I am delighted to reveal the fabulous cover for my next novel, the sequel to the family saga, Unspoken. I’d like to thank the wonderful Jane Dixon Smith, http://www.janedixonsmith.co.uk/ for the stunning artwork. I am truly delighted with it.
The Legacy, is still a work in progress, but I hope to release the book in late March early April, hopefully on the Authors Reach platform.
The novel continues the story of Jessica Griffiths and her ongoing relationship and family problems.
The parish church of St john the Evangelist sits proudly at the centre of the Kentish town of Spinton. Constructed in the twelfth century, the blue-grey church, built from local Ragstone, boasts a Norman tower that has stood unaltered for centuries, surviving minor earthquakes, violent storms, civil war and mining. Then, in the eighteen-fifties, a Victorian Alderman, aptly named, Mason Meddle, raised the funds to add a clock, a spire and a low, red brick, extension, (thankfully hidden from view behind the main structure,) that was used for Sunday School, Temperance Society gatherings and until the Town Hall was built some seventy years later, Parish Council meetings.
The surrounding graveyard is split by two paths. The first, the main walkway to the church, is a ragstone-paved avenue that leads from the church’s main gates directly to the vestibule. The second, a winding path made mostly from broken slate and gravel, is accessed from the Lychgate, a timber built, gabled, structure that has been the dead parishioner’s gateway to the afterlife for centuries.
The Lychgate, or corpse gate, was used to shelter the body of the deceased until the funeral service could take place. In years gone by, the corpse could rest there for up to two days, accompanied by friends or relatives who would sit on the hard plank seats built into the structure, sometimes as an act of vigil, but often, as a presence to ward off, the body snatchers that preyed on the poor of the district.
The early morning mist, that crawled across the land from the Kent coast, lay across the tombstones like a thin grey cloak, as a pale, almost water-colour, March sun began to rise from behind the church tower.
In the town, men slept off the excesses of their Saturday night drinking while their wives bathed a new black eye or cut lip before starting to prepare breakfast for the family. Children would be scrubbed and dressed in their Sunday best clothes before being packed off to be lectured about their heathen ways at Sunday School. Although most of the adults shunned the church, having far more important things to do on a Sunday morning, it was thought that the weekly disciplined, routine was good for the children, though there was the added benefit of getting them out of their hair for an hour.
At nine thirty, Mrs Rosegarden climbed off her bicycle and wheeled it across the pavement to the church gates. Finding them still locked, she frowned, looked at her wristwatch, then checked the time again by the church clock.
‘Villiers,’ she snorted into the misty air. The aging, but surprisingly sprightly woman, turned her bike around and rode across the pavement to the west side of the church where the lychgate entrance was situated.
The brittle haired, bespectacled Sunday School teacher was a woman to be feared, even by the toughest of the ragamuffins that attended her scripture lessons. Quick to anger and swift to punish, she patrolled the room like a prison guard. Armed with a bible in one hand and a leather strap in the other, she stalked the three, wooden benches, quoting from both testaments, threatening dire consequences, both in the present and in the afterlife for anyone who closed their ears to the word of God.
‘Drunk again, Villiers,’ she hissed as she dismounted by the Lychgate. She leaned her bike against the high, stone wall, and lifted the catch that secured the rough, wooden pole gates. Pulling them open, she looked through the gabled, porch-like structure into the mist covered tombstones beyond. She retrieved her bicycle and wheeled it over the ragstone paving towards the gravel path that led to the church.
As she strode under the roof of the Lychgate she glanced to her right-hand side where the figure of a grey haired, bespectacled man was slumped on the vigil seat. His right hand clutched the neck of an almost full wine bottle. His eyes were closed and his neck was twisted at what must have been a very uncomfortable angle. His lips were open and his teeth bared in a skeleton-like smile.
‘Reverend Villers!’ Mrs Rosegarden exclaimed. She leaned her bike against the vigil seat on the opposite side of the Lychgate, then reached out and grabbed the vicar by the shoulder. When he didn’t respond she shook him. When that failed to rouse him, she squatted down, grabbed the lapels of his grey jacket and shook him again.
As the vicar’s head slumped forward, the Sunday School teacher stood and turned in one movement. Forgetting her bicycle, she hurtled into the main road shouting at the top of her voice.
I am delighted to announce that my new, cosy crime novel, Murder at the Mill is released today on the KDP platform. The paperback version will follow shortly and the audiobook, sometime in the New Year.
The book features a few of the characters from my last novel, Unspoken and is set in the English county of Kent in 1939. Amy, a machinist at The Mill, a clothing factory, is drawn into a murder investigation when she meets Detective Sergeant Bodkin on her way to work one morning.
I’d like to thank two wonderfully talented ladies who have helped me produce the novel.
Maureen Vincent-Northam, my fab editor and Jane Dixon-Smith my brilliantly creative cover designer. You can find her here should you need a beautifully designed cover for you own book. www.jdsmith-design.com
Cosy Crime is a new genre for me but I hope Murder at the Mill will be the first in a series of Amy Rowlings mystery books. For those waiting for a sequel to Unspoken, I hope this book will keep you going until Unspoken 2 arrives in 2021.
The Cover for my upcoming novel, Murder at the Mill is revealed today. Once again, it has been designed by the fabulous Jane Dixon Smith. http://www.jdsmith-design.com/
To say that I’m blown away by it is an understatement. Murder at the Mill is my first cosy crime novel and is a spin off book using one of the minor characters from my Family Saga, Dual Timeline, novel, Unspoken and will be published in early December in both Kindle and Paperback formats.
Murder at the Mill. A Gripping New Cosy Crime Series with a light hearted touch.
January 1939 and the residents of the snow-covered streets of a small Kentish town awake to horrific news.
When young Amy Rowlings meets Detective Sergeant Bodkin at the scene of a burglary on the way to work at The Mill one snowy January morning, she is blissfully unaware of how much her life is about to change.
She is drawn into the murky world of murder when the body of Edward Handsley is found lying on the floor of the clothing factory.
Edward, the son of factory owner George is a libertine, philanderer, and a young man with a lot of enemies, many of them female.
Twenty-one-year-old Amy is a vivacious, quick-witted collector of imported American music, a movie buff and an avid reader of crime fiction. A girl who can spot whodunnit long before the film star detective gets an inkling.
Bodkin is new to the area and accepts Amy’s offer to provide local knowledge but she soon becomes an invaluable source of information.
When Adam Smethwick is arrested for the murder, Amy, a family friend, is convinced of his innocence and sets out to prove that the detective has arrested the wrong man.
Amy befriends Justine, the young French fiancé of the elderly George, and soon discovers that it was not all sweetness and light in the Handsley family home. Meanwhile, back at the factory, Amy is sure that the foreman, Mr Pilling, has something to hide.
As the investigation proceeds, Amy finds that her burgeoning relationship with Bodkin is pushed to the limits as the detective becomes even more convinced that he has arrested the right man and while Bodkin relies heavily on the facts as they are presented, Amy has a more nuanced approach to solving the crime, born out of her beloved Agatha Christie books and the crimes she has witnessed in the movies.
I’m sorry if this email reads as though I’m writing too fast but I’ve just drunk three Espressos on the trot and I’m feeling a bit manic.
Gran had a double shot herself, which was a mistake really as she’s hyper enough without stimulants. She calls them Expressos although she knows perfectly well what they are really are. She does it just to annoy Dad who always bites, and shouts, ‘IT’S ESPRESSO YOU STUPID BINT!’ Gran, knowing she’s wound him up again, just sits and sniggers to herself for a full minute before letting out a quiet, self-satisfied, ‘aaaah.’
I’ll tell you what, Emma, this Lockdown Two is going to be a nightmare. Can you imagine living with this pair for a month with no way of escape? I thought Lockdown One was bad enough but the sequel is far worse and we’re only two days in. If it was a film, they would sack the director and the actors would never work again. And I’ll tell you what. If I hear that phrase, déjà vu, all over again once more, I’ll probably hit someone, over and over and over, again. Why do people laugh when someone says it on the TV? You know me, Em, I’m not thick, am I? and I get jokes… mostly… some of the time, but I just don’t get that one at all. I know you’ve explained t to me a few times already, but I think you’re going to have to explain it to me all over again, one more time.
I hope the TV is going to be better than they have been recently. All those virtual shows did my head in. It’s really not the same without a live audience. They’re doing I’m a Celebrity in Wales. Wales for Christ’s sake! Where are they going to find a Witchetty grub in Swansea? Continue reading
How’s everything now? Have you got over the shock yet? I’m so pleased that lump you found was just a shell of pasta that had had fallen into your bra and got stuck. Something similar happened to me, but that was a meatball and the bloke who discovered it, also ate it, the dirty sod.
Dad and Gran have been watching the all-day news channels as the US elections take place.
From what I can make out, the Americans have a choice between a Trump and a Bidet. Dad says it doesn’t matter who wins because they’re both raving, right wing Tories, the only difference being Trump is orange. Gran said that that Bidet would be a lame duck president anyway and that Trump could grab her pussy any time he likes.
Dad nearly choked on his chunky oven chip. Gran was so delighted with Dad’s reaction that she stood up and rubbed at her nether regions, hoping that Dad would choke again.
Gran reckoned that Bidet’s team have to put batteries in his back to get him to shuffle across the stage. Dad said he’s definitely had a face lift, but why shouldn’t men have them if women can?
Gran said Dad could do with a hard face lift and he’d look much better with his navel in the middle of his forehead. Dad called Gran an evil old hag and he wished he’d been about when she was young, because he’d have reported her to the Witchfinder General and had her burned at the stake.
To stop the row degenerating into a personal insult rematch, I butted in and asked them who they would have picked to be president.
Dad said he’d vote for someone called Bernie, because he was young at heart and had new, progressive ideas. Gran said that Bernie was just another geriatric who was even older than Bidet and if he was young at heart it was because he’d had his ancient one replaced with a new one, the last time he went in for his monkey gland injections.
Dad said he wishes Jeremy Cor-binned could stand for president as he’d curb NATO’s power and give some of the US nuclear weapons to the Russians because they can’t afford to make their own any more. Mum got confused at that and wondered why shutting down a fast-food restaurant would make any difference. I had to explain to her that she was thinking of Nando’s.
Gran said that Biden wasn’t safe and that when he thought he was pressing the button for the nurse to wipe his dribble he’d actually be firing off the nukes to start WW3.
Joe Bidet suddenly made an appearance on the screen, shuffling across a car park from the open door of a funeral parlour, where he waffled on about a family holiday, back in 1947 before bursting into a Judy Garland song. There wasn’t an audience, only a few newsmen, all masked up like Hannibal Lector and standing about fifty feet away. Gran said there was a reason Bidet’s backroom staff didn’t let him get too close to the cameras because if they did, voters would notice that he’d been embalmed. Gran said that they have to wrap him up in his mummy bandages at night to stop bits of him falling off.
Dad laughed and said that Gran was older than any of them and he couldn’t wait for her to pop off the mortal coil so he could have her embalmed. He said he’d be doing her a favour having her stuffed, as it would be the first stuffing, she’d had in fifty years.
Gran took the high ground and climbed unsteadily onto her chair to tip the teapot over Dad’s head. I had to run around the table before her knees gave way.
When she was back in her chair, Gran began to wax lyrical about Trump. She said if she had gone over to live in the States after the war, she could have snapped him up long before that Barbie Doll, Botox-ridden, false-titted, foreign bint, Melodrama, got hold of him.
Gran closed her eyes and said she’d been having vivid sexual fantasies about what her and Donald got up to in the sack. She said that in her dreams, she covers him hot orange sauce and licks it off.
Dad nearly threw up at that.
I got confused again then. I didn’t get all the talk about ducks, there was Donald, The Duck in Orange Sauce and the Lame Duck president. I decided to duck out of the rest of the argument and went to the Dog and Duck for a beer before they close it down at ten.
I’ll mail again later Em, I need to work out whether I can put you in my bubble and what happens if the bubble bursts. Will I get a ten grand fine? Bloody Covid, it’s so confusing.
‘If family saga’s and dual time novels are your thing, you’d be hard pushed to find a more enjoyable one than Unspoken. It’s got drama, love, intrigue, revenge and secrets – so basically everything you need for a captivating read and that’s exactly what I thought it was.’
It began with a trivial moment of carelessness, but the shockwaves that reverberate from this seemingly insignificant incident, spread far and wide.
Ed and his heavily pregnant wife Mary are on an errand for Ed’s ailing father before the pair depart for warmer climes. But the winter of 1962 comes early and one innocuous event and a hastily taken decision will have devastating consequences for the family of young Rose Gorton. Mary’s already fragile mental state is put under further stress while Ed tries to make sense of events that are spiralling massively, Out of Control.
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