Newsletter no 205, November 2023

Countdown to winter . . .

Has your garden been put to sleep for the winter? I do try to have something in flower all year round, but I have cut down the herbaceous plants and trimmed the roses. Bulbs have been planted, weeds extracted, and dried seed-heads collected for a vase indoors. The place looks tidy. For the time being, anyway. I’m hoping that this year I’ll get some hellebores to flower. My neighbour has so many she doesn’t know what to do with them, but mine have always failed miserably. Perhaps this year it will be different.

Work has rather taken over my life. I thought I could get ‘False Witness’ written, edited, fiddled around with, and ready to send off before the end of the month, but his time it’s been a real problem. Yes, I have made the plot a little more complicated than usual, and yes, there’s quite a lot of characters to contend with, but oh dear, it has meant working right up to the wire.

The storyline is a follow-on from ‘False Name’ which came out in July. I liked those characters a lot and my brain kept going on, taking them into different situations and seeing how they reacted. ‘False Name’ was about a young man who’d been adopted as a nameless toddler and made his own way in life till he found himself targeted by people who wanted him dead . . . and he hadn’t the slightest idea why. Bea Abbot helped him unmask the would-be murderers, and when the dust cleared, Julian found himself the heir to an almost bankrupt estate.

Next came ‘False Witness’ which is the story I’m delivering today. Julian took up the challenge of trying to rescue the fortunes of the run-down Stately Home and its commercial off-shoots, only to find himself the target of more hate, and accused of murdering a local woman. Now that storyline might have concluded there and then, but the characters won’t leave my head. So many interesting points occurred to me during the writing of ‘False Witness’ that I’m now wondering about a third story set in the same place. When I submit one book, I usually have another storyline ready to offer, so I’m now wondering what my editor will think . . . well, we’ll have to see.

It was half term last week and the Owlets didn’t go to school. But Awol has decided he’s going to have his half term this week instead, and is running away as fast as he can, with the others chasing him. Perhaps Hope can calm the family down. See them here.

The next short story from the archives is: ‘You can do it!’ See it here.

Joffe Books have been bringing out the Ellie Quicke stories at the rate of knots. On October 7th they brought out ‘Murder of Innocence,’ and on the l8th it was ‘Murder in the Garden.’ Then on November 12th, they’re bringing out ‘Murder by Committee.’

A blessing on those who can smile even on grey, rainy days.    

Veronica Heley