Newsletter no.106 October 2016

September has been a busy month as organisations and clubs restarted after the summer break. The choir has reconvened, with some new people and everyone trying to get their singing muscles back again while wondering which of their favourite carols we might be doing for our scheduled Christmas concert. I’m all for Berlioz’ ‘Shepherds’ Farewell’, myself, but ‘Silent Night’ is always a firm favourite. It’s really far too early to think of Christmas for me . . . there’s always so much going on in the autumn term.

One the things that’s been ‘going on’ is the copy-editing and then the proof-reading of the next Bea Abbot, which is called ‘False Fire’. I think it’s my favourite Bea Abbot so far, but it does involve referencing back to the complicated Holland dynasty, with its late marriages and young children, who is connected to who, and who has the money, etc. I start with a birthday party for one of the Holland children – who is ten – and her friend from boarding school and their complicated family structure. Thirteen people at the dinner table, and who’s for the chop? And is that murder? Er . . . possibly not?

My publishers and I agreed from the beginning that this book would have a teddy bear on the cover, because it’s the unifying love object which links the children to one another. Even the grown-ups take comfort from cuddling the bear occasionally. Severn House came up with a really good cover, showing fire creeping down a staircase, and an abandoned teddy bear at the front. NB: this is not a story to read to very young children!

I must say here that I am really grateful to Severn House for sending me the copy-edits and the proofs in a slightly larger font size. My sight is not what it was, particularly at the end of the day, and this has helped me enormously.

I wasn’t able to flag up in the last newsletter that there was another short story on its way, as The Methodist Recorder scheduled it after the newsletter had gone out. But, one was published on September 23rd. If anyone has missed seeing it and would like to read it, just let me know and I’ll send them an email copy by return. (Or possibly the next day. Whichever.)

This story is called ‘How Dare He!’ and gives the background for Corin’s attacks on our Christian friends, which takes a nasty turn. I am almost – but not quite – sorry for him, but can’t excuse the methods he uses to express his hurt.

The new Ellie – Murder for Nothing – is coming along nicely after a slow start. But, what a cast of liars! I worked out some time ago exactly how the murder was committed, who dunnit and who cleared up afterwards, but what happened is going to have a lasting effect on the lives of all the people involved. Perhaps that’s something we forget when we read of a murder in the papers?

I am enjoying writing about one particular character who starts off as Villain No.1 and ends up almost as the hero. As in real life, some people in this story seem to me to be evenly balanced and could go to the Bad, or to the Good. I’m not sure how permanent Rafael’s change of heart can be, but hope to know by the time I get to the end. And yes, I do know what happens on the last page.

Finally, a blessing; as the leaves drift to the ground in the autumn, let us remember to support one another in the dark days of winter, as well as in the brightness of summer.

Veronica Heley

NEW . . . . MURDER IN STYLE, the 17th Ellie Quicke. Out in the shops in the UK on June 16th. ISBN 978-0-7278-86309. This story is set in a fashion boutique started by twin girls who had been unwise in their choice of husbands. When one of the twins tumbles down the stairs and dies, it sets off a chain reaction of greed and malice in those left behind. Ellie tries to sort out the mess and is drawn into danger herself.

Publisher’s Weekly speaks of ‘Heley’s well-plotted 17th Ellie Quicke mystery’, and goes on to say ‘A mature woman with keen observational skills and psychological insight into dark human deeds, Ellie is a worthy successor to Agatha Christie’s Jane Marple.

MURDER BY SUSPICION, the 16th Ellie Quicke, the large print edition. Also the trade paperback, and now, the audiobook as well. A local house church is after Ellie’s money but their members hold some very odd beliefs – not to mention their unscrupulous methods of getting the funds needed by their charismatic, if misguided, pastor.

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