Newsletter no.101 May 2016

Do you remember being told ‘Pride goes before a fall?’ I ought to have remembered that when I went to the London Book Fair at Olympia. Meeting a friend, I said, ‘I’ve been in this business for over forty years and I know what I’m doing.’ Yes, I really did say that. Stupid, or what!

Because later that day I met with my friends from Severn House. I handed them the outline for the next story, which I’d called ‘False Favourite’ . . . and they said, ‘You’ll have to change the title!’

What had I done wrong? I’d forgotten that spelling has to be tailored to the American market, so ‘favourite’ becomes ‘favorite’. And ‘favorite’ doesn’t work for the British market. After all these years, I had completely forgotten that rule. Ugh! Anyway, the book is about arson through fireworks, so we’re calling it ‘False Fire’ instead.

What is it with me? That’s twice in a row that I’ve thought up titles only to have them rejected. Ah well. That’ll teach me not to think I know everything . . . because I don’t.

The good news is that Severn House liked the storyline for False Fire. I am working on the second draft for it now, for delivery at the end of May and publication at the end of the year. Meanwhile I’ve corrected the proofs for the next Ellie, Murder in Style. You may remember that the first suggestion for a cover was rather too racy for my readership but we now have another which is still original and striking. The books will be in the shops from the end of June.

But oh, commiserate with me. I woke up one morning with back trouble! Every step caused me to scream a little scream. I couldn’t sit for long, but when I stood up, pain shot down my leg and stayed there. I couldn’t lie on my back, even with a pillow under my knees. Painkillers? What a laugh. The ordinary painkillers didn’t even touch it. Neighbours were wonderful but every time one called I had to negotiate the stairs to get to the front door . . . ditto when the phone rang. Finally, I managed to get hold of someone in the physio practice I used to go to, years ago, and some relief was obtained. Now I can sit for a while at the computer and stand to cook a meal – just. Yes, today is better than yesterday and tomorrow, I hope, will see me well on the way back to a pain-free life . . . which is just as well, considering that I’ve still got a lot of work to do on False Fire.

Meanwhile, no gardening. Or, very light gardening only. Instead of double digging and tearing out brambles, I tell myself to be grateful for the slightly shaggy look in the garden – and if the bluebells proliferate, then that’s what they will have to do.

The Easter short story went out in the Good Friday edition of the Methodist Recorder,

and I’ve been asked for another to appear some time in the summer. These stories follow Corin’s vendetta against our Christian friends . . . something which resonates with many of my readers. If you’ve missed this episode, let me know and I’ll send you a free copy by email. It’s called ‘Why Shouldn’t I?’

Finally, a blessing: may you find time in your busy life to stand still for a while and appreciate the beauty of God’s earth and sky.

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)

Find details of my E-books at