Tag Archives: Mysteries

Dear Reader #36

Dear Reader,

My personal top ten this week. Through kind gestures and loyal support many people contribute to my books. Thank you one and all.

The prologue for Operation Zigzag is now in place. This prologue establishes the background to my Eve’s War Heroines of SOE series. Recently, I said that I like to know the last line of a story before commencing writing. With a twelve book series it’s difficult to know the last line. However, while cleaning my teeth this morning the last line came to me. Now, I have the beginning and the end so all I need to do is add the thousands of words in the middle 🙂

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My latest translation, the Spanish version of Digging in the Dirt, published soon.

More exciting translation news. I’m delighted that Adriana has agreed to translate Victory in my Ann’s War series, into Portuguese, and that Sandra has agreed to translate Eve’s War into German.

Three authors who write quality books. Please visit their websites and discover their wonderful stories for yourself.

Folklore, fantasy and more from Ronesa Aveela http://www.bendideia.com/ and http://www.ronesaaveela.com/

International Mysteries from Rachael Wright http://www.authorrachaelwright.com/

Romantic Thrillers from Heather Ramsay https://www.heatherramsayauthor.com/

Operation Zigzag, book one in my Eve’s War Heroines of SOE Series is now a Hot 💯 new release in America, Australia, Britain and Canada. Many thanks to my readers for supporting my books.

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Pearl Witherington was a remarkable woman. Her life story serves as an inspiration for my Eve’s War Heroines of SOE Series. 

In 1943, Pearl underwent training to become a SOE agent. Her file reveals a page of signatures where she practiced her new identity as Genevieve Touzalin, a secretary in a match company. 

Once I’ve established my Eve’s War series I would like to write a biography of Pearl Witherington. In an age of heroes and heroines, she stood tall, beyond compare.

I’m reading the SOE Spy School manual published in 1943. In the chapter about disguise the manual offers the following advice for making your face look younger: “Apply hot towels, then apply alum all over the face. This tightens the skin considerably and when talcum is applied afterwards gives a fresh young appearance.”

Women of Courage Heroines of SOE

Phyllis ‘Pippa’ Latour was born on 8 April 1921. Her father,Philippe, a French doctor, married Louise, a British citizen living in South Africa. When Phyllis was three months old her father died. Three years later her mother married a racing driver who allowed his new wife to race his cars as well. Sadly, this resulted in an accident and her mother’s death.

In November 1941, Phyllis moved to Britain where she joined the WAAF, serving as a flight mechanic. Through the WAAF, Phyllis came to the SOE’s attention and they invited her to join their physical and mental training courses. Phyllis was motivated to join the SOE because the Nazis had shot her godmother’s father and her godmother had committed suicide while imprisoned. She joined on 1 November 1943 and was commissioned as an Honarary Section Officer.

On 1 May 1944, Phyllis parachuted into Orne, Normandy to operate with the Scientist II circuit, using the code name Genevieve. She worked as a wireless operator alongside Claude de Baissac and his sister, Lise.

A small woman, Phyllis was fluent in French. Often, she posed as a teenage girl whose family had moved to the region to escape the Allied bombing. As cover, she was an art student from Caen who sold soap from her bicycle and mingled with the German soldiers.

When Phyllis obtained military intelligence she encoded it for transmission using one-time codes that were hidden on a piece of silk tied around her hair. On one occasion, the German’s brought her in for questioning, but they failed to examine the silk in her hair. On another occasion she deterred would-be searchers by pretending that she had scarlet fever. 

After D-Day, Phyllis was held prisoner for five hours by the Allies because her looks did not match her official description, so adept had she become at disguise. Eventually, she was recognised by a guide and released. From her vantage point, she watched as the Allies marched through her village heading south on their mission to liberate France.

After the war, Phyllis married an engineer. Together, they had a family and lived in various countries, mainly in Australasia.

“Why do you think we are on this earth? To make people happy. But you can’t make everyone happy. So you decide to make one person happy; just one. That’s why you’ve been created, given intelligence and a set of emotions.” – Claude Arnault to fellow SOE agent Anne-Marie Walters, both pictured, during a conversation while hiding from the Gestapo.

As ever, thank you for your interest and support.

Hannah xxx

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 Muse #2

Welcome to The Muse, the latest news from bestselling author, Hannah Howe

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The opening chapter of The Devil and Ms Devlin finds Sam still working, against her will, from her office houseboat. However, when a Greek billionaire shows up wishing to hire Sam, does this mean a change of fortune?

The billionaire wants Sam to discover who is sending death threats to his lover, the superstar actress Dana Devlin, who after suffering emotional problems is making a comeback. However, the death threats are sent on postcards containing hearts, angels and flowers. What could this mean? Sam enters the glamorous world of movie making to uncover the truth, a truth clouded by murder, blackmail, fetishes and crooked business deals.

Meanwhile, Sam’s psychologist husband, Alan, encourages Dana to talk about her life, uncovering a closely guarded secret about her daughter and the root of her emotional problems.

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I’m researching a novel, which will be set in Bulgaria in 1944. My novel will be based on true events and the lives of two individuals, Ivan Danev, an eighteen year old resistance fighter imprisoned by the fascists, and Frank Thompson, a British officer who assisted the partisans. Along with biographies of Frank Thompson, Ivan Danev’s memoirs, Nest of Heroes, (pictured) will form the centrepiece of the story. The novel will also feature Ivan‘s sister, a young woman caught up in the conflict.

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Laura has started work on the French translation of Amour et Balles, Love and Bullets, book two in the Sam Smith Mystery Series. Our aim is to develop this series in French and explore the French book markets this year.

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A great start to the year for Tradimento, the Italian version of Betrayal, #2 on the Historical Fiction chart 🙂

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What a lovely review from a Canadian reader, for Sam’s Song 🙂

“Initially, I had a bit of trouble getting into the book, probably because the premise was not something I was familiar with, i.e. a rock star with a problem. Not a fan of rock music, or the lifestyle, it was the protagonist, Sam, that drew me in. Don’t you just love it when a book grows on you? Three-quarters of the way into the story I was routing for Sam and hoping she would make sound decisions. It takes a good writer to draw one into a story that is hard to put down, especially if it isn’t something you relate to.”

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Another wonderful review from Canada, for The Big Chill 🙂

“I love the Sam Smith series! She is feisty and funny and determined. Sam is shot in her office and as part of her recovery, she is not going to rest until she finds the person who did it. The list of potential suspects is unnervingly long. I couldn’t stop reading until I reached the last page, and now I’m a little sad it’s over. I highly recommend this series. They just keep getting better!”

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I’ve never been drawn to fame, fortune, glamour or celebrity. This book explains why. It tells the story of many beautiful, extremely rich and privileged people. The common thread is the sad and vacuous nature of their lives. When Gene Tierney suffered a mental breakdown and couldn’t remember her lines, the only person who tried to help her was a common maid. Gene Tierney had hired the maid to look after her daughter. Instead, she looked after the movie star. As Gene Tierney candidly admits, she had ‘everything’, a glamorous existence, while the maid had ‘nothing‘, except the happier life.

Mom’s Favorite Reads eMagazine December 2018

Earlier this year, in partnership with authors Ronesa Aveela and Denise McCabe, I created Mom’s Favorite Reads, one of the highlights of my publishing year.

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What is Mom’s Favorite Reads?

*It’s a community of book lovers

* A monthly magazine featuring some of the biggest names in the entertainment world alongside the best in modern publishing

*A book catalogue containing over 400 books, including many bestsellers and award-winners

*A website with dedicated author pages

*A reading group where readers can discover new authors

*A partner to major businessness including The Fussy Librarian and chess.com

* A fun way to promote books with items like our Advent Calendar and nominations to the Apple News Channel

* A community to support literacy amongst adults and children

This weekend, we published our December magazine. The magazine is available from all major retail platforms, including Amazon. You can also read the magazine, for free, here:

Featured items include:

* Acclaimed author Nicholas Rossis writing about encouraging children to read

* A young author, aged eleven, writing about his moving experiences

* Christmas in various parts of the world

* Coping with stress at Christmas

* Healthy eating at Christmas

* Ghost stories at Christmas

* Paddy, The Christmas Turkey, a fun festive tale

There is something in the magazine for everyone: short stories, articles, puzzles, recipes and more. Follow the link and have a read 🙂

 

Mini Mystery – The Wireless Murder

On 13 July 1910, Inspector Walter Dew of Scotland Yard called at 39 Hilldrop Crescent where, in the cellar, he found the remains of Cora Crippen. Married to Dr Hawley Harvey Crippen (pictured), a doctor of homeopathic medicines, Cora had been poisoned with hyoscine, the only time hyoscine has been used to commit murder.

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The Crippen’s marriage had been stormy. A would be music hall singer, Cora had indulged in a number of affairs, while Dr Crippen had taken up with his secretary, Ethel Le Neve, a woman twenty-one years his junior. Inspector Dew suspected Dr Crippen of murder, but he couldn’t locate the doctor.

Meanwhile, on the SS Montrose, a steamship bound for Canada, the ship’s captain, Henry Kendall, became suspicious of two passengers, John Philo Robinson and his sixteen year old ‘son’; rightly so, because Crippen had shaved off his moustache while Ethel had cut her hair short and donned boy’s clothing.

Captain Kendall informed Scotland Yard. In haste, Inspector Dew boarded the SS Laurentic and moments before Dr Crippen and Ethel could disappear into the vast continent of North America, he arrested Crippen, the first man to be captured by wireless telegraphy.

 

The First Great Train Robbery

On the night of 15th May 1855, three boxes of gold, valued at over one million pounds in today’s money, were placed aboard the guard’s van at London Bridge Station. However, when the boxes arrived in Paris, railway officials discovered that lead shot had replaced the gold. Who had carried out this audacious robbery? Investigator Mr Rees was put on the case.

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The trail led to Pentonville prison where Edward Agar, a professional criminal, was awaiting transportation to Australia for passing false cheques. In fact, he’d been set up by a fellow thief because of his affair with the thief’s mistress. Bitter about the set up, Agar confessed to the robbery, implicating his former mates and revealing that there was no honour amongst this gang of thieves.

Until Agar’s confession, the authorities had been clueless, the French blaming the English and the English blaming the French in comical fashion. However, love and lust are no laughing matter, as Agar later discovered when he succumbed to the charms of his erstwhile mistress.

In 1979, a film starring Sean Connery presented a highly fictionalised version of events where the master criminal escaped.

 

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.