Newsletter no.179, 1st September, 2021

‘False Face’ the 15th Abbot Agency mystery

will be published at the end of September. The story? Bea’s husband, Piers, has been working on the portrait of a fading film star but when his work is done, she refuses to pay him. She claims that Piers had conspired with a girl who was ghost-writing the diva’s memoirs, to steal her jewellery. Young Molly declares her innocence, but she is a fantasist, so who can Bea believe? The hardback is published in the UK on 30th September, the e-book on November 1st, and the USA hardback publication date is at the start of December. Spoiler alert! Fantasist may believe their own stories but if other people do as well, then look out for trouble.

So, on to the next Ellie Quicke . . .

I was getting along nicely with this story – MURDER BY ESTATE AGENT – when I had to stop in order to copy-edit and then proof-read FALSE FACE. Faced with a story I’d written so many months before, at first I couldn’t remember who was who, or what I’d meant by saying this or that. Finally, the proofs were agreed and I was at long last able to return to Ellie . . . only to find I’d completely lost the plot there, too. What was the name of the person who morphed from helpful assistant to minor villain? I remembered that lovely Susan was pregnant again, but I couldn’t recall how far along she was or what season of the year we were in. I had to go back and read the story from the very beginning in order to pick up the different threads.

The next short story . . .

Came out in the Methodist Recorder on the 27th August, and is called ‘It Wasn’t My Fault.’ In order to get a job, a man lies, saying that he’s been vaccinated and has no Covid symptoms. He passes the virus on to his team at work, with tragic results. So how far is he responsible for what happened? Legally he’s in the clear, or is he?

The short story that comes with this letter is ‘Not everyone is happy at Christmas.’ Playing ‘Happy Families’ can put a strain on rebellious teenagers. Bruce and Sally try to pick up the pieces when a much-loved grandchild goes astray. You can access it here.

Parsley’s Pose

Today Parsley has found himself under the butterfly tree (click here to view the photo), surrounded by Honesty. All right! I do know the botanical names, but ‘butterfly tree’ is what my father always called the Buddleia. and I’m very fond of Lunaria because it is an all-the-year-round plant with brilliant flowers in the spring, and silver ‘pennies’ for autumn and winter.

A blessing on those who delight the passers-by with flowers in their front gardens.

Veronica Heley