Something in the Water by Catherine Steadman | Blog Tour Extract | #SomethingintheWater

Published by Simon & Schuster
Available in ebook, hardback, audio & paperback (16 May 2019)
368 pages

About the Book

The perfect couple.

The perfect crime?

Erin is a documentary filmmaker on the brink of a professional breakthrough; Mark a handsome investment banker with a bright future. They seem to have it all. But do they?

On a dream honeymoon to the tropical island of Bora Bora, Mark takes Erin scuba diving. Everything is perfect. Until they find something in the water. Something that will change their lives forever.

Erin and Mark decide to keep their discovery a secret. No one else need know; they trust each other implicitly.

But someone else does know. And in situations like these, it is far better to trust no one, not even those closest to you …

EXTRACT

I have the feeling of being too near to something I don’t want to be near to. To something dangerous. I can’t quite see what it is yet but I feel it; it feels close. I feel the trapdoors in my mind creaking under the strain of what lies underneath. But then, of course, it could just be free money and everyone loves free money. Someone might have made a mistake, and if it doesn’t hurt anyone . . . then we could keep it. Free money for us. And it’s not like we don’t need it.

It only takes us fifty minutes to reach the spot today—something to do with tidal stream and drift, Mark says; I’m not really listening. When we arrive there’s nothing left of the paper circle. Nothing to say anything was ever here. Nothing but water for miles. If Mark

hadn’t written down the coordinates on Saturday, we’d never have found this place again.

Ever since Mark suggested the idea of diving to look for a wreck, I’ve had a dreadful feeling lurking just below my thoughts. I really don’t want to find a boat. I really, really don’t. But more than that. The thought that I’m pushing down hardest is that we’ll find something else. That it won’t be sharks hanging heavy in the water this time, it’ll be something different. Something worse.

He can feel my tension. We rig up in silence, Mark throwing me

reassuring glances.

He thinks it’ll be about forty meters deep here. Contextually speaking, that’s two meters higher than the statue of “Christ the Redeemer” in Rio. I can only really go to twenty and he knows it. But the visibility out here is damn near perfect, so we should be able to see right down to the bottom without moving a muscle, or at least without having to go all the way down.

Before we slip into the water, Mark warns me again about the sharks. It doesn’t seem that relevant today. I stare off into the cloudless sky, letting his words wash over me. I breathe. Trying to let his voice calm me. We’re both nervous. And it’s not about sharks.

I notice I’m shaking as we do our buddy check in the water. He grasps my hand and holds it tight against his chest for a second. My heart rate slows. The waves are big and rolling us high today. There’s a strong breeze but Mark promises it’ll be placid once we’re underwater. As we finish up he takes my arm.

“Erin, you don’t have to do this, you know. I can go down alone. You can stay on the boat and I’ll be back in about fifteen minutes. That’s all it’ll take, honey.” He pushes a wet strand of hair behind my ear.

“No, it’s okay. I’m fine.” I smile. “I can do this. And if I don’t see for myself, I’ll be imagining worse anyway,” I say, my voice distant, slightly off-key again.

He nods. He knows me too well to disagree. I’m coming.

He slides on his mask, signals descend, and slips beneath the surface. I place my mask on slowly, securely, letting it suck hard against my cheeks. I can’t afford any mishaps today. I take my last breath of sweet fresh air and follow him under.

It’s clearer down here than it was the last time. Crystal-clear blue. High-definition

blue. Mark is waiting for me just below the surface, picked out in nature-program resolution, a living thing suspended in an ocean of nothing. He gestures to descend. And we let out our

buoyance.

Our descent is steady. I look up at the huge waves crashing above us; it’s so eerily still down here. Seen from underneath, the cresting waves appear forged from metal as they glint in the sun. Huge sheets of burnished aluminum.

Everything is fine. Everything is fine up until we hit ten meters.

Mark jerkily stops and signals for me to hold position. I freeze.

Something’s wrong.

Blood suddenly bursts through my veins at a rate of knots, pumping faster than ever around my body. Why are we stopping?

Is there something in the water? I’m careful not to move, but my eyes search in every direction for what it could be. I can’t see it. Should we get back up to the boat? Or is it fine?

Mark signals It’s okay back to me.

Okay? Then what? Why hold?

He signals it to me again: hold. Then he signals be calm. Be calm is never a good sign.

Then he signals look down.

Oh God.


My thanks to Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for the tour invitation.

About the Author

Catherine Steadman is an actress and writer based in North London. She has appeared in leading roles on British television as well as on stage in the West End, most recently in Agatha Christie’s Witness for the Prosecution in 2018. In 2016 she was nominated for Laurence Olivier Award for her performance in Oppenheimer. She is best known for her role as Mabel Lane Fox in Downton Abbey. She grew up in the New Forest and lives with a small dog and average sized man. Something in the Water is her first novel and her second is due for release in early 2020.

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Death and the Harlot: (A Lizzie Hardwicke Novel) by Georgina Clarke | Blog Tour Extract | #historicalmystery


Published by Canelo
Available in ebook and audio (13 May 2019)
296 pages
Genre: Historical Mystery

About the Book

‘It’s strange, the way fortune deals her hand.’

The year is 1759 and London is shrouded in a cloak of fear. With the constables at the mercy of highwaymen, it’s a perilous time to work the already dangerous streets of Soho. Lizzie Hardwicke makes her living as a prostitute, somewhat protected from the fray as one of Mrs Farley’s girls. But then one of her wealthy customers is found brutally murdered… and Lizzie was the last person to see him alive.

Constable William Davenport has no hard evidence against Lizzie but his presence and questions make life increasingly difficult. Desperate to be rid of him and prove her innocence Lizzie turns amateur detective, determined to find the true killer, whatever the cost.

Yet as the body count rises Lizzie realises that, just like her, everyone has a secret they will do almost anything to keep buried…

My thanks to Ellie of Canelo for the tour invitation and for providing the extract. I really wished I had been able to fit in a read of this as it looks just my type of book but I have bought a Kindle copy to read/review when I can.

EXTRACT

Chapter Four

Sydney opened the door with an air so unruffled that it gave me no clue as to the level of noise and chaos I was about to find. This was his job: to present a dignified welcome to our guests.

I winked at him.

‘How bad is it? I stayed away as long as I dared.’

His face remained impassive for a moment before he frowned, raised a long finger and wagged it at me.

‘Miss Lizzie, where ‘av you been? Mrs Farlee, she ‘as been looking for you, bad girl!’

That was not a good sign. Sydney’s accent becomes more French the more agitated he is.

‘I was caught up in something at the Bardwell’s.’

‘Vite,’ he said, flapping his hands at me. ‘Get upstairs now. Mrs Farlee is in the parlour giving the wishes to the maids.’ He looked at me with a disappointed expression. ‘She will not be pleased to see you dressed as this.’

Sydney wasn’t pleased either. He, always immaculate, preferred us to leave the house in our Sunday best. He would never have understood how hunger had outweighed my desire to be beautiful. Even now I was captivated by the delicious smells that were wafting from the kitchen.

I scurried up to my room and found a gown laid on the bed. The pale blue with silver thread embroidery would show my blue eyes to good advantage and there was a velvet mask in a similar shade. I would be elegant and mysterious; at least for a few minutes.

I heard the sound of feet shuffling heavily on the landing outside my door and smiled. There was a gentle tap and Meg, one of our servants, peeped in.

‘Would you like a hand with your dressing yet, miss?’

‘Thank you. I would.’ I am happy to dress myself, but Ma expected perfection – and I really cannot be trusted to manage that alone.

Meg was a slight creature, a cripple with deformed legs who hauled herself up and down our stairs and shared our lives, but not our trade. She was a hard-working girl, with a keen eye for fashion. Had it not been for her deformity she would have been an elegant lady of the town. Had it not been for Mrs Farley, she would be selling her twisted body for a shilling on the streets. At some point in her life, and with a wisdom beyond her years, she had decided that being a servant in a comfortable bawdy house was preferable to the alternative; at least here she was warm, fed, unbothered by men and surrounded by silks and lace – even if others wore the pretty clothes.

She was also a gossip, and a gossip with opinions. While she helped me into petticoats and gown and combed and fixed my curls into a high dome, she gave her own account of the afternoon’s events. Lucy had been sent the wrong hairdresser and taken an hour to calm down – which was hardly news. Of greater interest was the arrival of Amelia’s love, Tommy.

‘He turned up at the house and was banging on the door. Sydney wouldn’t let him in and he caused a real commotion.’

‘Her young man? He came here? Is he handsome?’

Meg, world-weary at fifteen, laughed.

‘You can judge for yourself. In the end, he was making such a nuisance in the street that Ma let him in. Sydney was furious.’ She gestured towards the attic. ‘He’s still here.’

‘What? On a party night?’ Ma really had gone soft in her old age.

She pressed a small beauty spot to my cheek.

‘Miss Blackwood’s been told to stay in the attic and keep out of the way. And the boy, Tommy Bridgewater, is to leave before the guests arrive.’ Naturally. Ma would be very keen to keep her little lamb as white as possible, even if she wasn’t entirely pure.    

The fussing was near enough complete to Meg’s satisfaction, and I was ready to entertain our guests. It had taken a while, but eventually, Lizzie the eater of London’s pies and frequenter of its taverns became Miss Lizzie Hardwicke of Mrs Farley’s Berwick Street establishment, resplendent in her finery and ready for the evening’s sport. The thought of good food, plenty of wine and the delightful Charles Stanford was raising my enthusiasm for the evening ahead. This was my career now; and even if much of it was disagreeable, there were sometimes compensations.  

Still, I wanted to catch a glimpse of Amelia’s Tommy.

‘I haven’t quite finished your hair! There’s no powder in it.’ Too late. I was out of my room and skipping down the stairs to our little parlour – peeping into the best salon to catch a glimpse of the glorious table beginning to be set with treats by servants hired especially for the evening. The room was full of candles. I could already see the dishes of biscuits and pickles and plates of oysters, and space for so much more.

I found Amelia sitting at the same place as yesterday with Polly and Lucy. She was still weeping, too, but her tears were fresh. Here was a new drama. Ma was nowhere to be seen: she would be directing the servants’ operations on the floor above with all the comprehensiveness of a general preparing for battle. Emily was standing, hand on hip, near to the fire. She watched with a look of disdain as Polly stroked Amelia’s hand.

I didn’t notice him immediately, but with his back to the company, gazing out of the window, was a brown-haired man whom I took to be Tommy.

‘Lizzie! Where have you been?’ Emily was always keen to know my whereabouts. I think she worried that I was stealing her custom.

‘What a lovely gown,’ said Polly.

‘Meg thinks it does wonders for my complexion,’ I ignored Emily. ‘I’m going to try and keep it on for the whole evening.’

‘Hush,’ said Polly, nodding her head towards Amelia.

I gestured towards the young man.

‘Will you introduce me? I assume he isn’t a guest for tonight?’

Lucy stood and led me to the man. He had the strong shoulders and arms of a blacksmith, but, barely more than a boy, his cheeks were still soft and he had eyes like a kindly-treated puppy. Another innocent in this den of corruption. I sank into a polite curtsey.

‘Mr Bridgewater, I am delighted to meet you in the flesh, having heard so much of your good character from our new friend Amelia.’

He blushed a little and bowed. The serious expression he wore didn’t suit him at all. This was a young man more used to smiling.

‘Miss Hardwicke, I am grateful to you and these other ladies for your hospitality, but I hope to take Amelia away from this house very soon. Very soon indeed.’

‘What a shame, when we were only just making her acquaintance. I take it that you have found employment?’

His lovely eyes betrayed the truth.

‘I am well on my way to securing a new post, Miss Hardwicke. A good farrier is always welcome where gentlemen keep horses. Horses always need shoeing.’

‘I am very pleased to hear that, Mr Bridgewater. And your lodgings? They are nearby?’

His was too easy a countenance to read.

‘I hope to come by something very soon, miss.’

I hoped so too. Amelia’s future would be only slightly better than Sallie’s otherwise. Indeed, it would look like mine – and I didn’t wish that on her.

The door opened, and Ma swept in. There are some who believe that Mrs Farley is still a handsome woman when she wears her finest clothes. Mrs Farley certainly believes it, and she had dressed accordingly. Her silk gown was blood red, her hair was powdered and immaculate, and around her neck and in her ears sumptuous jewels sparkled – gifts from the wealthy lovers of her golden years. The face, however, was that of a woman who had drunk sour milk.

‘Why are you still here?’ She was looking at Tommy. ‘I told you to get out of my house. Guests will be arriving at any moment and your presence is not required.’ She surveyed the rest of the room with displeasure.

‘All of you: upstairs at once. And Amelia, you are not to come down from your room until tomorrow morning. You must not be in the way.’

‘Unless she fancies joining in,’ Emily whispered to me with a wink.

I snatched up my mask and pushed Amelia out of the door towards the stairs.


About the Author

Georgina Clarke has a degree in theology and a PhD in history but has only recently started to combine her love of the past with a desire to write stories. Her Lizzie Hardwicke series is set in the mid-eighteenth century, an underrated and often neglected period, but one that is rich in possibility for a crime novelist.

She enjoys running along the banks of the River Severn and is sometimes to be found competing in half marathons. In quieter moments, she also enjoys dressmaking.

She lives in Worcester with her husband and son, and two extremely lively kittens

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Worst Case Scenario by Helen Fitzgerald | Blog Tour Review |#WorstCaseScenario

Published by Orenda Books
Available in ebook, paperback and audio (16 May 2019)
172 pages
Source: ecopy provided for review by publisher

About the Book

Mary Shields is a moody, acerbic probation offer, dealing with some of Glasgow’s worst cases, and her job is on the line.

Liam Macdowall was imprisoned for murdering his wife, and he’s published a series of letters to the dead woman, in a book that makes him an unlikely hero – and a poster boy for Men’s Rights activists.

Liam is released on licence into Mary’s care, but things are far from simple. Mary develops a poisonous obsession with Liam and his world, and when her son and Liam’s daughter form a relationship, Mary will stop at nothing to impose her own brand of justice … with devastating consequences.

A heart-pounding, relentless and chilling psychological thriller, rich with deliciously dark and unapologetic humour, Worst Case Scenario is also a perceptive, tragic and hugely relevant book by one of the most exciting names in crime fiction.

My Thoughts

As a woman of a certain age who has been going through the menopause for over 5 years with symptoms that even HRT couldn’t defeat, I was extremely interested to read this, not least because of the rave reviews it has received from fellow bloggers and reviewers.

52 year old Mary Shields is a criminal justice social worker, working in Glasgow.  She is tired, irrational, moody, suffering from menopause systems, and it takes one just one thing to push her over the edge and want to quit her job. Once she decides she is going to resign, she doesn’t care any more. A job that is pressurised and understaffed with overflowing caseloads and which owes her 41 hours flex time which she stands to lose because she can’t use the hours up.  

I knew what social workers/probation officers did, to a degree, but before reading this book, I hadn’t realised just how intrusive they had to be in offenders lives after their release from prison in making sure that they are complying with the terms of their release and how many rules that offenders had to follow; to that extent I found it an enlightening read. They deal with the worst of society – murderers, paedophiles and it must take a special kind of person to be able to do that job. Mary has her own emotional troubles to deal with and yet she has to be responsible for looking after other peoples lives.

One of her last cases is Dr Liam Macdowall. Liam is released on licence after killing his wife, he writes a book about his experiences and becomes a bit of a celebrity.  She is assigned as his social worker and it becomes personal between the two of them and not in a good way. At times I actually felt quite sorry for Liam in his dealings with Mary and I’m not sure that I was supposed to!

Mary wants to do good things and she means well. However there were times when her actions were so outrageous and ill advised that I feared her life was becoming a car crash and I spent much of the time, especially during the second half of the book, shaking my head in disbelief and muttering “why the hell are you doing this” when one bad decision followed another. Much of Mary’s antics and dialogue were humorous, however sometimes I felt there was danger of it turning into farce, particularly on occasions when she became a one woman vigilante. Mary didn’t suffer fools and whilst I admired and even envied her ‘don’t give a ‘f*ck’ attitude, mostly my feelings about her veered between sympathy, amusement and utter bewilderment. I have to say though, I had my hands in my mouth at that ending!

Mary Shields is definitely a force to be reckoned with. Worst Case Scenario is dark, shocking, thought provoking, outrageous but always entertaining. 

My thanks to Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for the invitation to take part and to Orenda books for the copy to review.

About the Author

Helen FitzGerald is the bestselling author of ten adult and young adult thrillers, including The Donor (2011) and The Cry (2013), which was longlisted for the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year, and is now a major drama for BBC1. Helen worked as a criminal justice social worker for over fifteen years. She grew up in Victoria, Australia. She now lives in Glasgow with her husband.

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Never Be Broken by Sarah Hilary | Book Review |#NeverBeBroken |#MarnieRome

Never Be Broken (DI Marnie Rome #6)
Published by Headline
Ebook, hardback, audio (16 May 2019) | paperback (23 January 2020)
368 pages
Source: Copy for review provided by publisher

About the Book

Children are dying on London’s streets. Frankie Reece, stabbed through the heart, outside a corner shop. Others recruited from care homes, picked up and exploited; passed like gifts between gangs. They are London’s lost.

Then Raphaela Belsham is killed. She’s thirteen years old, her father is a man of influence, from a smart part of town. And she’s white. Suddenly, the establishment is taking notice.

DS Noah Jake is determined to handle Raphaela’s case and Frankie’s too. But he’s facing his own turmoil, and it’s becoming an obsession. DI Marnie Rome is worried, and she needs Noah on side. Because more children are disappearing, more are being killed by the day and the swelling tide of violence needs to be stemmed before it’s too late.

NEVER BE BROKEN is a stunning, intelligent and gripping novel which explores how the act of witness alters us, and reveals what lies beneath the veneer of a glittering city.

My Thoughts

Opening with a prologue that had me holding my breath and wondering what the heck had happened, Never Be Broken is the 6th book in the series featuring DI Marnie Rome and her DS Noah Jake.  The main story then begins 48 hours earlier…..

I’ve followed this series from the beginning and it’s no secret that it’s one of my favourites.  It’s not a wham bam full on action crime series but quietly thoughtful with a superbly constructed narrative and characterisation and this book is probably the most powerful of all in the series so far.

Its topical bearing in mind the awful current crime situation and focuses on gang culture and exploitation of children and young teenagers. A number of teenagers have been killed on London’s streets and it appears that the police are losing control. Too many faces on the whiteboard in the incident room. Now 13 year old Raphaela Belsham, a young white girl from an affluent area and a wealthy family has been gunned down in a drive by shooting and the pressure is on Marnie and her team to find those responsible for running the gangs and supplying the drugs and weapons.

And then there is DS Noah Jake. Oh my goodness. Sarah Hilary puts Noah through the wringer in this story.  I think to say he is emotionally broken following events in the previous book is an understatement. Marnie is doing her best to keep an eye on him however she can’t watch him all the time and despite his determination to work on the cases she’s not sure that he can cope just yet.

Whilst regular characters all make return appearances, including DCI Lorna Ferguson, Harry Kennedy and other members of the team, it’s fair to say that the focus of the story is Noah with Marnie taking more of a back seat. This change of lead character, with Noah almost at breaking point does have a tremendous emotional impact.

Never Be Broken is an unsettling and thought provoking read.  The storyline is grim but then so is real life and this has been sensitively and realistically reflected. A thoroughly gripping and at times shocking read, this is most definitely a series that shouldn’t be passed by.


My thanks to Headline for the review copy and to Anne Cater of Random Things Tours for the invitation to take part in the tour.



About the Author

Sarah Hilary’s debut, Someone Else’s Skin, won Theakstons Crime Novel of the Year 2015 and was a World Book Night selection for 2016. The Observer’s Book of the Month (‘superbly disturbing’) and a Richard & Judy Book Club bestseller, it has been published worldwide. No Other Darkness, the second in the series was shortlisted for a Barry Award in the US. Her DI Marnie Rome series continued with Tastes Like Fear, Quieter Than Killing and Come And Find Me.

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The Wrong Envelope by Liz Treacher |Blog Blitz Extract |#TheWrongEnvelope #LoveBooksTours

Self Published (29 November 2017)
250 pages

About the Book

Summer 1920 and two different lives are about to collide.

Evie Brunton is a hard-working Devon post lady. She spins along country lanes on her bicycle, delivering letters from a heavy post bag. Bernard Cavalier is a lazy London artist. He swans around Mayfair, quaffing champagne with the smart set. So when Bernard is packed off to Devon to prepare for an important exhibition, and drops like a meteor into Evie’s sleepy village, there is bound to be trouble. Away from the distractions of London, Bernard is supposed to be painting, but the countryside has its own charms, in particular his young post lady…

Light and witty, and full of twists and turns, The Wrong Envelope captures the spirit of another age, when letters could change lives.

EXTRACT

This extract is about when the post lady, Evie Brunton invites the artist, Bernard Cavalier for dinner with her parents.

Mr Brunton looked pointedly at his watch.

            ‘I’m sure he’ll be here any minute—’ Evie began.

            ‘I hope so dear, or the chicken will be overdone,’ said Mrs Brunton, hurrying out to have another look at it.       ‘I can’t abide lateness in a young man,’ said Mr Brunton.

            The doorbell rang and Evie rushed to get it. Bernard was well turned out in a jacket and tie. But in the pocket of his jacket, an enormous spotted hanky, possibly the one that had earlier acted as a germ barrier, fanned out in an over-exuberant way. It seemed so out of place in their dingy porch that she couldn’t bear to look at it. It also made her dress look shabby somehow.

            ‘Do come in,’ she said.

            ‘Thank you.’ He was holding a bunch of flowers and they hadn’t travelled well. As he stepped into the house, a few heads fell off and landed on the carpet. She led him into the parlour where her father was waiting.

            ‘Bernard Cavalier,’ said her father, getting up to greet him. He said cavalier, like the adjective.

            ‘E – A. Caval E – A, like the French knight,’ Evie said quickly.

            ‘Mr Burnton,’ Bernard smiled, getting his own back.

            Mrs Brunton emerged from the kitchen, flushed from the range. Bernard gave a low bow.

            ‘Enchanté, Madame!’ he said and, taking her hand, kissed it in a very gallant manner. Mrs Brunton giggled. Then he held out the wilting posy.

            ‘Thank you. Wild flowers are my favourite,’ said Mrs Brunton graciously.

            Evie quickly took them from her mother. ‘They look as though they need a drink,’ she said, keen to escape, even for a few moments. She ran into the kitchen, steamy from the vegetables boiling on the stove, opened a window and leaned her forehead against it. This was going to be a nightmare.

            When she came back through, Bernard was talking loudly, waving a glass of sherry around as he spoke.

            ‘I didn’t actually see active service,’ he was saying, ‘you see, luckily for me war ended while I was still in training.’

            ‘I see,’ said Mr Brunton.

            ‘It feels awkward sometimes,’ confessed Bernard.

            ‘What, not getting maimed, gassed or killed?’ asked Mr Brunton helpfully.

            ‘I suppose I feel as if I didn’t really do my bit.’

            ‘Well, I suppose you didn’t. Is dinner ready, dear?’

            They moved from the parlour into the dining room. As they made the short silent walk from one room to the other, Bernard spied a piano across the hallway.

            ‘Do you play?’ he asked Mrs Brunton.

            ‘A little,’ said Mrs Brunton and she giggled again.

            The table was set with their best china and cutlery. Evie thought it looked very old-fashioned. Bernard sat opposite her and beside Mrs Brunton. As one, the Bruntons released their napkins from their rings, unfolded them and put them on their laps. Bernard ignored his. Between the grapefruit starter and the roast chicken, it rolled sadly onto the floor. The conversation improved over dinner: Mrs Brunton asked about London and Bernard was full of stories about people he knew and she had heard of. Evie picked at her chicken wing.

            Despite snubbing his napkin, Bernard had decent table manners. He managed to polish off his chicken, peas and roast potatoes without talking with his mouth full, spitting or elbowing Evie’s mother. This was silently noted by all three Bruntons. After the main course, Evie sprang up, cleared the plates and brought in the jam roly-poly.

            The pudding was not one of Mrs Brunton’s best. The sponge had dried up, taking most of the jam with it, and the whole thing tasted rather rubbery. The covering of custard did little to disguise the disappointment of what lay beneath. Bernard gallantly pushed his helping around the plate and Mrs Brunton noticed.

            ‘I’m sorry about the pudding,’ she mumbled.

            ‘Mais Madame,’ replied Bernard, reverting to the French of earlier, ‘Votre cuisine est magnifique!’

            ‘I beg your pardon, sir?’ Mr Brunton spoke fluent French.

            ‘I feel a song coming on!’ cried Bernard.

            As Evie choked on the last of her roly-poly, he jumped up and nimbly hopped over to the piano room opposite, leaving the door open. He settled himself on the piano stool and started to compose a ballad for his hostess.

            The grapefruit was divine, the chicken was sublime,

            So who cares if the dessert is just a little tough?

            Yes, just a little rough, at least it’s not as dry as a desert.

            The reluctant audience could hear Bernard loud and clear, but they could only catch glimpses of him smiling at them as he swayed backwards and forwards, coming in and out of view from behind the doorframe, singing his heart out. Mrs Brunton looked confused and embarrassed; an expressionless Mr Brunton took the opportunity to stretch his neck, backwards and forwards, this way and that. Evie thought she might die of excruciation, wished she could, but she would first murder Bernard.


My thanks to Kelly of Love Tours Group for the tour invitation.

About the Author

Liz is a writer, a Creative Writing teacher and an Art photographer. She lives in the Highlands of Scotland with a view of the sea. Her love of images influences her writing.

Her debut novel, ‘The Wrong Envelope’, is a romantic comedy, set in 1920 in Devon, England. It tells the story of Bernard, an impulsive artist and Evie, his beautiful post lady. You can watch the trailer on this page, under ‘Videos’. Light and witty, and full of twists and turns, ‘The Wrong Envelope’ captures the spirit of another age – when letters could change lives.

The sequel, ‘The Wrong Direction’, follows Evie and Bernard to London, and charts their further adventures in Mayfair’s high society. Wild parties, flirtatious models, jealous friends – Bernard and Evie must negotiate many twists and turns if they are to hold on to each other.

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