Newsletter no 202, August, 2023 – holiday issue

My 90th birthday celebrations are over – yes, they are great and thank you for all your good wishes! – and suddenly it’s August, which sounds verry much like autumn and holidays to me. I’m going to take a few days off from my desk, knowing that I shall get withdrawal symptoms.

It’s a good thing – I tell myself – to stop work for a bit now and then. After all, I can still mull over the final couple of chapters in my head. Maybe I’ll even get an idea for another story.             I let my thoughts drift here and there . . . and something irrelevant comes shooting up from nowhere, and Bingo! An idea begins to form.

I understand that ‘False Name,’ the recently published Bea Abbot book, is providing some enjoyment for holiday reading. This is the one in which Bea stumbles across a rough sleeper who is actually nothing of the kind and who has no idea why he’s been beaten up and left for dead. Disentangling the mystery draws Bea into danger. Too.

I’m now deep in the follow-up to this story, ‘False Witness,’ which won’t be published till next summer. It’s been interesting to take Bea away from the city and throw her into a countryside where jobs are limited and family feuds can still divide public opinion. Yes, yes. I do know that can happen in a town, too. But these family feuds do help the story along nicely.

We’ve been hearing a lot about heat waves in Southern Europe, but here in the UK we’ve been having rain, interspersed with showers, accompanied by thunder, interrupted by strong winds and then – just to whet our appetites – a few hours of sunshine before the next lot of clouds come between us and the sun.

However, my garden has, on the whole, enjoyed the rain, and I must admit I’ve never had sweet peas like it. Every couple of days I pick a small bunch and put them on the mantelpiece. As you will have noticed from today’s picture, a vase of these flowers were placed rather too near Awol and I did wonder if he’d try to upset it. What a problem he is! See the latest portrait of the Owlets here.

As for the rest; the next short story for the Methodist Recorder will be out this weekend. ‘Rachel has a Garden’ is about an older lady who chats to passersby and gives away flowers, until she upsets a neighbour with nasty results. For your short story this month I’m including another tale about Max, the undersized black cat who makes up for lack of inches by luck and perseverance. You can read ‘Hide and Seek’ here.

Advance notice: Joffe Books is bringing out the first of the Ellie Quicke mysteries, starting on September 30th. As they say in the adverts; Watch This Space.

A blessing on those who can make us see the funny side of things in life.  

Veronica Heley