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Dear Reader

Dear Reader #39

Dear Reader,

Another excellent week for Ann in my personal sales top ten.

Published this week, the March issue of Mom’s Favorite Reads!

I’m delighted to be a member of the editorial team. In this issue you will find a number of my articles and interviews plus great contributions from a range of talented writers.

In this issue…

Our authors gaze into their crystal balls and predict the future.

Articles on mental health, physical health, women of courage plus everything you need to know about March.

The story of StreetVet, vets who help the pets of homeless people

Interviews, puzzles, poems, humour, travel, young writers and so much more!

This week, I made a start on Roots, The Olive Tree, A Spanish Civil War Saga. This mini series offers fresh and interesting challenges for me because the stories are not mysteries. That said, I’ve never regarded myself as a mystery writer in the Agatha Christie tradition.

Although these stories are set in 1937-8 the characters are familiar to me mainly because of their backgrounds.

As I branch out with The Olive Tree and Eve’s War the more I’m drawn to Sam. By exploring various formats and genres I believe it will strengthen my writing of the Sam Smith Mystery Series.

https://books2read.com/u/mgZ1dq

My latest translation, the German version of Saving Grace. Sandra has agreed to translate my forthcoming Eve’s War series. She’s a wonderful translator so I’m looking forward to that project.

While reading Pearl Witherington’s SOE file, I discovered an amazing coincidence. As secretary ‘Genevieve Touzalin‘, Pearl’s false papers and cover story stated that she lived on Rue Paradis, Marseille. Yesterday, I wrote a chapter of Operation Zigzag set on Rue Paradis 🙂

In Operation Zigzag, Eve’s husband, Michel, drives a Talbot Lago T150 SS Teardrop Coupe, like this one, along Rue Paradis.

My updated store, which features Snow in August, my latest Sam Smith mystery for only £2.99 a saving of 66% off the recommended retail price 🙂

https://hannah-howe.com/mystore/

I completed the writing of Operation Zigzag today. The editing and proofreading will follow. Next week I will develop the storyboard for Operation Locksmith. This story introduces Guy Samson and Mimi Duchamp to the series. The interplay between Eve, Guy and Mimi will be central to this series so I’m looking forward to writing this story.

Operation Zigzag is receiving excellent pre-order support from Canada, so many thanks to my Canadian readers.

https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/operation-zigzag/9781999370992-item.html

The SOE had a team of boffins who designed everything from pen guns, to exploding cow pats to clothes in the latest French fashions. One of the tricks they employed was ageing, for clothing, briefcases and money. To age money the women in the Cover and Documentations department used to wear freshly minted banknotes in their brassieres to soften the notes.

Women of Courage Heroines of SOE

Yvonne Fontaine was born on 8 August 1913. From Troyes, Yvonne witnessed Allied bombing raids and her initial contact with the French Resistance came about through helping Allied airmen, shot down over France, to escape to Spain.

Saint-Girons, France to Esterri d’Aneu, Spain, the Freedom Trail

For the SOE, Yvonne began work for the Tinker network as a courier with organiser Ben Cowburn. When the Gestapo closed in on the network, the SOE recalled Yvonne to Britain on 15 November 1943. At this stage Yvonne was not officially recognised as an SOE agent. Indeed, some sources still do not recognise her, which is a shame given her level of bravery and commitment.

In Britain, Yvonne underwent SOE training. She returned to France by boat landing on the North Breton coast on 25 March 1944 to continue her work as a courier, travelling throughout France, carrying messages and sabotage materials.

Yvonne’s network enjoyed numerous successes, which included destroying railway tracks and engines, sabotaging canals by lowering the water levels and dusting itching powder on to the shirts and singlets of German submarine crews.

When the Nazis arrested the leaders of Yvonne’s network, she stepped up and continued their work helping to organise the Resistance in the lead up to D-Day. In the euphoria post D-Day, she collected information and materials, and collated reports before returning to Britain on 16 September 1944, her mission successful.

After the war, Yvonne settled into married life. She died on 9 May 1996.

As ever, thank you for your interest and support.

Hannah xxx

Categories
Dear Reader

Dear Reader #30

Dear Reader,

I’m delighted to be a member of the talented team involved in Mom’s Favorite Reads.

And to start the new year in style, here’s our January 2020 issue featuring an exclusive interview with Melinda Mullins, star of Remember WENN, M*A*S*H and the Shakespearean stage, a Romance Roundtable, Anna Grace discusses mental health, young writers and so much more.

The new year promises to be my busiest yet with six books scheduled: two Sam Smith novels, Snow in August and Looking For Rosanna Mee; Roots and Branches, the first two novellas in The Olive Tree, A Spanish Civil War Saga; plus Operation Zigzag and Operation Locksmith, the first two novellas in my Eve’s War series about the Special Operations Executive and the French Resistance.

Yesterday, I wrote the first draft of chapters one and two of The Olive Tree: Roots. The stories in this series will be told from two viewpoints: a nurse, Heini Hopkins, and a socialite author, Naomi Parker. Heini rides a bicycle while Naomi drives this SS Jaguar 100, pictured outside the SS Cars building in 1937.

The ‘100’ was the car’s top speed while this image represents the first recorded use of the Jaguar ‘leaper’ mascot.

In Roots, book one of The Olive Tree, my nurse Heini Hopkins is at home tending her sick mother. This item is from my domestic research into the period. I remember using carpet cleaners like these when I visited my grandparents’ house.

A mangle, another item from my domestic research into the 1930s. My nurse, Heini Hopkins, would certainly be familiar with this item, and I can remember seeing similar models when I visited my grandparents’ house.

In The Olive Tree, Heini Hopkins is a nurse specialising in tuberculosis. As the story opens she is tending Mari, her sick mother.

For centuries, tuberculosis was considered ‘the romantic disease’ because it ‘assisted artistic talent’. People believed that the fever and toxaemia associated with tuberculosis helped artists to see life more clearly and that this clarity of mind liberated their creative muse.

You can read my full article here https://hannah-howe.com/the-olive-tree/tuberculosis/

Local views this morning, at Sger.

As ever, thank you for your interest and support.

Hannah xxx

Categories
Mini Mystery

Mini Mystery #4

The First Getaway Car

On 21st December 1911, a French anarchist gang made history by using the first getaway car. The car, a 1910 Delaunay-Belleville luxury limousine (pictured), registration number 783-X-3, was stolen on 14th December 1911 by four members of the gang who changed the plate to 668-X-8.

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A week later they used the car to intercept a bank messenger en route to a bank in Paris. At 8.25 am the messenger arrived by tram carrying a satchel and briefcase. A gang member grabbed the satchel and briefcase, but the messenger would not let go. Shots were fired, wounding the messenger. With the satchel and briefcase in their hands, the gang jumped into their getaway car, executed a screeching  U-turn and sped away.

They left the car in Dieppe, which suggested to the police that they had fled across the channel. However, they were still in France. In hiding, they opened the satchel and discovered 5,126 francs while the briefcase contained 130,000 francs-worth of useless cheques and bonds. If only they had looked inside the messenger’s jacket where they would have discovered a wallet crammed with 20,000 francs.

 

 

Categories
Sam Smith Mystery Series Sam's Sunday Supplement

Sam’s Sunday Supplement #11

Welcome to Sam’s Sunday Supplement #11, a weekly digest of news from Sam’s world.

The Sam Smith Mystery Series is based in Cardiff. Here is a view of Cardiff Bay. At present, Sam is working from a houseboat. Her office houseboat is moored to the right of this picture, on the River Taff.

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I am researching background material for my 1944-5 mini-series. Although cars were rare in country areas during the Second World War, and petrol was rationed, my heroine, Ann Morgan, will have access to a vehicle because her husband is a flight lieutenant in the RAF seconded to M15, the security service. The Morgan’s car will be this stylish 1938 Jensen S-type. Anyone fancy a ride! 😃

1938Jensen3.5litre

Currently, I’m reading Above Suspicion and Assignment in Brittany, the first two novels written by espionage novelist Helen MacInnes, pictured. These novels about the Second World War were written during the war, so they carry the stamp of authenticity. Furthermore, Helen MacInnes was married to Gilbert Highet who served in MI6 as a British intelligence agent. It is believed that Highet provided espionage details for many of MacInnes’ books.

An all-male cast, filmed in one room, no special effects…focus groups would never allow this film to be made today, yet it is spellbinding. Twelve Angry Men and Dog Day Afternoon (see below) were directed by Sidney Lumet. The films receive a mention in my book, Mind Games, which incidentally is on course to break the record for pre-orders in the Sam Smith Mystery Series.

Poster-12-Angry-Men_01

Three posters from Dog Day Afternoon, one of my favourite films, and a film that has influenced my writing. There is a realistic feel to this movie enhanced by the natural interaction between the characters, the lighting and the ad-libbed lines, including the classic Wyoming line. Al Pacino is outstanding, and that can be said for all of the cast. Cinema doesn’t get any better than this.

An interesting insight into the creation of a detective series.

If you would like to follow Ann’s War, my Second World War mini series, on Facebook please follow this link Ann’s War

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