Newsletter no.108 December 2016

My new milkman – you remember that the old one retired and handed his round on to a cousin of his? – well, my new milkman blames the theft of my milk on the foxes which live in the park opposite my house. I asked him, ‘Do foxes remove the bottle along with the milk?’ I think not! Anyway, he did agree to hide the milk in the plants at the side of the front door in future. Usually he remembers. So far, so good.

Work continues, interrupted by social events. But that’s all right, as I can usually concentrated only for about an hour before I need a break and some contact with other human beings. At this time of year, when everyone’s getting in a tizzy about preparations for Christmas, I think we need those social times more than ever, if only to complain about everything we have to do before The Day.

I have two deadlines to fulfil before Christmas, so if I don’t want to go out to play with someone I can excuse myself by saying that I have to work instead. It is true, of course. But as I get older, I find myself having more patience for friends in trouble and much, much less, for group  events. I don’t know if this is happening to other people, but I seem to have more friends going through difficult times than usual. And I mean, really difficult times. The sort that makes the petty pinpricks of ordinary life seem too trivial to bother with.

So back to work. The  next short story for the Methodist Recorder is called CORIN’S  GIFT, and will be out in the Christmas issue. Spoiler alert: it is not your usual cozy Will-I-Get-What-I-Want-for-Christmas type story. It goes deeper than that. So, if you can’t get a copy but would like to read it, let me know and I’ll email you one for free.

The Ellie Quicke story –  MURDER FOR NOTHING – is going to be delivered a bit later than contracted, but my publishers are being very kind about this. I hope they like the story. I started it in mid-summer and am finishing it mid-winter, but in this case a summer storm can be just as tiresome for my characters as a wintery gale. This story started out with a ‘What if?’  There have been stories in the papers about people renting out their homes, only to have them wrecked by a party that had got out of hand, and I began by thinking about that. ‘What if . . .?’ Murder, money lending and mayhem follow quite naturally, and it takes Ellie and her friends both old and new, to work out what really happened on the night of the infamous party.

Which brings me back to the question: How do you get your ideas? The answer always is, ‘I don’t know.’ Or, ‘I was given a peculiar brain which is always querying what it sees or hears.’  ‘What if. . .?’ I ask myself. And then it’s like following a ball of string through a maze, turning this way and that and finally ending up with a Slap, Bang! In the centre. At least, one hopes that that’s what’s going to happen.

Oh, sorry about having to send this out as an attachment, again. I still can’t find the toolbar which allows me to paste copied text into an email. I hope you don’t mind. I have tried to get this rectified by my wonderful website manager, but it seems the problem is something to do with my broadband reception. Aaaargh! I must get someone in to look at it for me. Later.

The next Bea Abbot  – False Fire – is on track for publication at the end of the year in the UK, and April for the USA and Australia. This starts with thirteen people for dinner and ends in multiple deaths – oh, and an old teddy bear who becomes a Very Important Person. Plus, two poor little rich girls; they may be heiresses but money can’t buy the love that these two ten-year old girls need.

And, Bea’s last published story – ‘False Wall’ – came out on October 30th in large print. See below for the storyline. A paperback will be coming out in a year’s time.

Finally, a blessing; as the days grow darker, let us look forward to celebrating the real reason for Christmas; the coming of the Christ child and His love for the world.
Veronica Heley

NEW . . . ‘FALSE WALL’  in large print. The 10th Abbot Agency book begins as Bea’s ancient garden wall collapses, revealing a skeleton buried in a neighbour’s plot. Before Bea and her long-time friend Leon can investigate, they fall victim to an elaborately-planned trap. With her home, livelihood and the agency under threat, it seems that Bea is the subject of a neighbourhood vendetta. But why? And why is Leon becoming so distant?
‘Excellent characterisation and plotting.’ Library Journal.

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.

MURDER BY BICYCLE, a paperback from Ostara Publishing. ISBN 9 781909 619418 is the 7th in the series and MURDER OF IDENTITY,  also from Ostara is the 8th in the series. The ISBN for this is 9781909 619425.

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