Casualty of Court · cosy · interviews · moving on · relationships · The Fifth Wheel

Casualty of Court – No couch for Dr Ed

We’re having a change of venue this week, since Dr Ed Case has own office in a rather affluent location in the City Centre. Much to Annie’s relief – she gets her space back, although she has requested a full steam clean to get rid of the lingering fragrances from CeeCee’s incense sticks. I think the Cedar wood was a step too far for her.

Anyway, Dr Ed’s therapy suite is on the thirteenth floor of the auspicious Rizzolo building, with spectacular views of the city and the River Rizzle. It should make the characters feel relaxed, unless they have a fear of heights, that is.

First up, as is the norm, we have Fern. She’s taking the lift right now and will be with us shortly. She won’t be alone, however. Dr Ed has asked Raven to join her. He has an altogether different approach to his questioning; his focus being on what drives the two young woman in this case and beyond. Eddie, as he’s asked to be called when the duo arrive, wants to be sure they’ll both come through this trial experience unscathed, and for that they’ll need to rely on and support each other.

So, while we wait for them to arrive, let’s take a tour of Dr Ed’s chambers and, if we have time, we can check out his credentials as well.

A steel door opens into a room bathed in natural light as a result of the floor-to-ceiling window directly opposite. The remaining walls are painted in a soft shade of green – I’d hasten a guess at a pistachio blend – with grey fixtures and fittings. Overstuffed armchairs – upholstered in a grey, paisley print circle a low, glass-topped table to the left, another chair and couch, in the same fabric, sit to the right. A steel desk and black, leather chair take the centre stage, with the cityscape in the background.

It’s rather low-key, but nonetheless elegant. Nothing like CeeCee’s makeover of Annie’s office at all.

Dr Ed Case, MD, Psy. D, sits at his desk, reading case notes, I imagine.

A knock on the door alerts him to their arrival. We’ll have to check his credentials another time.

EC:  Come on in (He stands and walks to the door as Fern enters, followed by Raven) Welcome, ladies. please, make yourselves comfortable (he directs them to the grey armchairs)

RH: What a stunning view (she wanders over to the window – it’s the artist in her – always a sucker for a view)

FM: Hello, Dr ..

EC: Call me Eddie. It’s not as though you’re here as a client. (He smiles, revealing a dazzling display of expensive veneers)

FM: Thank you, Eddie

Fern’s voice is rather faint. I’m not sure she’s comfortable in this environment. Maybe she’s seen too many doctors in the last few years. 

(Raven joins them, and takes a seat, sinking into the well-upholstered seat with a sigh. Fern shakes her head and pulls up besides her.)

FM: I’ll stay in my wheelchair, if that’s alright with you, Eddie.

EC: Of course. Whatever you’re most comfortable with. Now, would you like coffee, tea?

(Fern shakes her head – again) Someone is determined not to relax.

RH: I’d love a cappuccino, or failing that a simple white coffee. (she catches Fern’s disapproving look and mouths “What?” to her)

EC: No problem. This machine can handle that. It’s why I bought it – bit of a coffee connoisseur myself. Fern, would you prefer a cold drink?

FM: I’m fine.

That’ll be a “no” then! 

(With coffees poured, Eddie sits opposite them and takes a sip, discreetly observing the two women during a moment of silence)

EC: So, I understand you’ve met with Annie and CeeCee already? What did you make of those sessions? (He directed his question at Fern)

FM: Annie was professional, as you’d expect. CeeCee was … well, let’s just say, we didn’t hit it off.

EC: Why was that?

Oh, Eddie, you’re pushing it now.

FM: I don’t believe in “magic”, Eddie.

 Air quotes too. Well, you asked for it, Ed.

EC: Really? And, you, Raven, what’s your experience been like?

RH: Much the same. CeeCee’s attempts to connect with my dad were just too ridiculous for words. when she started talking through Blanche, her spirit guide, I knew it would end in disaster.

EC: Did it?

(Raven furrows her brow)

EC: End in disaster?

RH: Well, she certainly didn’t make any sense. Just spouted some nonsense about it not ending with the trial.

(Both women laugh – at CeeCee’s expense. Dr Ed gets up and fetches his notepad, then sits again and scribbles away. The women exchange glances.)

EC: Then you must have plans. After the trial?

RH: Too right we do. Once this is over, we’ll be focusing all our attention on a new business venture. Won’t we, Fern?

(Fern blushes) Is she as on board as Raven is with this?

FM: Correct. (she straightens her posture – a tad too much, possibly) Once this trial ends, and that creep is behind bars for good, all this will become a distant memory. Despite what CeeCee says, it all ends here, and I – we – get to return to normal.

Methinks she doth protest too much.

EC: Have you worked together before?

RH: (she jumps in to answer) No, but we have complimentary skills. I’m trained as a PI and Fern has the business brains. We’ve got this sorted.

(Fern nods)

EC: That’s good to hear. All too often, people who have been involved in a crime and subsequent court case, particularly those who are attacked, they struggle to rebuild their lives. Haunted by memories. It takes some people years of therapy to get over it.

FM: (laughs) are you touting for business?

EC: Just stating facts, Fern. You’re lucky to have such great support.

FM: I know that. And we will make this business work. Trust me.

Hmm, famous last words, maybe.

EC: (he bows his head in acknowledgement) Raven, you’ve given up your time to accompany Fern. You must be firm friends?

O-oh. Eddie’s messing with fire now. 

RH: (fidgets in her chair) We’ve not known each that long. Certainly not as long as I’ve known Nessa.

(Fern scoffs. Ed makes more notes)

RH: As I was saying, (she glares at Fern) despite that, we have lots in common. We’re both fighters for justice.

EC: You sound like a new superhero duo. (He smiles, but the comment stuns the two young women)

FM: I’m not sure where this is going, Eddie. I assumed you’d be questioning us about the case, not about our future plans.

EC: My role is to examine your reasons for taking on this case, Fern. And to ensure you have adequate support once it’s over.

RH: What business is it of yours to examine her reasons? She was assaulted, left to drown, abandoned. What more reason could there be?

Mother Justice strikes again.

EC: You’re right. But not everyone has the fortitude to pursue a case like this. Especially in person. We all know Fern need not have travelled to Portugal to present her case. The system allows for her to work through a legal practitioner. I’m merely curious why she chose to re-live the assault – your words, not mine.

(Fern remains silent throughout this exchange)

RH: Tell him, Fern. You are doing this because you want to see justice done. Not to hear about it from your solicitor. Tell him. (She is staring hard at her friend by this point)

Fern’s silence speaks volumes. Is she regretting giving her account in person? She has to face him in court to do so. I wonder if she’s really as ready as she thinks. 

EC: Fern?

FM: (She coughs, clearing her throat) That’s it exactly. I want to see the man who left me to drown, who tried to kill me despite only being on an assault charge … I want to see him found guilty.

EC: And you’re sure of the outcome?

RH: Of course she is. What other outcome could there be? I think we’ve answered your questions anyway. Thanks for the coffee. (Raven stands) Fern, are you coming?

FM: She’s right. You know my reasons and future plans. I think we’re done. Goodbye, Dr Case.

(Both make for the door)

EC: (stands and watches them leave) Thank you for coming, ladies. It’s been most informative.

Summary: Fern is more scared than she cares to admit. Raven, however, is determined to see this through to the end. Which is fine, considering she’s not the one in the hot seat, giving a statement. As for the future, can they really work well together. Only time will tell.


Dr Ed will see Nessa and Stefan together for his next session. 

His approach certainly set the cat amongst the pigeons this time. Does that mean more fireworks to come? 


Thanks for reading 🙂

Casualty of Court is available to pre-order now as an ebook, releasing March 21st 2018. Click here to view on Amazon

In the meantime, you can read The Fifth Wheel – A Prequel now and find out what happened last summer.

army of authors · blog tour · sci-fi

Army of Authors Blog Tour – Brian Harrison

The Vault

Why would a multibillionaire create a customised vault that is controlled by watch mechanics inside and have a self-destruct mechanism inside to destroy the billion dollars worth of artefacts inside?

Simple, because he can.

On paper, Sam Montgomery is your typical eccentric philanthropic pharmaceutical billionaire whom has literally mailed five dollars to everyone in the US so they can “pay it forward.” But what people didn’t know when made a rare public appearance was that he was announcing he had leukemia. And more shocking was that when he said, “I’d rather die than give my sister the opportunity to save my life.” No one even knew he had a sister.

Elena Diamante nailed the sit down interview – at his small home on the tiny island of Antikythera in Greece. She was only planning on getting the scoop about Sam and his apparently estranged sister but she was also going to be the first journalist to see inside Sam’s custom made vault. It was built using watch mechanics, so it was completely self-sustained, and only opened once a year. It was even rumoured that if it were ever tampered with, everything inside would be destroyed in a custom acid.

THE VAULT explores Sam’s family dynamics and how they inspired him to become the successful man he is. The story is also told using Sam’s own family photos growing up, as well as text messages and Facebook/Twitter. There are even hyperlinks within the novel as “Easter Eggs” for those readers who want to explore even more of Sam’s personal life, further blurring the lines of fact/fiction.

That’s pretty cool, although, unfortunately no chocolate included 🙂

Grab your copy now. It’s available on Amazon to pre-order and releases March 6th, 2018

About the author:

Working at a grocery store since 2001, working every position there and becoming one of the managers of a corporate chain store, I have seen and heard it all in the retail/service world. I had to get those stories, thoughts, feelings, and ways to escape out of my head. I had to write not out of compulsion but out of a love of writing.

Then the rest is as they say, history.

I grew up in a small town in Southwestern Michigan (coincidentally a town that no one that visits knows how to pronounce correctly), originally attending school to become a music therapist but the tapping of the keyboard was more addicting and found myself attending Andrews University in Berrien Springs, MI.

I play the drums, I love wearing ties, I will eat all your Oreo’s, having an expensive hobby of collecting watches and an unhealthy addiction to Netflix.

You can follow Brian and check out his other books on Amazon here


Thanks for reading 🙂


Spain · travel

Seville – Sevilla: A Travel Guide

The blue skies of these photos drew me in … and while I’m only a few hours drive away, I have never yet visited Sevilla.

I need to …

¡Hasta luego!

Seville has been on my hit list for a long time. So when Ryan Air started flying there from our local airport, I booked us a break quicker than you can say ‘make mine a cava’. Here are my tips on how to have a wonderful weekend in the Andalusian capital.

via My Seville travel guide — Words by Nina


Crazy little thing called love

Looking for a Rom-Com?

Go no further …

Crazy Little Thing Called Love by Charlotte Butterfield Genre: Romance/Holidays 99¢ at time of posting! When Leila finds herself on the painful end of yet another disastrous break-up, no amount of Ben & Jerry’s and trashy rom-coms can cheer her up. And so – to the amusement of her friends and family – Leila takes […]

via “Crazy Little Thing Called Love” by Charlotte Butterfield — Nesie’s Place

army of authors · blog tour · mystery · short reads · short story · suspense

Army of Authors Blog Tour: Clayton Graham


A collection of tantalising tales with more twists than braided hair.

Here you will find mystery, murder and mayhem – plus a moment of romance. All the stories will make you stop and think, even question your role in the world and the universe. Just what are we doing here, and where are we going? Easy questions with problematic answers.

This anthology of sixteen short and thrilling tales of unusual, extraterrestrial and conspiratorial stories is the latest compilation from Clayton Graham, the author of science fiction novels Milijun and the soon to come Saving Paludis.

The characters in this eclectic collection are mostly ordinary people whose reactions to their fears and to unexpected events will have you guessing at every turn of the page.

This collection is intriguing reading which, among many other things, encourages the reader to:
Sympathize with a doomed husband and connect with an altruistic robot.

Explore an isolated Scottish isle and touch down on a far-flung asteroid.

From the light-hearted to the darkest depths of the human psyche you would be hard pressed not to find something to like about Silently in the Night.

Many different visions of the future are within these pages.

And as a bonus, there is an excerpt from the soon to be published Saving Paludis, which introduces the reader to two of the principal protagonists in this tale from the edge of mankind’s known universe in the year 3898AD.

If you love mystery with a hint of the paranormal, and the interplay of human foibles, grab this smorgasbord of short stories then get yourself a copy of Milijun, the mind-bending sci-fi novel by Clayton Graham.

Get your copy from Amazon. 

About the author: As a youngster growing up in the cobbled streets of Stockport, UK, Clayton Graham read a lot of Science Fiction. He loved the ‘old school’ masters such as HG Wells, Jules Verne, Isaac Asimov and John Wyndham. As he left those formative years behind, he penned short stories when he could find a rare quiet moment amidst life’s usual distractions.

He settled in Victoria, Australia, in 1982. A retired aerospace engineer who worked in structural design and research, Clayton has always had an interest in Science Fiction and where it places humankind within a universe we are only just starting to understand.

Clayton loves animals, including well-behaved pets, and all the natural world, and is a member of Australian Geographic.

Combining future science with the paranormal is his passion. Milijun is his first novel. Second novel, Saving Paludis, will be published early 2018. They are light years from each other, but share the future adventures of mankind in an expansive universe as a common theme.

He hopes you can share the journey. Links to his books and blogs can be found at and you can also follow on Twitter at @CGrahamSciFi.
His Facebook author page is at:


Thanks for reading 🙂


blog tour · book review · novella · psychological suspense · relationships

Book Review : My Sweet Friend

My Sweet Friend

by H.A. Leuschel

Publication Date: December 6, 2017

Genre: Contemporary Fiction/ Women’s Fiction

Synopsis: A stand-alone novella from the author of Manipulated Lives

A perfect friend … or a perfect impostor?

Alexa is an energetic and charismatic professional and the new member of a Parisian PR company where she quickly befriends her colleagues Rosie and Jack. She brings a much-needed breath of fresh air into the office and ambitiously throws herself into her new job and friendships.

But is Alexa all she claims to be?

As her life intertwines with Rosie and Jack’s, they must all decide what separates truth from fiction. Will the stories that unfold unite or divide them? Can first impressions ever be trusted?

In this original novella, H.A. Leuschel evokes the powerful hold of appearances and what a person is prepared to do to keep up the facade. If you like thought-provoking and compelling reads with intriguing characters, My Sweet Friend is for you.

From the author:

Lying is a symptom shared by the most convincing, cunning and ruthless individuals such as psychopaths and narcissistic manipulators. They have an invincible sense of self-importance and an addictive urge to project an image of power and perfection at all cost which are fuelled by the rewarding tools of charm, diversion and … clever deception.
Like anything in life, whether the skill is morally laudable or not, skills require training, effort and hard work. The danger lies in the brain progressively adapting to the dishonest behaviour and the longer the lies, the harder it would seem to be able to change the conditioning of one’s sensitivity to telling the truth. The truth and nothing but the truth or at the very least the intention to do so most of the time therefore appears to be a basic requirement for any interpersonal trust.
In my new stand-alone novella, I explore the idea that when crossing the line between truth or lie too often, it becomes a curse the person is eventually unable to shed …

Want to see an excerpt? Of course you do 🙂

I was brushing my teeth the next morning when Alexa called, crying over another nasty phone call from her ex. I was running late as it was but was unable to stop her barrage of insults against a man I didn’t even know the name of.
‘He’s driving me absolutely insane. I’ve really had enough,’ I heard her shout, the heels of her shoes clicking on the pavement. She was clearly on her way to work while I was only slipping my feet into my shoes. It had been her second frantic call that morning.
‘Listen. Alexa, calm down. I understand you’re upset but I’ll be late if you don’t stop.’
‘I’m there for you when you need me but when I’m the one in need for once, you fob me off. Great, really nice, thanks.’ She hung up, leaving me in an angry sweat. I was her polar opposite – organized and calm – but lately I felt out of kilter myself. I’d missed out on seeing my mum because, for one reason or another, Alexa managed to ambush my attention.
When I eventually rushed through the office door, Alexa was looking up at me indifferently, in deep conversation with Jack, who tapped his watch with pursed lips and raised eyebrows. I lowered my eyes, my stomach heaving with repressed fury. Alexa had crawled under my skin yet I couldn’t pinpoint exactly why and how it had all come about.
I hid in the ladies’ toilets, panic rising to my throat, and utterly lost for words. I realised that if it had been Alexa running off, I’d have made sure I was giving her moral support, coaxing her back to work. Where was she now that I needed her? Was I getting hysterical, losing the plot?

Be prepared for mind games, this is a thrilling read.

About the Author

Helene Andrea Leuschel grew up in Belgium where she gained a Licentiate in Journalism & Communication, which led to a career in radio and television in Brussels, London and Edinburgh. She now lives with her husband and two children in Portugal and recently acquired a Master of Philosophy with the OU, deepening her passion for the study of the mind. When she is not writing, Helene works as a freelance journalist and teaches Yoga.


Author Links

Read what others are saying on Goodreads 

Purchase My Sweet Friend Here

Giveaway: Enter for your chance to win a digital copy (Format of Choice) of My Sweet Friend

Blog tour organised by R&R Book Tours


My thoughts: 4/5 stars

Don’t you just love a book that demands debate? I know I do. This depiction of the relationship between work colleagues, Alexa and Rosie, does exactly that.
We first meet Alexa while she’s on sick leave. Although, she’s not at home recuperating from her stressful life, she’s in Biarritz. Hmm, say no more, the poor thing! You might actually feel sorry for her at this point.
A call from Rosie – who is still at work – puts Alexa on edge. There is something amiss.

Then comes the backstory to their first encounter when Alexa joins the marketing firm. Everyone at the office is impressed by her, but Rosie, in particular, is captivated by her magnetic aura of confidence and self-assurance. When Alexa drops a few compliments in her direction, Rosie is enchanted, and Alexa soon becomes her closest friend.

With their friendship now established, the story alternates between their points of view and they seem to muddle along well. However, very little is as it seems. While Rosie struggles financially (due to exorbitant care costs for her mother), Alexa is frivolous (until we see her apartment). She buys Rosie expensive gifts galore but doesn’t want anyone else to know she bought them.
They seem to be polar opposites, yet each find something in the other that holds the relationship together.

Bringing Jack, the Account Manager, into the mix adds another layer to the story. Alexa seeks to attract his attention. Her reasons for doing so are not those of a ‘sweet friend’, that’s for sure. She certainly doesn’t expect her ‘grey mouse’ of a friend (her words, not mine) to see through the lies, after all, she has convinced herself that her ‘truth’ is just that: why would anyone doubt her?

Comments made during conversations lead to ‘misunderstandings’, but Alexa talks her way out of everything, always coming out on top. But these inconsistencies continue, creating confusion and doubt in Rosie’s mind . The cracks deepen. Lies unravel further once Jack and Rosie ‘swap notes’, deceptions become clear and confrontation is inevitable.

This is a clever piece of writing. The reader is never quite sure who to believe at the start, but the hints are there, building to the only possible conclusion (or at least the one I hoped for).

This novella left me with many questions. Did Alexa really not expect the outcome? Was she so convinced by her own lies that the truth became fiction to her? Why did she need to lie? What was so wrong with her life that she had no other recourse than to re-invent herself? Why did her employers let her go quietly, only to effectively pass the problem onto the next? Is that ethical? Where would she go next? Where will it end?

The story has novel potential to me – I would have liked greater insight into what made Alexa who she was and more on what lay ahead for her. For me, this was a little like reading the middle of a bigger story – I wanted a beginning and an end too.

Nonetheless, a fascinating, well-written read. Totally plausible and insightful.

This was a story that pulled me in, as evidenced by the many moments spent screaming at the characters:

“Don’t fall for it, Rosie!”

“Not nice, Alexa! Not nice at all.”

“Did she really just wriggle out of that?”  … among others.

Fortunately, no-one spotted me yelling at my Kindle 😉


If you choose to purchase Helene’s novella, please consider leaving a review once you’ve read it.

Reviews keep authors writing.

Thanks for reading 🙂



Be excited. Be very excited

Family Matters … Coming soon.

If you’ve not already read “In the best interest of the child”, go now. You still have time to learn all about Olivia … and, let’s not forget Bruce.

What are you waiting for?

Come back after you’ve read it, and tell me I was right!

Follow the link below for details …

Bye, now 😉

via “She has a choice to make…”

disappointment · punctuation · reading

Am I just contrary?

I’ve been reading a few books lately, based on recommendations and great reviews online. All in all, you’d think I’d be in for a good read, wouldn’t you?

But …
I don’t seem to see the same ‘gem’ of a story that everyone else sees.
Why is that?
Am I too hard to please?
I wouldn’t have said so before. It’s not like I usually read action-packed stories with in-your-face conflict, or anything that’s “trending”.
I enjoy a slow-burning, psychological drama, a twist of mystery and suspense, a shift in time with a historical flavour …So. clearly, I can take a slower-paced story. In fact, I generally prefer them.

So, why am I struggling when everyone claims these stories to be “amazing”, “compelling” and “wonderful”.

What am I missing? When I see slow, rambling and – to be honest – ‘nothing happening here’, how do others see the emotional strength of the story, superb characterisation, or marvellous touches of poignancy and beauty?

Maybe I’m reading above my weight. I’ve always thought I had eclectic tastes. I used to say “I’ll read anything”, now I know that’s not true 🙂

Lately, it seems I’ve lost my way. I question everything and doubt my own opinions. I’m not looking for answers here, merely expressing my bewilderment.

Maybe my taste in books doesn’t mirror that of my peers. It does speak volumes, though, when the best book I’ve read these last few weeks is one on punctuation!

Does it matter? Not really. There are plenty of good books out there; I’ve read some brilliant ones too, one where I can agree wholeheartedly with other reviewers.

Perhaps I shouldn’t question myself then. It’s alright to disagree, to have a different view.

And sometimes, the wisest thing to do is just hold the thought, accept it, and move on.

(By the way, I’m not going to name any of these books, nor will they appear in my Goodreads reading list: I’ve decided that my thoughts are best left unsaid rather than leave a DNF comment)

Thanks for reading.



ageing parents · cover reveal · dementia · Magic O'Clock · Magical Memories · memories · short story

Magical Memories – in production

Last year, when I wrote Magic O’Clock, I hadn’t ever considered a sequel. Writing about the death of a loved one – even in fiction – strikes fear in my bones. Don’t get me wrong, I can kill off a character if needed, usually … but Archie?

Could I do it? Could I even think about doing it?

Despite being a fictional character, there were so many real elements tied up in that story. Glimpses of truth weaved their way into my writing. Because to get into the mindset of the daughter-narrator, I was – unfortunately – most able to draw upon personal experience.

But readers asked for more. They wanted an ending, albeit one that could stir up heartache of their own. Surely, no-one expected him to recover, to beat the illness that took away his most cherished memories, and robbed his daughter of her father – except, of course, at Magic O’Clock.

However, once that seed took root in my mind, I was left to ponder the idea of taking Archie’s story to its inevitable conclusion.

Whew! The thought of resurrecting certain memories brought tears to my eyes and a smile to my face. Memories are not to be feared, to be packed up in boxes and stored in dark loft or cellar. The memories I have of my father evoke all sorts of emotions, but the overriding one is that of happiness. I only had him in my life for a short while, losing him when I was 17 to lung cancer. Nonetheless, the time I had with him was precious, made even more so because it came to such a sudden and heart-breaking end.

So, you see, Archie was not my father in life, but he personified the man who lives on in my memories. Fiction enabled me to give him a longer life, but no less happier or full than that of my own dad.

Could I tell Archie’s final story?

You bet I could … and I will.

Please join me on April 1st – my dad’s birthday – for the cover reveal. At that point, I’ll also confirm the release date, expected to be on another very special, meaningful …and, might I say, most appropriate date later that month.

To whet your appetite, and hopefully to encourage you to stick around for Magical Memories, here’s a brief – and unedited – excerpt:

From the doorway, I poked my head inside. Dad lay on his bed, his arms outside of the cover, fingers laced. So calm. I stared at his chest, to make sure he was breathing, and I gasped as it rose. The room smelt stale, as though the air had been sucked out of it in anticipation of the inevitable. No air meant no breathing. No breathing meant …well, I knew what it meant.

‘Angie, this room is stifling. Can you do anything?’

She looked at me, shaking her head. ‘It’s not the room, love.’

Of course, it wasn’t. The room was climate-controlled. It was me, wasn’t it? I was shutting down. Bracing myself.

‘Lily? Is that you, again?’ Dad asked, turning his head ever so slightly towards my voice. His blue eyes, jaded by fatigue, sought me out and I crossed the room to rest my hand on his, stooping to kiss his warm forehead.

‘It’s me, Dad. Your baby girl.’

His lips curled up—denture-free, as was his preference— and a pink tongue peeked through his pale gums.

Thank you for reading 🙂

Featured Author - Amy Reade · mystery · reading · review

A cracking mystery with a Welsh flavour

Murder In Thistlecross

by Amy M. Reade

The emerald hills and violet valleys of Wales seem the ideal place to start over after murder—and divorce—shattered Eilidh’s life in the Scottish Highlands. But within the stone walls of an ancient castle, a family’s dark, violent past threatens much more than her newfound tranquility . . . 
For the past two years, Eilidh has called the quaint Welsh village of Thistlecross home, embracing her new life as estate manager of a restored fifteenth-century castle. But the long-anticipated arrival of her employer’s three estranged sons and their wives transforms Gylfinog Castell from a welcoming haven to a place seething with dangerous secrets. When the escalating tensions culminate in murder, Eilidh must sift through a castle full of suspects both upstairs and downstairs. She can trust no one as she follows a twisting maze of greed and malice to ferret out a killer who’s breaching every defense, preparing to make Eilidh the next to die.

My Review:

Set in a beautiful Welsh castle, it was only a matter of time before the crumbling ruins would expose a killer in this excellent mystery.
The story begins with a pending reunion between the Mistress of the castle, Annabel, and her children and their partners. From the outset, it’s clear that the meeting will be fractious. The family lived through years of horrendous abuse dished out by Annabel’s first husband, father to the three boys. A great of animosity lives on, as the boys still resent Annabel for not protecting them. This meeting is her chance to put her side of the story to them, and maybe build a few bridges.
The story of the wealthy Tucker family runs along that of the estate manager, Eilidh, and the cook Maisie and her daughter Brenda. There is a delightful ‘Downton Abbey’ vibe when Annabel presses a floor button to summon the downstairs staff.
Eilidh is a woman I’ve met before in this series, and the author carefully intersperses details of her life from previous books without spoiling the current story. Her journey with Griff to the fairy glen is both sweet and atmospheric, sprinkling a little magic around after the dreadful events that continue to occur to the castle’s inhabitants.
With plenty of Welsh influences, the story has a realistic feel, including the odd “iechyd da” thrown in for good measure.
The tale picks up pace – enormously so – towards the end, as the mysteries are resolved, revealing a well-developed suspense along with a very compassionate look at what drives someone to want to maim or kill another.
All in all, a cracking mystery blended with believable characters, a little romance, revenge and not to mention huge empathy for those who make mistakes for all the right reasons.
Long may Eilidh and her family & friends continue.

Recommended to lovers of mysteries, women’s fiction, and British scenery and settings.

You can get your copy here, and while you’re there, why not check out the other books in the Malice series and meet Eilidh yourself?

The House on Candlewick Lane

It is every parent’s worst nightmare. Greer Dobbins’ daughter has been kidnapped—and spirited across the Atlantic to a hiding place in Scotland. Greer will do anything to find her, but the streets of Edinburgh hide a thousand secrets—including some she’d rather not face.

Art historian Dr. Greer Dobbins thought her ex-husband, Neill, had his gambling addiction under control. But in fact he was spiraling deeper and deeper into debt. When a group of shady lenders threatens to harm the divorced couple’s five-year-old daughter if he doesn’t pay up, a desperate Neill abducts the girl and flees to his native Scotland. Though the trail seems cold, Greer refuses to give up and embarks on a frantic search through the medieval alleys of Edinburgh—a city as beguiling as it is dangerous. But as the nightmare thickens with cryptic messages and a mysterious attack, Greer herself will become a target, along with everyone she holds dear.

Highland Peril

Trading the urban pace of Edinburgh for a tiny village overlooking a breathtaking blue loch was a great move for budding photographer Sylvie Carmichael and her artist husband, Seamus—until a dangerous crime obscures the view . . .

Sylvie’s bucolic life along the heather-covered moors of the Highlands is a world away from the hectic energy of the city. But then a London buyer is killed after purchasing a long-lost Scottish masterpiece from Seamus’s gallery—and the painting vanishes. As suspicion clouds their new life, and their relationship, Sylvie’s search for answers plunges her into an unsolved mystery dating back to Cromwellian Scotland through World War I and beyond. And as she moves closer to the truth, Sylvie is targeted by a murderer who’s after a treasure within a treasure that could rewrite history . . . and her own future.


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