Newsletter no.111 March 2017

My garden is small and chaotic. Lining the path to the front door I have managed a formal layout but for the rest, plants flourish or not as they please. I do like to have something in bloom all the year round. In February it was the snowdrops. They are the late kind and never seem to drop their heads until everyone else’s blooms are over. Nevertheless, I love them dearly. I have a tiny Victorian glass vase which is too small to use for anything else, but three or four snowdrops in it look good. I seem to remember someone calling them ‘Fair Maids of February’. I like that. My snowdrops are still blooming today on March lst, but crocuses, iris stylosa, winter jasmine, daffodils and polyanthus are opening up every day and soon I will cut some ‘whips’ of forsythia and bring them indoors to flower.

Work continues throughout as I battle one heavy cold after another. I have heard people greet one another with ‘Which virus have you got?’ This must prove something . . . probably that we’re not getting enough sunshine/not eating enough greens/not taking our Vitamin D tablets/don’t get out of the house enough. In the old days we used to say that you should feed a cold but starve a fever. Where, I might ask, does chocolate come into this equation? It certainly improves one’s mood to eat chocolate, but it’s not that good for the vocal chords. Lemon, honey and ginger drinks seem to be one answer and, for the record, I do like honey.

I haven’t yet received the copy editing for Murder for Nothing, so I’m bashing on as fast as I can with the next Bea Abbot and with another short story. It’s hard to relinquish one set of characters and switch to another, and I have to admit that one has been getting more attention from me than the other. Guess which!

The Methodist Recorder wants the next story for their Easter issue, to be delivered early in March. I’ve known from the start what story I wanted to write, but somehow I kept putting it off in favour of getting on with the next Bea Abbot tale. One of the problems was that Bruce’s wife Sally turned out to be the person who sorted out the mystery of the Lucky Draw ticket, while being the least articulate of the four main characters and the one who thought herself least able to help someone deep in grief. But, that’s how it is sometimes, in real life as well as in fiction.

Meanwhile, the first of the reviews for False Fire has come through. This is from Booklist, and among other nice things it says ‘a colourful cast of characters, an intrepid heroine, and a surprising but ultimately heart-warming ending make this an enticing read for genre fans’. So that’s all right, then. It should hit the American and Australian shops in March.

And no, of course I haven’t had my computer serviced. I know I ought to have done so. I do tell myself that this is a job that ought to go to the top of the list, but then I get involved in the next bit of plot for the Bea Abbot story, and all my good resolutions go by the board. I fear that one day something will Go Horribly Wrong! And at that stage I will be forced, willy nilly, to ask for help. But until then, I soldier on.

Finally, a blessing; may winter colds fade away with the coming of the spring flowers,

Veronica Heley

NEW! . . . FALSE FIRE starts with thirteen people for a dinner party which ends in multiple deaths – oh, and a teddy bear who becomes a Very Important Person in the lives of two poor little rich girls. Bernice and Alicia may be heiresses but money can’t buy the love that these two ten-year old girls need. This is the 11th Bea Abbot story.  

FALSE WALL is now out both in paperback and 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.

MURDER IN STYLE, the 17th Ellie Quicke. 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 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