Newsletter no.142, October 2019

I have come to the end of the next Bea Abbot story, which I’ve called FALSE CONCLUSION. At least, I think I have finished it. I’ve stopped waking up in the night and thinking, ‘That bit’s wrong!’ and ‘You meant to add a bit there, didn’t you?’ And so I sent it off to my editor with fingers and toes crossed. I think it’s a good story, but I’m really too close to it to judge. I check my emails a dozen times a day, hoping to hear that she likes it and it doesn’t need too much work to be publishable. Only when that happens can I breathe a huge sigh of relief and think about the next story . . . that is, until the copy edits arrive for FALSE CONCLUSION, demanding to be attended to Now! This Minute!

Before that happens maybe I should give some thought to the next Christmas story. Yes, that’s a horrible thought, isn’t it? Christmas, in October? I know what the title is – CHRISTMAS MISLAID. So far so good. But for the rest? I haven’t a clue.

Away on holiday with family, I asked for their ideas for this Christmas story. And they started talking about a broken, discarded Christmas tree which they named ‘Percy’. Or maybe it is ‘Pursey?’ I’m afraid we couldn’t agree on the spelling or even why he appears in the story. Will Percy make it to publication? ‘Watch this space!’ as they say in the adverts.

People have been writing to me to say they’ve been into the library to order copies of the latest Ellie Quicke book, published at the end of August. Every year the figures drop for hardback with the closure of libraries, but e-book sales seem to be holding up. This story – MURDER FOR GOOD – is one I rather like because it could happen. It’s the one in which Ellie’s husband receives some bequests from people he hardly knows, and Ellie tries unavailingly to get an unwelcome guest out of the house. And it’s about Diana, of course. Someone asked me once why I didn’t get rid of the wretched woman and I said I couldn’t do that because everyone, including me, loves to hate her!

And, as it happens, the first review of MURDER FOR GOOD is now in, from Booklist. It says . . . ‘Entertaining, quirky, madcap and heart warming, this is a good choice for fans of traditional mysteries.’ Hurray!

My musings on what makes a friend continue. Recently I concluded that a friend is someone you rejoice with in good times, and sympathise with in bad. I wanted to qualify that by saying that you should rejoice without envy and offer practical help as well as sympathy in bad times. I’m not sure about that. What do you think?

May you remember with pleasure the good things that have happened in your life and let the mistakes and hurts fade into the past.

Veronica Heley