Newsletter no.135 March 2019

A neighbour of mine has dug up his front garden, put down ground cover of small pebbles and placed a dozen pots containing different varieties of evergreens on it. The result is most pleasing. He explains that he doesn’t know anything about flowers because he used to have an allotment where he only grew vegetables. Now confined to a tiny front garden he still grows tomatoes, runner beans and salad stuffs. On my afternoon walks I observe that more and more elderly people are paving over their front lawns. Some have gone so far as to concrete the space to allow them to park their cars off the road. When we first moved here there were hardly any cars parked here, but now they are bumper to bumper on both sides of the road. Loft conversions are everywhere. Have you observed many changes in your neighbourhood over the years?

I’ve managed to sort out the plot for an Easter short story. It’s in a lighter vein than some of my previous ones, but it does carry a message which I hope people will recognise. I’ll tell you more about that later.

I have finally got through to the end of MURDER FOR GOOD. There is the main plot, and a couple of sub-plots and somehow it all comes right in the end. On reflection, I think that taking nine months instead of six to write this book was a mistake. I dropped work on it for the month of December because I knew I had plenty of time to deliver and I had to come up with three Christmas stories. But then I couldn’t get back into the rhythm of the work. I procrastinated. I went out for coffee with friends, and enjoyed myself very much indeed. In short, I then had to struggle to get back into the swing of writing. I think I went through it five drafts in all. Every time I altered something – even by so much as a comma – I had to go back and check for mistakes and typos, and I’ll bet the copy editor will still find some more!

Now I have to think up a plot for the next Bea Abbot. I’m pretty sure that the title will be FALSE CONCLUSION and I do know the story deals with the attempts of a dysfunctional family to keep the money in their own hands. I could write that plot about a small manufacturing business or a shop, or even about the ownership of a three-bedroom house in suburbia, but I hope you agree with me that it’s so much more fun to write about wealthy, glamorous creatures in marble mansions . . . not that my home life is anything like that!

Meanwhile there’s some nice reviews come in for FALSE ACCOUNT, which came out at the end of the year. Publishers Weekly write: ‘Those who enjoy seeing arrogant rich people get their comeuppance will be satisfied.’ And Booklist says: ‘A good choice for fans of the British cozy, especially those with an Agatha Christie feel, combining gentle humour, an intrepid heroine, and an unusual plot with quirky twists.’ So far, so good.

May the flowers that bloom in the spring lift your hearts with their beauty.

Veronica Heley