Start by guest author Graham Morgan MBE

It is a pleasure to have Graham Morgan visit my blog today. He and his publishers, Fledgling Press have agreed to share an excerpt from his new biography, Start, as part of a Love Books Group Tour. graham Morgan

This biography does not gloss over or glamorise mental illness, instead Graham Morgan highlights that people can, and do, live full and positive lives. Readers can join Graham through his recollections of detention under the Mental Health act, learning to live with a new family, and coping with the symptoms that he still struggles to accept are an illness. He takes your through his preparations to address the United Nations in his role working with the Mental Welfare Commission for Scotland. Graham Morgan has an MBE for services to mental health, and helped to write the Scottish Mental Health (2003) Care and Treatment Act.

start by graham morgan

The Blurb

Graham Morgan has an MBE for services to mental health, and helped to write the Scottish Mental Health (2003) Care and Treatment Act. This is the Act under which he is now detained. Graham’s story addresses key issues around mental illness, a topic which is very much in the public sphere at the moment. However, it addresses mental illness from a perspective that is not heard frequently: that of those whose illness is so severe that they are subject to the Mental Health Act.
Graham’s is a positive story rooted in the natural world that Graham values greatly, which shows that, even with considerable barriers, people can work and lead responsible and independent lives; albeit with support from friends and mental health professionals. Graham does not gloss over or glamorise mental illness, instead he tries to show, despite the devastating impact mental illness can have both on those with the illness and those that are close to them, that people can live full and positive lives. A final chapter, bringing the
reader up to date some years after Graham has been detained again, shows him living a fulfilling and productive life with his new family, coping with the symptoms that he still struggles to accept are an illness, and preparing to address the United Nations later in the year in his new role working with the Mental Welfare Commission for Scotland.




‘What is it that I think?’

Your eyes are bluey-grey, your lips give the best kisses, you are the person I want to be with forever and yet, in a year, a month, a second, it may all be different. But just now, being with you is my heaven. Just now is, is, is.

Just now is my worry that I may fall out of love one day, that I may lose my job, that I may not reach that ideal I cannot express and,

Oh, underthink! Underthink!

I say, ‘Get back to the basics.’

I hide under a bush in a dry hollow with crunchy leaves and let the sun dapple me. I distil myself to the very tip of a juniper leaf, the exact end of it. I become the precise centre of a concentric ripple. I become so concentrated that I explode with a sonic boom and shatter the silence of the lochside, our paused breath in bed. I shatter my equanimity, I startle awake clutching you, breathing fast and deeply, laughing a raggedy laugh that says,

‘Where did all that calm go?’

I walk in a glade of bluebells, becoming smaller and smaller until I am the essence of the green sea-like light. I am so happy that I have become so little, so unnoticeable until I notice my happiness, my pride, and then I swell into being and see your disappointed smile at the mud on my shoes, the crushed flowers, the fact that I was so busy being infinitesimal that I forgot to lie down here and kiss you and do that underthinking that forgets what underthinking is.

I sit on a rock and stare at the mountains, sit on a log of driftwood and stare at the silver mist of the sea, feel the breeze on my face. Watch a long-legged spider walk over my shoe, see a butterfly fluttering amongst the dusty heather.

I pause, I breathe so deep. I am the sand, I am the air, I am that mite of dust flying in the sun, and then I’m not: I am working out how I will tell everyone, how I will describe my magical connection with oneness. How I will resurrect that old story of being at sea, thousands of miles from anywhere, and I became as tiny as a salt grain, as big as an atom, as small as the universe.

And here I could swear so foully, if I weren’t brought up not to swear, and I could accuse myself of forgetting what I am trying to do completely. I could think a glass of whisky this evening will cure this arrogance and think of all the ways I pretend to be clever and feel my stomach curl inside me. Hint that the whisky might come early.

I say to myself and berate myself, ‘Deep breaths, soft breaths. Learn to giggle, to play, celebrate those wayward thoughts. Let the frantic thoughts settle like silt in a disturbed puddle that slowly turns clear and peat brown, lit by the amber sun.’

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#GrahamMorgan @FledglingPress 



Titus Oates – 17th Century Psychopath? by guest author Kate Braithwaite

I am happy to introduce you to my fellow author Kate Braithwaite. Kate is a Britiash author living in the USA who writes gripping historical crime fiction. 

Kate Braithwaite

I’m imagining that readers of Val Penny love excellent crime fiction andso although I’m a historical novelist, it seemed like a good ideato focus on the criminal side of my latest novel TheRoad to Newgate onmy visit to her blog this week.

In brief, TheRoad to Newgate isa historical thriller based on the real life events of the Popish Plot and the still unsolved murder of a London magistrate, Sir Edmund Berry Godfrey. I came to the story, as I hope you will after readingthis, because I stumbled across Titus Oates, a man I’d never heard of in any history I’d learned at school, but who was apparently one of the worst Britons in history.

Titus Oates

Titus Oates was born in 1649. The first biography I read about him says inits opening paragraph that England suffered two national tragediesthat year: “the execution of King Charles the First, and the birth of Titus Oates.”

That might seem a bit over the top, but I’ve read everything I can about him and have no doubt that he was a truly terrible person – cruel,spiteful, arrogant, crude… you name it. In 1678, Oates went from being practically destitute to living it up with rooms in Whitehall and politicians hanging on his every word, even though his wild claims that Catholics were out to assassinate Charles II and invade the country were pure fabrication. He lodged his narrative of the plots against the King with the magistrate, Edmund Godfrey, and when Godfrey was found murdered, it seemed as if Oates’ revelations were true. Numerous men were arrested – including prominent Catholic Lords and priests and at least twenty were executed on the basis of Titus Oates’ completely false evidence.

WhenI think of Oates, I always see him drinking with his cronies in atavern. I’d love to jump into the skin of one of those sycophants, maybe just for half an hour or so, and marvel at Titus Oates in theflesh. He was supposedly super ugly and had a strange high-pitched voice. I’d love to see how the real Titus Oates matches up with theone in my imagination. There’s a wonderful book by Jon Ronsoncalled ThePsychopath Test that includes a list of 20 ways to spot a psychopath originally compiled by psychologist Robert Hare. Titus fits at least these ten (and may be more):

  1. pathological lying
  2. grandiose sense of self
  3. cunning and manipulative
  4. lack of remorse or guilt
  5. shallow emotional response
  6. callousness and lack of empathy
  7. parasitic lifestyle
  8. poor behavioral controls
  9. sexual promiscuity
  10. early behavior problems

Having said that, Titus was a real person and even real villains can sometimes elicit sympathy. In some ways, Titus was a victim of the times. He came to prominence because politicians, like the Earl of Shaftesbury, wanted to use him and his narrative to support their ownaims of preventing Charles II’s brother from succeeding him because he was a Catholic. Without the support of politicians and bigots whoblamed the Catholic population for every ill, I doubt that Oateswould ever have been taken seriously. And having begun his lies, it’snot hard to imagine that he felt he had no choice but to continue inthem, especially when for years he was rewarded, called the Saviourof the Nation and given lodgings and accorded great status in London society.

Was he an out-and-out villain with no redeeming features? Why not readTheRoad to Newgate tofind out?

Thanks for hosting me, Val, and here are some ways to connect with me and find my books xxx

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Blurb for The Road to Newgate

What price justice?

London 1678.

Titus Oates, an unknown preacher, creates panic with wild stories of a Catholic uprising against Charles II. The murder of a prominent Protestant magistrate appears to confirm that the Popish Plot is real.

Only Nathaniel Thompson, writer and Licenser of the Presses, instinctively doubts Oates’s revelations. Even his young wife, Anne, is not so sure. And neither know that their friend William Smith has personal history with Titus Oates.

When Nathaniel takes a public stand, questioning the plot and Oates’sintegrity, the consequences threaten them all.

 The Author

KateBraithwaite was born and grew up in Edinburgh, Scotland. Her firstnovel, Charlatan, was longlisted for the Mslexia New Novel Award andthe Historical Novel Society Award. Kate lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and three children.

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A Fresh Start by guest author Andrew Roberts

My friend and fellow writer ans Swanwicker, Andrew Roberts, has made time to vist the blog to share the remarkably brave changes he has made to his life to advance his writing career.

2018 has been an interesting year for me, with some major changes to my life; I left a full-time accountsjob, paving the way for me to go to university and study a Creative Writing degree.

I’ve been writing as a hobby since Iwas 17, and originally went into accountancy so I could still earnwhile writing. As most employers are more interested in experiencerather than qualifications, I went into an apprenticeship afterleaving school rather than going to university immediately. After qualifying in 2015, I worked a four-day week at a manufacturing firmin Walsall, which left me a dedicated writing day on Fridays.

It was during my time there that I discovered the Swanwick Writers’ Summer School, which made me want to dedicate more time to my writing.

I was laid off from that job at the endof 2016, and subsequently obtained another job in Stoke. At first, itseemed like a stroke of luck, as it was closer to home and higherpaying. Unfortunately, I struggled to fit my writing around thefive-day week, and became depressed by the end of 2017. If your jobisn’t your preferred career and you don’t have any children,there is little reason to spend all of your time there.

I left that job at the end of May. While I was making plans to leave (i.e. making a start on the UCAS application), I left sooner than I had originally planned, but took advantage of this to revise a dormant novelette. In one stroke of good fortune, I contacted the manufacturing firm for a university reference and was re-hired on a limited basis with favourable hours.

I have since moved to Leicester to study Creative Writing at De Montfort University. At the time of writing, I’m coming to the end of my first term, and it’s still one of the best decisions I’ve made. While I haven’t spent as much time on my regular WIPs, I’m using one of the modules to develop one which is out of my comfort zone and have also expanded into poetry.

In addition to the academic side of university to life, I’ve taken up fencing and have re-discovered mylove of laser tag and pen-and-paper roleplaying games through thesocieties. In fact, because fencing fits in with my regular writing, it’s the craziest thing I’ve done in the name of research.

It’s never too late to start over, and no matter how bleak things may seem, you should always look for an out.

Happy writing.

Silk Road by Mark Leggatt

I am so pleased to be taking part in the Blog Tour run by Love Book Group Tours for the new novel Silk Road by Mark Leggatt.


The Blurb

Ex-CIA technician Connor Montrose tracks two suspected terrorists to a deserted mountain village in Tuscany, where he witnesses an attack on a US Air Force troop plane, using a ground-breaking portable Surface to Air (SAM) missile. Unaware that the CIA were also monitoring the suspects, Montrose is blamed for the attack and narrowly escapes. The CIA receive orders from Washington to shoot him on sight, and a shadowy organisation begins to track his every move.

Then a spate of terror attacks threatens the fabric of NATO and the entire Western alliance. Civilian airlines are the new target, and the overwhelming evidence points to a CIA false flag plan to bring down aircraft and blame it on Moscow-backed terrorists. Montrose’s investigations lead him to underground arms sales on The Silk Road, the secret marketplace of the internet, hidden deep in the Dark Web. Montrose must assimilate himself into the society of the European aristocracy and the ultra-rich fascists, assisted by Kirsty Rhys, to pose as a middleman for the purchase of arms on The Silk Road and find the remaining cache of missiles. Montrose uncovers the layers of duplicity between governments and arms dealers, leading first to the CIA in Rome, and eventually to the palaces of the last Russia Tsar and the new oligarchs. Montrose must discover the remaining cache of missiles before the CIA catch up with him, and before carnage is unleashed over the skies of Europe.


When the Clyde Ran Red by Maggie Craig

When the Clyde Ran Red by Maggie Craig was the most recent book set for our local book group. It is a social and political history of the town of Clydebank, the city of Glasgow and their surrounding areas.

The author covers a wide expanse of Clydeside’s social history from the end of the maggie craig booknineteenth century through to the present day. When the Clyde Ran Red discusses the rise of the labour and communist movements in the west of Scotland which led to the nickname Red Clydeside.

The book compares the enormous wealth of the industrial classes with the poverty that dogged the lives of the ordinary working men and women, and the attitudes that were prevalent at that time. It describes the rising militism of the workers struggling against an unfair system, and the various protests and strikes as they strove to better themselves.

When the Clyde Ran Red does not focus exclusively on men. The women had their part to play. The waitresses in Miss Cranston’s tearooms, the suffragettes, and the wives and mothers, many of the latter taking a leading role in the rent strikes during the early part of the century. This book is rather heavy reading for a book group: nevertheless it is a mine of information about conditions at the time, and whether you read it as a historical source, or just for pleasure, it cannot fail to retain your interest.

Val Penny

The Author

Maggie craigMaggie Craig writes family sagas set in her native Glasgow & Clydebank, historical novels set in Glasgow and Edinburgh and historical non-fiction. As the author of the ground-breaking and acclaimed Damn’ Rebel Bitches: The Women of the ’45, she is the acknowledged expert on the women who supported – and some who opposed – Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Jacobites of 1745.

All Maggie’s books have been highly praised for their convincing and engaging characters and vivid sense of place.

She has two grown-up children and lives now in the north of Scotland with her Welsh husband.

If you would like to read more about Maggie and her books, please visit her website at or follow her on Twitter @CraigMaggie.

My Writing and Me by guest author Lynn Forth

For many years I was a Lecturer in both English and Teacher Training at the local College. Sadly the paperwork and procedures eventually sucked all the joy out of a career I loved so I left to concentrate on my long-held ambition to write novels.

Imagine my delight when my first novel Love in La La Land was accepted by Crooked Cat Publishers. My love of films sparked the original idea because I wanted explore how a novel has to be adapted to become a screen play. Thus I sent my main character, English writer, Jane Jones, to Hollywood to see her novel being made into a film. Initially she is in awe of this glamorous movie world but as she negotiates the sleazy shark-pool of glittering parties, hovering paparazzi, and powerful movie tycoons, she has to decide who can be trusted and who can’t.


I was delighted by Love in La La Land’s success and all the 5 star reviews it garnered on Amazon praising it for its witty style and gripping story.

My latest novel Love, Lies and Café au Lait has just been published and was inspired by my first trip to Nice many years ago. There I was, sitting in a café delighting in all the sights and sounds of the famous Nice market when I had one of those goose-pimpling moments thinking about what’s a girl like me from Accrington doing in a swanky place like this. And years later, Annie’s story emerged from this experience as she vainly tries to adopt a classy persona, but wonders if perhaps she might be just a bit too nice for Nice.

Main cover pic

Blurb for Love Lies and Café au Lait

When Annie Roberts has the chance to escape rainy Accrington for the glamour of sunny Nice, it seems like a dream come true, even if it does involve dog-sitting a pampered pooch for the winter. 

But, once in France, despite trying to adopt a classy persona, Annie attracts the attention of all the wrong people: from Jacques, an attractive waiter, to Reen, a perma-tanned expat from the Costa del Sol. 

And just who is the charming Monsieur Xavier who is so keen to befriend her? Dare she enlist his help to solve the mystery left behind by her France-obsessed mother? 

Can Annie find her way through all the lies, intrigue and deception or is she just too nice for Nice?

30729092_2023408577688670_7898368402631163904_n.jpgAuthor bio

Although born in Derbyshire, I moved around a lot as a child as my father worked his way up the career ladder. At the age of 10 I went to live in Accrington and I still have the accent to prove it.

I now live in Worcestershire (where it doesn’t rain as much) with my lovely family and a room with a view to write in.

With a lifelong fascination with words and people, I studied English and Psychology at University and, as a lecturer at the local College, I spent many years imparting my passion for words and teaching to students of all ages.

An avid reader, I run two book clubs and, as a bit of a movie buff, I love all the stimulating discussions at a local Film Club. Although not a big exercise fan, I enthusiastically enjoy the fun and music at my Zumba sessions and I love encouraging a riotous array of flowers in my garden, which hides the weeds.

I now write romantic comedies full of sparky dialogue set in exotic foreign climes, which, of course, I have to visit for the sake of research. My debut novel, Love in La La Land, combines this love of films, humour and sunny places. My latest novel, Love, Lies and Cafe au Lait is set in Nice, a city I try to visit often, especially during the winter.

All the various aspects of this new writing adventure have revitalized my life. Sitting at my desk writing, I become completely immersed in my characters and their lives as they ‘talk‘ to me and make me laugh and cry. The business aspect of the publishing world is not as much fun and it has taxed my brain somewhat coming to grips with all the technology of social media. These days this is an essential tool of the publishing trade as most novelists have to participate fully in promoting their own books. As this also involves giving talks, radio interviews and book signings etc. it is certainly keeping me busy. And I love it.


Twitter: @lynnforth

Facebook Page: Lynn Forth

Author Page: Lynn Forth Author

My books are available as both eBooks and paperbacks from Amazon

The Good Daughter by Karin Slaughter

I have read several books by Karin Slaughter and enjoyed them so I was looking forward to The Good Daughter coming to the top of my TBR list. The book is a stand alone rather than being part of a series. It took me a while to get into the minds of the characters and to understand the storyline. Had the book not been by an author I was familiar with, I probably would not have persevered, but that would have been a mistake. It is an interesting story.

It tells the story of two sisters who witness their mother’s murder then are forced into the woods at gunpoint. One runs for her life. One is left behind. The Good Daughter is set in a small town a place where everyone knows every one else–or thinks they do, and at times that can be rewarding and at other times can be incredibly stifling.

the Good Daughter

It starts shortly after the Quinn family have had to move into a new home when their family home is attacked and razed to the ground by arsonists. The daughters, Charlotte and Samantha Quinn’s, witness their happy small-town family life being torn apart by this terrifying attack on their family home. Soon after the family has moved into their new accomodation, the higglety-pigglety farm house, they suffer another attack.

This one leaves their mother dead and their father, a notorious defense attorney, devastated. It also left the family fractured beyond repair, consumed by secrets from that terrible night.

Twenty-eight years later, Charlotte has followed in her father’s footsteps to become a lawyer in the town herself: the ideal good daughter. However, violence comes to Pikeville again, and a shocking tragedy leaves the whole town traumatized. This time Charlotte is plunged into her own nightmare. She is the first witness on the scene, but it’s a case that unleashes the terrible memories she’s spent so long trying to suppress. She calls Samatha for help because the shocking truth about the crime that destroyed the family nearly thirty years ago won’t stay buried forever.

The Author

Karin Slaughter is one of the world’s most popular and acclaimed storytellers. Published Karin Slaughterin 120 countries with more than 35 million copies sold across the globe, her eighteen novels include the Grant County and Will Trent books, as well as the Edgar-nominated Cop Town and the instant New York Times bestselling novels Pretty Girls and The Good Daughter. Slaughter is the founder of the Save the Libraries project—a nonprofit organization established to support libraries and library programing. A native of Georgia, Karin Slaughter lives in Atlanta. Her Will Trent series, Grant County series, and standalone novel Cop Town are all in development for film and television.

Val Penny

Doing It My Way: The Joy Of Being An Authorpreneur by guest author Elizabeth Ducie

I am delighted that my friend and fellow Swanwicker Elizabeth Ducie has taken time to visit my blog today to share her expertese and experience about writing. Elizabeth, over to you.

9.JPGThe term authorpreneur is defined in Urban Dictionary as ‘An author who creates a written product, participates in creating their own brand, and actively promotes that brand through a variety of outlets.’ Although I was traditionally published when I working in the pharmaceutical industry, these days I am self-published, see myself very definitely as an authorpreneur; and am loving every moment.

2018 has been a very busy year for me, writing-wise. Although come to think of it, the previous couple of years haven’t been particularly quiet either! But at one point earlier this year, I had seven books in the pipeline, all due for publication during the summer or autumn.

September saw the publication of Corruption!, the third and final part in the series of Suzanne Jones thrillers set in the sometimes murky world of international pharmaceuticals. Well, I say the final part, but so many people have come back to me and said they don’t want the series to end, that I may just have to reconsider that at some point. But not yet; I have been writing about Suzanne, Charlie and Francine since the beginning of this decade and I need to have a go at something different for a while.

CoversI have had the idea for a novel running around in my head almost since I started my journey towards ‘telling lies for a living’ back in 2006. I have the settings clearly designed: five places in Russia that were significant to the Romanovs during their three hundred year ruling dynasty. I think it’s probably going to be a time slip, with a contemporary thread and a separate story moving forwards from 1613 to 1917. And that’s as far as I’ve got.

I worked in Russia between 1993 and 2007. I am pretty well prepared for writing the contemporary thread. But the historical story requires a significant amount of research. So, I’ve given myself a year off from novel writing in order to get the reading and planning done. I will start writing this new novel on 1st November 2019, at the kick-off of next year’s NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month).

In addition to the Suzanne Jones series, I’ve recently re-issued books 1 to 3 in my series on business skills for authors, The Business of Writing. I have another three parts of the series in preparation, but three is enough for me to start some serious marketing.

Everyone in this industry knows how crowded it is and how important marketing is for authors, especially independent ones. But in order to really benefit from any promotional spend, it’s beneficial to have more than one book available, so that satisfied readers can move on through the series.

I’ve neglected my marketing to some extent in the past couple of years. But now, with two series available, and a bit of a breathing space on the writing front, I’m going to have a real go at it. Which means getting to grips with ‘going wide’, learning how to write effective advertising copy, and keeping up to date with which tools are working well at the moment.

And as a way of testing my marketing campaigns, I’m going to launch a new series of books: Travels With… A mix of travel and memoir, they will be based on blog posts I wrote in previous year following various trips with members of my family. And one of them will be completely new material, based on a recent visit to the Outer Hebrides with my sisters.

BoW Parts 1-5In my spare time (!), I want to find homes for all the short stories I’ve written over the years. It remains to be seen whether that will be in magazines; or via short story competitions; or even via new collections I publish myself.

So, on reflection, 2019 looks like being just as busy as 2018. But I’m giving myself permission to play around, flit from project to project, and have fun. Doing it my own way, in fact. And that’s one of the great benefits and joys of being an authorprenuer.

Stoned Love by guest author Ian Patrick

It is lovely to be part of The Love Book Group Tour and be able to share an excerpt from Stoned Love by Ian Patrick published by Fahrenheit Press.

stoned love poster

The Blurb

Detective Sergeant Sam Batford has been lying low at a remote safe house in the highlands of Scotland. He’s doing his best not to attract the attention of the enemies he made, on both sides of the law, during his last under-cover operation but Batford knows he’s just killing time. Inevitably the sharks begin to circle and as Batford is called back to front-line action in London he’s thrown into a deadly game of cat and mouse where it seems everyone is out to get him. After having to endure a frustrating resolution to their previous undercover operation together DCI Klara Winter from the National Crime Agency is determined to prove that Batford has crossed the line into criminality and finally bring him to face justice. All Sam Batford wants is to outwit his enemies long enough to stay alive and come out ahead of the game.

stoned Love

The Excerpt

I observe the rat. It’s twitching, convulsing, foaming at the mouth. Its eyes pulsate at odds with its erratic heartbeat. I haven’t touched it. I’m just watching it die. I don’t wish to intervene in a sentient beings death. It’s chosen this path and taking any drug has its consequences. You see, this dirty rat has just consumed a corner of my kilo of cocaine and is now having a seizure as a result. This rat has cost me money but has shown me a valuable lesson in the dark side of my business. It’s time to get shot of the last five kilos I have sat in a salt bin, in the wood by the cottage I’ve inhabited for the last month. I’m here because the police have put me here. They have a duty of care to all serving police officers, of which I am one.

I enter the adjoining garage and find a coalscuttle scoop with a broken wooden handle. I need to get rid of the rat. I clear dead leaves and bracken from the strip of corrugated iron that covers the hole where my cash is buried in an old ammunition box. I’m mindful not to disturb any creature that has bedded down in the vicinity. Why should they suffer as a result of a drug-addled rodent?

I started off with one hundred and sixty kilos of pure white powder and now have five kilos, less the rat’s share, to shift. I have a buyer lined up for four but I know he’ll take the five. I pick the rat up by the tail. It’s dead. I decided against the scoop in case I was careless and pierced the already open package further.


The Authorian patrick

Ian spent twenty-seven years as a police officer, the majority as a detective within the Specialist Operations Command in London. A career in policing is a career in writing. Ian has been used to carrying a book and pen and making notes. Now retired, the need to write didn’t leave and evolved into fiction.

He now lives in rural Scotland where he divides his time between family, writing, reading and photography.



Antiques and Alibis by Wendy H. Jones

Antiques and Alibis by Wendy Jones was in the middle of my TBR pile. Therefore, I was delighted when she and her publishers, Scott and Lawson, arranged a blog tour with Love Books Group Tour and I had an excuse to move this new novel to the top of the list. My favourite genres of books is crime and I particularly enjoy reading the work of authors that are new to me. so this was a treat.

The Blurb

Cass Claymore, a red headed, motorbike riding, ex-ballerina inherits a Detective Agency, and accidentally employs an ex-con dwarf and an octogenarian. Hired by a client who should know better, Cass has no leads, no clue and a complete inability to solve a case. Still a girl needs to eat and her highbred client’s offering good money. Join her as, with bungling incompetence, she follows a trail littered with missing antique teddies, hapless crooks, a misplaced Lord of the Realm and dead bodies. Will Cass, and Scotland, survive?

Buy Link
My Review
Antiques and Alibis was the first book I had read by Wendy H Jones, although I had heard good things about her novels. I was pleased to come in at the beginning of this series featuring the new heroine Cass Claymore.
I have to admit that when I first read the main protagonist was a motor-bike riding, former ballerina who had inherited a Private Detective agency from her late uncle, I did wonder if this character had been created with the help of an on-line character generator. I was also concerned that there were also echoes of Where the Bodies are Buried where an aspiring actress works in her Uncle’s detective agency, but I needn’t have worried. Antiques and Alibis is an imaginative novel writen in a unique voice with wit and humour. When you add in the enormous dog, the dwarf assistant and the aged grandfather, it all adds up to a most entertaining read.
The main charater of the book is Cassandra ‘Cass’ Claymore, the ginger haired owner of her the private detective agency set up by her uncle. This coincided with her forced retirement as principal dancer for the Royal Ballet due to a drunk driver who damaged her knee. So she now indulges her other first love: motorbikes. She has a black Yamaha.
Her interactions with the people she meets are so sharp and engaging. I loved her as a character and also her dwarf companion and employee Quill.
Quill is a soft spoken man who can charm the ladies and also has a few other skills Cass doesn’t want to know about. When you add these two together and set them to look for an antique Steiff Teddy Bear; a lost brother, whom no one truly misses except his sister, then you have the makings of a laugh out loud book. Along the way you meet Cass’s family, Quill’s acquaintances all of whom add to the general bonhomie of solving the mystery.
I was delighted by the originality of the writer’s voice in Antiques and Alibis. I found this a most entertaining read and highly recommend it.

Antiques and Alibis book.jpg

The Author

Award Winning Author Wendy H. Jones lives in Scotland, and her police procedural series featuring Detective Inspector Shona McKenzie, is set in the beautiful city of Dundee, Scotland. Wendy has led a varied and adventurous life. Her love for adventure led to her joining the Royal Navy to undertake nurse training. After six years in the Navy she joined the Army where she served as an Officer for a further 17 years. This took herwendy jones all over the world including Europe, the Middle East and the Far East.

Much of her spare time is now spent travelling around the UK, and lands much further afield. As well as nursing Wendy also worked for many years in Academia. This led to publication in academic textbooks and journals.

Killer’s Countdown is her first novel and the first book in the Shona McKenzie Mystery series. Killer’s Crew won the Books Go Social Book of the Year 2107. There are now six books in this series with Killer’s Crypt being released in August, 2017. The Dagger’s Curse is the first book in The Fergus and Flora Mysteries for Young Adults. This book is currently shortlisted for the Woman Alive Magazine Readers Choice Award Book of the Year. She is also a highly successful marketer and she shares her methods in the book, Power Packed Book Marketing.

Twitter Handle


Do enjoy the rest of Wendy’s tour>


Val Penny