the end of June, and September in the States. Then my publisher sent me through a suggestion for the cover, which was spiky, original, striking and . . . sexy.

Sexy? Moi? Is Bea sexy? Um, yes, I suppose, in a way. But, is Ellie sexy? Er, no.           Would my readers expect sexy in a book about 60s housewife Ellie, who is never quite sure that she’s got her coat buttoned up correctly and yes, she does own a lipstick but she’s not sure where she’s put it? So this was Oh Dear time. As you probably know, it’s stated in the contract that the publishers have the right to design the cover and it’s quite true that most writers haven’t a clue what works for sales purposes. But in this case . . . yes, it really was Oh, Dear! Anyway, my publisher decided that perhaps ‘sexy’ wasn’t the right image for Ellie after all, and has cleverly come up with something spiky, original, striking, and . . . acceptable. Phew! This cover will go on the website soon, so you can judge for yourselves what a good job he’s made of it.

The Easter short story went out in the Good Friday edition of the Methodist Recorder. It continues Corin’s vendetta against our Christian friends, who were planning a Good Friday walk. His plan to disrupt this causes maximum alarm, especially when Bruce is asked if he will carry the cross through streets he knows well – just as Jesus did. If you’ve missed reading it and would like a free copy, let me know and I’ll send one to you by email. It’s called ‘Why Shouldn’t I?’

Finally, a blessing: may Eastertide bring you renewed hope for yourself and others.

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

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