Newsletter no.128 August 2018

The milk delivery is fine for the moment, hurray! But, I drew back the curtains a couple of days ago, to see a mess of feathers in the middle of the lawn, and half a dead pigeon neatly laid out to one side. Yes, half! I thought this must be the work of a fox and that he’d return sharpish to collect his prey. But no; it was still there the following day. My wonderful cleaner told me to go indoors and she’d deal with it. She dug a deep hole in a flower border, wrapped the body in newspaper, and interred it. Job done. I was so grateful. The next morning I drew back the curtain . . . and saw a tooth-marked but still intact newspaper parcel on the lawn, and a gaping hole in the border. Yes. This time I had to see to the burial myself. When I’d finished, I dragged a heavy bucket to cover the spot as a gravestone. This morning all was as it should be. Now all we need is some rain to hasten decomposition.

And oh yes, do we need some rain! We’ve had one evening of showers, and a slight shower one afternoon and that’s that. I’ve had to leave the annuals to die, and concentrated on watering the runner beans in pots . . . and now I have another battle I have to report. Blackfly! But I must admit that what runner beans have managed to set, have been delicious.

PS. Today at long last it is raining. This is bad timing, I have a Garden Shed party to go to!

Back to work. I sent in the manuscript of the next Bea story, and my editor likes it, hurray! Even before I start on the line editing, she wanted to know what I envisaged for the cover. I said that a model railway engine being looked at by a cat would be good. She has her own ideas, of course, so now I have to wait to see what turns up. I’ve also had the proof sent through to me of the cover for the audiobook of Murder for Nothing. They have a different style from that of Severn House, but it’s always thoughtful and I like their idea for this cover.

Meanwhile, I’m still struggling along with the second short story about forgiveness. The hint of an idea I had at first does seem to be working out, and I am in the process of fiddling around with this and that . . . and waiting to hear when I have to send it in.

And now, incredibly, I am on to the twentieth Ellie Quicke story! I can hardly believe it. The first story was published in 2001, and I’ve been writing at least one a year ever since. Ellie started out as a new widow of fifty, and a lot has happened to her since then, including remarriage and the birth of two more grandchildren. Should I call it a day with her, or should I keep on keeping on? The idea for the current story seems to be working out all right, and it’s a subject matter which keeps cropping up in the newspapers, but shouldn’t Ellie retire from solving murders at some point? She would never have described herself as a hunter, although that in fact is what she is. But there’s still her greedy daughter, Diana, to deal with . . . and shouldn’t Ellie and Thomas downsize from that white elephant of a house? I’d welcome some feedback on this.

A blessing; may you always think of life as a cup that is half full … and not half empty.

Veronica Heley