Newsletter no.158, September 15th, 2020

Did I solve the mystery of the large man who took a huge back pack and a rolled up red umbrella into the park early in the mornings? Well, yes and no. Lots of you came up with theories which might fit the bill. One suggested he was a photographer, taking advantage of there being less people in the park in the early morning, to get a few shots in. Others suggested he was selling drugs. Most people – including my family who take exercise seriously – think that he was training for something. Apparently, athletes carry heavy back packs to help them develop their muscles. But what about the red umbrella, I ask? That doesn’t fit the picture . . . or does it?

Meanwhile, lots of stuff has been going on on the work front. In the first place, the next Ellie book – MURDER-IN-LAW – has been accepted and I should be getting the dreaded copy editor’s comments at the end of this month. I’ll let you know when I get a publication date.

And here I have to stop and ask if you will help us decide how to plan these books in the future. I have been living with Ellie for twenty years. After some five books, my then editor suggested that it was usual for a character to fade away after seven or eight titles, so would I please think up another good protagonist to take over from Ellie. That’s when Bea Abbot came into being. But, instead of a drop in sales for Ellie, her books continued to sell, and so we started doing Ellie and Bea alternately.

In the early days people said they liked Ellie rather than Bea, but lately people have been saying that they now prefer Bea. I’d love to hear what you think. (All right! I know I do try to reply to all emails but if many of you are going to email me on this and, don’t get me wrong, I do hope that you will do so then, please have mercy and don’t expect a reply every single time!)

The latest short story for the Methodist Recorder is ‘Love in Lockdown’ – bang up to date and seeing Sally well on the way to recovery from her bout of coronavirus. It was published on August 28th. If you haven’t been able to get hold of a copy, and would like to read it, just drop me an email and I’ll send it to you, free.

Meanwhile the story from the archives which automatically comes with this newsletter was originally called ‘All Change’ but I’ve renamed it ‘The Kindness of Strangers.’ You’ll see why when you access it here . . .

And a quickie: the large print hard back version of FALSE ACCOUNT is out at the end of September, so if you fancy reading that, do put in for it at the library.

A blessing on all who are kind to strangers.

Veronica Heley