Tag Archives: Detective Fiction

Recommended Reading #4

Spike, the Not So Nice Dinosaur by Denise McCabe

Spike the dinosaur had not always been so nice. In fact, not too long ago, Spike was a bit of a mean dinosaur. He didn’t like to share, didn’t understand honesty and didn’t know how to say he was sorry. He loved eating the other dinosaur’s sandwiches. But that was before Mike, the microraptor, showed him what kindness was and how he too could learn to get along and be the good dinosaur friend. Activities included.

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Pearseus Bundle: The Complete Pearseus Sci-fi/Fantasy Series by Nicholas C. Rossis
Ancient Greece—in space

Could you save the woman who killed your son?

Combining fantasy with science fiction, Pearseus is filled with passion, warfare, and betrayal. Described as “ancient Greece in space,” it gives readers who want a different kind of fantasy an exciting new series to devour.

Terrified of an ominous prophecy and spurred on by a shadowy advisor, a cruel ruler sends the young son of her favorite General to be executed. Soon, however, she must beg the grieving father to save the country from an invading army. Now, the General faces a stark choice between revenge and honoring his vows, unaware that his son’s fate and that of the entire planet are inextricably linked.

This bundle includes all books from the best-selling sci-fi fantasy series, voted as one of the 100 Indie books you should read before you die, plus bonus material.

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The Vinyl Detective by Andrew Cartmel

He is a record collector -a connoisseur of vinyl, hunting out rare and elusive LPs. His business card describes him as the “Vinyl Detective” and some people take this more literally than others. Like the beautiful, mysterious woman who wants to pay him a large sum of money to find a priceless lost recording on behalf of an extremely wealthy, yet shadowy, client. So begins a painful and dangerous odyssey in search of the rarest jazz record of them all…

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So, You Say I Can’t Vote! Frances Connelly: The working-class woman’s route to the vote by Sheena Macleod

Women were granted the legal right to vote in Parliamentary elections in the UK in 1918. This right, however, extended only to property-owning, renting or university educated women over the age of thirty.

Seven years before this, Frances Connelly, a working woman walked past suffragists protesting outside the polling station in Yeovil, England, to cast her vote in an election. Her vote, and others like it, helped to keep the question in people’s minds — If one woman can vote, why not all?

Frances Connelly’s name is now largely unknown or forgotten. Her story is told here within the context of other women who voted in England before 1918, the struggles and complexities of the times in which these people lived and the contributions made by working-class women to women’s suffrage.

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Crafting With Lacey by Lacey Lane

Want to create crafts but need ideas and a plan? Do you have ten thumbs? Let Lacey guide you to crafting success. Learn how to make candle holders, jewellery, childrens’ play things, storage solutions, decorations for your house and much more. Simple, beautiful, and practical crafts are just one click away.

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Recommended Reading #2

Recommended Reading, books that have captured my interest and authors I admire.

Sparky by Millie Slavidou

Sparky is a newly-hatched dragon with a problem: he can’t breathe fire. Not wanting to stand out from all the other dragons, he leaves the nest and sets off on an adventurous journey to solve his problem. Finally, he meets Nicky, who is determined to help him on his quest to find the secret of fire.

Will Sparky ever discover how to breathe fire?

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Promised Land by Robert B Parker

If you like my Sam Smith Mystery Series then you will enjoy Robert B Parker’s Spenser series. Promised Land is book four in the series and offers a good insight into all the main characters at their best.

Harvey Shepard’s wife has run away and private detective Spenser has been hired to find her. A seemingly easy mission, but there may be more to this case than meets the eye.

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The Unborn Hero of Dragon Village by Ronesa Aveela

The day fire and ice erupt from the sky, everything changes forever for twelve-year-old Theo. He discovers that dragons are real when Lamia, a three-headed monster, kidnaps his sister. A witch and a talking magpie help him open the portal to Dragon Village, a land he knows only from myth, a place filled with terrifying creatures. A young woodland nymph befriends him when he arrives. He must learn to trust his instincts as he searches for a way to defeat Lamia before the dragon sacrifices his sister. In his journey, he uncovers secrets that reveal that only he can save the mystical land.

In this book, you will discover some of the terrifying creatures from Bulgarian and Slavic mythology. Some you may know by other names: Samodivi are Veelas from Harry Potter fame, only here they’re shown as supernatural creatures of the forest.
Baba Yaga, Harpies, and other creatures find their way into these pages, as well as the dreaded Lamia.

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Tangwstyl by Mansel Jones

Tangwstyl is a story of love and murder, of loyalty and betrayal. Set in the medieval town of Kenfig in the year 1399, the story centres on a prophecy made by Merlin and the birth of a girl, named Tangwstyl. Based on historical fact, Tangwstyl tells the story of King Richard and a plot to assassinate him, of Owain Glyn Dwr and his struggle for personal and national justice, and of the medieval Church and its desire to suppress all forms of heresy. Tangwstyl also tells the story of the common men and women of Kenfig, ordinary people caught up in extraordinary events, events that would alter long held beliefs and reshape lives.

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https://www.amazon.co.uk/stores/page/AA1855BF-6029-4F24-968E-4BF861BE8BC7

The Curate Barley Mysteries by T E Hodden

Griffin Barley is a friendly local Vicar, the curate of an inner city church, in a troubled parish. His mentor wants him to find a wife, his sister wants him to find a life, and trouble just keeps finding him. These are the adventures of a sleuthing priest, who has no desire to keep finding mysteries.

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A Man Walks Into a Bar

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I was sipping a drink, researching my latest Sam Smith mystery when a man walked into the bar. He looked distressed. 

“Quick,” he said to the barman, “I need a glass of water.”

With a quizzical look on his face, the barman poured water into a glass. The man grabbed the glass, gulped the water then ran to the rest room.

Two minutes later, the man returned, still looking distressed. “Nope,” he said, “that didn’t work. I’ll have a Bacardi and lemon.”

The man sipped his Bacardi then chewed on the lemon. With a pained expression on his face, he ran to the rest room only to return two minutes later.

“Nope,” he said, “that didn’t work either. I need a radical solution.”

Then, to gasps from the clientele, the man produced a gun and handed the weapon to the barman. “Shoot me,” the man said.

“You must be crazy,” the barman said. “I’m not touching that gun.”

“You, lady,” the man said to me, “shoot me.”

Of course, by now I’d twigged what was happening so, nonchalantly, I placed the gun in my hand. I raised my arm, pointed the barrel at the man’s head and eased my finger against the trigger. Before I could squeeze the trigger, the man sighed and walked out of the bar.

“Phew,” the barman said. “What was that all about?”

“Didn’t you notice?” I asked, sliding the gun across the bar. “The man had hiccups.” 😀

 

The Detective’s Gambit

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I’m a chess addict and my Sam Smith mystery, Mind Games, is about a chess player. Chess and mysteries have a common thread, the solving of a puzzle. With that in mind, I decided to research the connection between private detectives and chess. 

August 1957 saw the television premiere of The Chess Player, series one, episode eight of the Richard Diamond Private Detective series. In this episode, the wife of a wealthy industrialist hires Richard Diamond to discover who is trying to murder her husband. The plot is standard for the genre. However, David Janssen’s portrayal of Richard Diamond is engaging and it foreshadows his starring role as Richard Kimble in the television series The Fugitive. In The Chess Player, Julian Tyler, the industrialist husband, mentions that he played Capablanca and that he introduced a new variation to the Ruy Lopez.

When not tangling with femme fatales or dodging bullets, Raymond Chandler’s private detective, Philip Marlowe, could often be found brooding over chess puzzles. Marlowe preferred puzzles to over the board games with real opponents, which served to highlight his mistrust of his opponents, and humanity as a whole. 

Chess served as a literary motif in Chandler’s novel, The High Window, while Marlowe himself confessed, “I like liquor and women and chess and a few other things.” Maybe Chandler, and Marlowe, had a love-hate relationship with chess because, in The Long Goodbye, Marlowe stated, “Chess is the most elaborate waste of human intelligence outside of an advertising agency.” Yet Marlowe constantly returned to chess, including in the novel and television movie, Poodle Springs, a story written by Robert B Parker, another great of private detective literature.

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There are other examples of chess and the private detective, although in truth they are not numerous. In my Sam Smith Mystery Series, Sam (Samantha) is a budding chess player, keen to learn about the game. Chess is the ideal game to use as a metaphor in detective fiction. Furthermore, knowledge of the game suggests a certain level of intelligence. To win through, both the chess player and the private detective know that they have to make the right moves, and that one slip could be fatal.

 

Research, Cover Reveals and Translations

Having stepped off the Amazon eBook promotional treadmill, I wondered if I’d want to climb back on. After a period of reflection, the answer is ‘no’. Been there, done that. Why go round in circles when there are so many paths to follow? Besides, I’ve achieved all I want to achieve with eBook sales. Time to move on.

Currently, I’m researching my latest Ann’s War story, Escape. This story is based on a true event, the mass escape of 76 German prisoners of war from Island Farm POW Camp 198. This plan shows the facilities at the camp, which included a concert hall, a coffee shop and a football pitch. You will also notice two escape tunnels indicated on the plan. More of them later.

Island Fam Map

This week, I published Boston, Sam Smith Mystery Series book fourteen. Meanwhile, here is the draft cover for The Devil and Ms Devlin, book fifteen in the series. The Devil and Ms Devlin with be published in the spring of 2019, and will be available for pre-order soon.

The Devil and Ms Devlin eBook Cover

To celebrate the fact that I published four books this week in four different languages – Bulgarian, Dutch, English and French – I have a new section on my website, Translations. You will also find books in Italian and Japanese in this section with many more to follow.

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Mini Mystery #6 Hard to Swallow

Adelaide de la Tremouille (pictured) was born on 19th December 1855. She married Edwin Bartlett, a wealthy London grocer, on 6th April 1875. For ten years the couple enjoyed a comfortable lifestyle. Then, in 1885, they met the Rev George Dyson. The Rev Dyson and Edwin enjoyed long conversations, particularly about marriage and relationships. During one of those conversations, Edwin revealed that if he should die, he would like the Rev Dyson to marry Adelaide. Sure enough, on 1st January 1886, Edwin did die, of chloroform ingestion.

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The police investigation revealed that, when alive, Edwin had allowed the Rev Dyson to kiss his wife. This led to suspicion and the arrest of Adelaide Bartlett for murder. The Rev Dyson who, on 28th December 1885, had bought four bottles of chloroform, was also arrested, but his case was dismissed.

At the trial, the jury wrestled with one question raised by the post mortem: how did the chloroform reach Edwin’s stomach without burning his throat or mouth? No one could supply an answer and although the medical experts found the verdict hard to swallow, the jury allowed Adelaide to walk from the court, a free woman.