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Here is an excerpt from my July newsletter. To read more please sign up in the box on the right of this page!
This month I have been working on two short stories: one involving Kate Summers and the other residents of East Trimley, from my Constable Country Mysteries series and the other a vintage murder mystery set in Norfolk in 1930. In the Constable Country Mysteries story, as yet untitled, I am afraid to say that the much hated auctioneer Brian Fisher meets an untimely end. No one has ever really forgiven him for his outrageous treatment of Anne Venables, you might remember he advised her that a sketch she owned was worthless, only to buy it himself for a song and then 'discover' it was by artist John Constable and worth a king's ransom! There are not too many tears being shed over his death, I am afraid, although there are plenty of suspects.
The vintage short story, Helena Beecham Investigates is the tentative title, was so much fun to write. I find I enjoy writing stories set in the 1930s immensely. It feels very natural to me and the words tend to flow smoothly. Helena and her friend Reggie Prendergast arrive at Carrick Lodge, the home of Major and Mrs Murray, old friends of Helena's family. Major and Mrs Murray are also host to a Mr Archer, an unpleasant character who bullies his wife and sons and who has stepped on a lot of toes to get what he wants. We should not be surprised to hear that Mr Archer is found dead one morning. The problem facing Helena is that there is a whole houseful of suspects!
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Image courtesy Flickr Commons. Ingenues arrive at Central. Sam Hood. State Library NSW
Thoughts from my June newsletter...
I have been reading a diverse selection of books this month including Michael Morpurgo's 'Song for Mrs Pettigrew' which intersperses fact and fiction and which I absolutely loved. I got the book out of the library but will be buying my own copy! Michael Morpurgo's book explores ideas of loss and belonging, a theme also prevalent in Kate Morton's novel, 'The Distant Hours'. A character in this book mentions the word Seledreorig, Anglo-Saxon for 'sadness for the lack of a hall', a sense of lack of belonging, lack of home. As someone who has moved around the world to live in different cities I can identify with this feeling.
'The Anglo-Saxons had a gift for sadness and longing... Seledreorig... sadness for the lack of a hall... there's no word like it in the English language, and yet there ought to be, don't you think?' To read more, subscribe to my monthly free newsletter in the bar on the right.
I have recently discovered a site that features images of many of John Constable's paintings. Anyone interested in seeing more of the work of this wonderful artist and especially the landscape of what came to be known as Constable Country – the inspiration for my Constable Country Mysteries series, should take a look here.
The wonderful actress and founder of the Born Free Foundation, Virginia McKenna, has written a lovely review of The Bellamy Bird! This is such a thrill for me as I absolutely see Virginia in the role of Violet, the beautiful matriarch of the Bellamy family. The other delightful connection is that The Bellamy Bird refers back to Arthur Ransome's classic book Swallows and Amazons. In the film version of the book, Virginia played the children's mother, Mrs Walker, and the character Titty was played by the lovely Sophie Neville, who has also been incredibly supportive of The Bellamy Bird. I feel very fortunate to have connected with both of these talented women. Sophie is also an environmentalist, raising funds and awareness for the Waterberg rhinos and community. Please take a moment to look at both projects which are so near to Virginia and Sophie's hearts. Sophie is about to undertake a challenging horseback safari to raise much needed funds so please consider supporting her! Two inspiring women!
Here is Virginia's quote:
A delightful, intriguing and action-packed children’s adventure story, filled with suspense, that all grown-ups will love too!’
and here is Sophie's:
Who wouldn't love to find they'd traveled back in time and were able to solve the mystery that changed family fortunes! If you've loved 'Swallows and Amazons', 'Just William' and Agatha Christie's Poirot stories, this book is for you. It's charming and would make a great present for young readers, I'd say from the age of about 9 to 90.
Tailor Made, the third book in the Constable Country Mysteries series is available to pre-order at Amazon, iBooks, Barnes and Noble and other outlets! The official book launch is Leap Year Day - aka Feb 29th 2016. Click here to visit the book's page on Amazon. Reviewers should contact me via my Facebook Page to request a review copy!
Kate Summers, owner of the Constable Country Tearooms in the picture-perfect village of East Trimley, is asked to help when Jamie's mother Maggie Williams is at the receiving end of some threatening behaviour. Is someone trying to force her to sell her farm? And what is this about a newly discovered Constable sketch? Detective Vicky Allard is soon on the scene, working with Kate to untangle a web of deception and lies.
At long last the Trilogy is available on Amazon! This is a revised and improved edition and readers of the first two books in the series: The Secret Formula and Doc Gutson's Revenge are encouraged to read again from the beginning! This finalist in the Sydney Writer's Word competition makes a great gift for any reader aged 7+. Right now the price for the ebook is $4.99 – a saving of over 70% on the price of buying the three books separately! Reviewers should contact me at infoATBellaStreetMysteriesDOTcom for a review copy. I hope you enjoy reading about Bella and Felix's adventures with the evil Doc Gutson!
'A ripper of a thriller for kids,' Irina Dunn, Australian Writers Network
'Best book I've ever read and I wish there were a ' Jolie Wilson, aged 12
Following in the footsteps of the Serial podcast which looked at the cold-case file of a murdered teenager in the US, the BBC's Radio 4 is examining the case of a murdered girl and is apparently getting lots of leads even after all this time – amazing. The Serial podcast has led to an appeal hearing for the man who has been serving a sentence for the death of the American teenager. Let's hope this new Radio 4 examination helps shed some light on what happened to Elsie Frost.
Brenda, a Goodreads Librarian, has posted a lovely review of Still Waters on Amazon and Goodreads – thank you Brenda!
I thoroughly enjoyed Still Waters by Aussie author Clare Havens, which is the second in the Constable Country Mysteries cosy series. The novel has a great plot with mystery woven through a story of family, hope and love; and entwined with greed, secrets and lies. I am really looking forward to the third in the series and have no hesitation in recommending Still Waters highly.
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