To Catch a Creeper by Ellie Campbell – Excerpt and Giveaway!

Today I’m delighted to be taking part in the Fiction Addiction Book Tours promo blitz for To Catch a Creeper by Ellie Campbell.

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Published 24th March 2014.

“Cathy is riding high in her brand-new job at a (surprisingly bitchy) top London advertising agency working with best friend Rosa. But when Rosa’s pregnancy goes amiss and enemies sabotage her new career, she finds herself leading a chaotic double life of lies and deception, hiding a shameful secret from all, especially husband Declan who appears in the throes of a nervous breakdown.  

Meanwhile she’s agreed to unmask the notorious Crouch End Creeper, a burglar terrorizing their neighbourhood. Little does she know that her meddling, assisted by fellow mothers (the Wednesday Once Weeklies) and the Neighbourhood Watch, will lead their dangerous opponent to murder.  And that it’s not only the tall elegant transvestite who is placing herself at risk…”

BUY LINKS

Amazon UKAmazon US

EXCERPT

‘It must have been horrendously frightening, Cathy,’ Holly Willoughby’s sparkling white teeth are shining directly into my eyes causing me to spontaneously blink, ‘finding yourself stalked and then almost strangled to death.’

‘Oh yes,’ I nod and refill my water glass. ‘Terrifying.’

Although, I squirm as three huge cameras circle closer like a cackle of hyenas moving in for the kill, nowhere near as terrifying as being on live TV. All through the interview I keep getting these uncanny impulses to indulge in a touch of Tourette’s, spouting obscenities while intermittently flashing a nipple.

‘And then not only did you capture the culprit but you managed to turn the situation round and through it launched the most talked about advertising campaign this decade.’

‘Not just me…’ I grin bashfully as Camera One’s red light gives a little wink in my direction.

‘So as a woman who’s spent the last eight years as a mother and housewife,’ Holly continues brightly, ‘how are you finding it being back out in the workplace?’

How am I finding it? Fantastic. Sodding-bloody-fantastic, I want to reply but for some reason, ever since the camera did that little wink, my throat simply refuses to co-operate.

‘It’s a…a…’ I cough and reach for the water, ‘case of…’

‘And balancing this brand new exciting career with taking care of two primary-school age children?’ prompts her co-presenter nicely. ‘You must be very organised…’

‘Well, Joseph… I mean Jason… I mean…’

And that’s it. My mouth freezes while I rifle through my memory bank trying to recall his name. Jason or Joseph… But no, it can’t be either. Joseph was the biblical character that this guy portrayed at a West End theatre and Jason…he was the ex-Neighbours actor who also played Joseph as well as dating Kylie Minogue and picking David Guest’s nose on some reality show. So this guy, the one sitting in front of me, all mike-ed up, awaiting an answer while millions look on… God, who is he? Sweat pools under the armpits of my new Vivienne Westwood polka-dot dress with the waist-cinching corset as I scan and rescan his grey speckled hair and cute baby face. ‘The thing is…’

A reassuring hand rests on my arm. For the fifth time this morning, Rosa steps in to save me.

‘Oh she is, Phillip,’ she laughs lightly. ‘Super-organised, that’s our Cath. Packed lunches prepared night before. Uniforms folded neatly on chairs. Dishwasher and washing machine fully loaded. Plants watered. Fish fed. Wonderwoman has nothing on her.’
She slaps me on the back, just as I take another gulp of water. Instead of drowning the giant South American toad now living in my larynx, a fountain shoots out from my mouth and nose.

Holly smiles once more as she smoothly links back to the weather, before the cameras wheel away, allowing her to dab at her water-spotted jacket and mercifully ending the second most scary moment of my entire life.

ABOUT THE AUTHORS

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Ellie Campbell is a pseudonym for sisters, Pam Burks and Lorraine Campbell who collaborate across the mighty Atlantic from their respective homes in Surrey, England and Colorado, USA, finding writing together a great excuse for endless phone conversations.   Together they have written three previous novels How To Survive Your Sisters, When Good Friends Go Bad and Looking For La La.   They love any chance to connect with their readers.

Pam and Lorraine 3 and 5 biggerLORRAINE AND PAM SIX AND EIGHT

Ellie Campbell is represented by the Hardman & Swainson Literary Agency (www.hardmanswainson.com). For further information and to get in contact with them please visit their website: http://www.chicklitsisters.com.

AUTHOR LINKS

FacebookTwitter: @ecampbellbooksGoodreads | Pinterest

CHECK OUT LOOKING FOR LA LA

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“In a recent survey 65% of mothers admitted feeling undervalued, over-criticised and constantly tired.

Cathy is no exception. Her dull, uneventful days as a stay at home, mother of two, are radically transformed however with the arrival of a heavily lipsticked postcard addressed to husband, Declan. Who is the mysterious La La? Could Declan really be having an affair? And is Cathy actually being stalked?

Whatever – it will definitely prove riveting gossip for the Tuesday Twice Monthlies, Cathy’s ‘Mothers Restaurant Research’ group where scandal flows as recklessly as the wine. But what starts as a light-hearted investigation with best friend Raz, soon turns into something much more sinister.

With a possible murderer on the scene, a sexy admirer igniting long-forgotten sparks, and all her friends hiding secrets, it’s not only Cathy’s marriage that’s in jeopardy. Add in the scheming antics of Declan’s new assistant, the stress of organising the school Save The Toilet’s dance and the stage is set for a dangerous showdown and some very unsettling, possibly deadly, revelations.”

Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.com

GIVEAWAY

Ellie Campbell is generously offering a giveaway of a paperback copy of To Catch a Creeper PLUS £5/$10 Amazon Gift Card. This giveaway is open Internationally.

To enter, click on the Rafflecopter link below:

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OFFERS

The authors have kindly set up two offers to coincide with launch week:

Looking for La La is discounted to 99cents/99pence from Monday 24th to 30th March

US  http://www.amazon.com/Looking-for-La-ebook/dp/B00BJH29QQ

UK http://www.amazon.co.uk/Looking-for-La-ebook/dp/B00BJH29QQ

How to Survive Your Sisters will be free Wednesday 26th to 30th March – US only

http://www.amazon.com/How-Survive-Your-Sisters-ebook/dp/B00BJH2D2G

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Waiting For Prince Harry by Aven Ellis – Cover Reveal and Giveaway!

Today I’m delighted to be taking part in the Fiction Addiction Book Tours cover reveal blitz for Waiting For Prince Harry by Aven Ellis.

And what a gorgeous cover it is!

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Coming in 2014 – Publisher Soul Mate.

“Twenty-four-year-old Kylie Reed has always been a rule follower. Organized and cautious to a fault, her dreams for life are often filed away for future use—when she has a house, when she meets her future husband, when she has been at her visual display job at a chic Dallas boutique longer…Kylie always has a reason for living her life in the future, not in the present, and not living her life to the fullest and reaching her dream of becoming a fashion designer.  

The only exception to rules, of course, would be running away with Prince Harry—Kylie’s ideal man. A hot, fun ginger boy would be worth breaking all the rules for, of course.  And Kylie is sure Harry just needs the right, centering woman to settle him down.  But living in Dallas and not knowing Prince Harry make this a non-option.

Or does it?

Because when Kylie accidentally falls into the lap of a gorgeous ginger boy—yes, even more gorgeous than the real Prince Harry—all bets are off. Could this stranger be the one to show Kylie how to take a chance, to face her fears, and live in the present?  And could this stranger be the Prince Harry she has been waiting for? Kylie’s life takes some unexpected twists and turns thanks to this chance encounter, and she knows her life will never be the same because of it…”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Author PhotoAven Ellis has been writing fiction since she was sixteen. She studied communications at a large Midwestern university, and after graduation, Aven worked as a reporter for a community newspaper, followed by a stint at a public relations agency.

But writing about city council meetings and restaurant franchises was not as much fun as writing for young women trying to figure out their careers and potential boyfriends. So Aven got herself a job in television that allowed her to write at night.  Connectivity is Aven’s debut novel; Waiting For Prince Harry and Chronicles of a Lincoln Park Fashionista (New Adult romantic comedy) will be published this year.

Aven lives in Dallas with her family. When she is not writing, Aven enjoys shopping, cooking, connecting with friends on social media, and watching any show that features Gordon Ramsay.

AUTHOR LINKS

Connect with me on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/AvenEllis1 

Talk to me on Twitter:

https://twitter.com/AvenEllis 

Visit me on the web:

http://www.avenellis.com/index.html 

Check out my pins on Pinterest:

http://pinterest.com/avenellis/

Check out Connectivity, Aven Ellis’ debut novel:

Connectivity

“Overachiever Mary-Kate Grant (who is indeed named after an Olsen Twin) has followed every rule to the letter to pursue her dream of working in TV programming. Ripping a page from the “hard work pays off” playbook, she takes an assistant level job at a Chicago sports network to break into the industry.

MK has no time or desire for a relationship right now—she is totally focused on her career and being independent, unlike the other women in her family.

But MK’s plans are run through the shredder when she finds herself working for William Cumberland, a British media mogul who made his fortune with Connectivity, a social media site. William blows into Chicago just like the winds off Lake Michigan and purchases the group of networks MK works for—and makes her his personal assistant in the process.

Suddenly MK finds her career plans in jeopardy. William makes her question everything she has ever thought and has the uncanny ability to see right through her. And for the first time in her life, MK finds herself not only questioning what she wants for her career but for her personal life as well…”

AMAZON | GOODREADS

Aven Ellis has featured twice before on Me, My Books and I – read her author interview here and read my review of Connectivity here.

GIVEAWAY

The giveaway on this blitz is 1 x ecopy of Waiting for Prince Harry (when it is published) and 1 x ecopy of Connectivity.  Open Internationally. Click the link below and follow the instructions to enter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck!

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Guest Post by Alison Jack – Dory’s Avengers Blog Tour Including Giveaway!

Today I’m delighted to be taking part in the Fiction Addiction Book Tour for Dory’s Avengers, featuring a fantastic guest post from author Alison Jack!

But first of all, lets introduce the book…

dorys avengers
Publisher: Book Guild Publishing

A brutal regime. A docile population. A glimmer of hope.

In a stifled and oppressed United Kingdom, nothing can be achieved without the approval of the dictatorial Sponsors, at whose head is the malevolent and cruel Lord William St Benedict. In Britain’s cities the Sponsored live narrow, if privileged, lives, while the Unsponsored are confined to menial roles and to ‘less desirable’ districts. Among the Sponsors’ many victims is Lord William’s own son, the forthright and charismatic Theodore – ‘Dory’ – held captive by his father since he was a boy.

In the unassuming town of Applethwaite, in the shadow of the Cumbrian fells, an unlikely revolution is brewing. Albino gymnast Louis Trevelyan and his motley group of friends are fiercely proud of their Unsponsored status and gradually forge a plan not only to liberate the beleaguered Theodore but the whole of the United Kingdom.

‘Dory’s Avengers’ are coming…!”

GUEST POST

Authors Rock!

A question I’m asked a lot is ‘Does it get lonely being an author?’ Knowing that my previous job had been a very sociable one, my friends were particularly concerned to begin with when I voiced my ambition to become an author, wondering how I’d cope with life holed up in a lonely garret, scribbling words that no one will ever read, warming my ink-stained hands over a spluttering candle, going slightly mad…

Stop right there! The old fashioned image of the garret-dwelling quill-scraper is far removed from the reality of the modern day author, with the possible exception of the ‘going slightly mad’ bit. For starters, we all have computers now. No more ink stained hands – and we can network. Double bonus. We authors can network with each other, and we do!

About six months prior to publication of my debut novel Dory’s Avengers, I dipped my toe into the sea of bloggers, thinking it might be a good idea to start building my own platform. More simply put, I wanted some readers for my work, and realised they weren’t simply going to appear – I needed to go and find them. Was launching a blog a good idea? Yes, without a shadow of a doubt it was.

As soon as I started blogging, support came flooding in from my fellow authors, and the wholehearted generosity of this support has blown me away. No one’s in competition; no one’s trying to steal all the readers for themselves and to Hell with the rest. Every indie or self published author and every blogger I have befriended in the past year realises how difficult it is for new writers to gain the recognition they deserve, and everyone is happy to help promote their fellow writers’ work alongside their own. We’re all book lovers; and as any self respecting book lover will tell you, there can never be too many books. Through the online community of bloggers and authors (most of us wear both hats) I have been offered amazing opportunities to promote Dory’s Avengers, this fabulous Fiction Addiction tour being a perfect example. I’ve also learned so much about the modern day writing business, made wonderful new friends – one or two of whom I’ve actually (gasp) met in person – and been introduced to some highly entertaining and informative blogs.

I’ll admit it: I was more than a little sceptical when e-readers first hit the shops, but I quickly changed my mind. The e-reader gives unknown authors an exciting new opportunity to publish and promote their work, and as a result there’s so much good reading material available to buy that I can’t keep up. For the first time in my life I have books waiting to be read. BIG gasp – that’s never happened to this voracious reader before. And just when I thought things couldn’t get any more wonderful, I find that my favourite indie authors are reading my work. They’re liking it, promoting it, reviewing it, tweeting about it… Wow!

Writing a lonely profession? Not any more it’s not.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

official-author-photoAlison Jack has spent much of her adult life working in book distribution – Dory’s Avengers, however, is her first foray into the world of books as an author. She is a keen walker and has a particular love for the Lake District fells – the atmospheric setting for much of her novel.

Aside from writing her own novels and blogging, Alison spends a lot of time editing the work of other authors. When not writing, Alison enjoys reading, playing guitar – with more enthusiasm than skill – and wakeboarding. She lives near Cambridge with her partner and three cats.

AUTHOR LINKS

Alison’s Website | Alison’s Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

BUY THE BOOK

Amazon purchase links – UK LinkUS LinkCanada Link

Nook UK

Nook US

Kobo

GIVEAWAY 

The giveaway on this tour is 2 x signed hardback copies of Dory’s Avengers. UK and IRE only.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck!

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Geli Voyante’s Hot or Not by Elle Field Including Giveaway!

Today I’m delighted to be taking part in the book tour for Geli Voyante’s Hot or Not by Elle Field.  Thank you to Fiction Addiction Book Tours for sending me the eBook.

Hot or not

“Geli Voyante is bored of being the Hot or Not girl, even if it has the perk of sitting next to Theo, the newspaper’s very Hot political columnist. She’s also getting a little lonely being single.

When her arch-nemesis Tiggy Boodles gets engaged, and other loved ones start to settle down, it’s time for Geli to convince Theo that she’s not as shallow as her column suggests and, more importantly, she’s the one for him. Geli should remember though that there are always two sides to every story, and that applies to people too…”

MY REVIEW

The book began with an introduction to Geli’s job which I found fascinating, she seemed to have a lot of power over the readers of the newspaper she worked for and even she didn’t really understand why!  She had a huge crush on her good-looking colleague Theo and I found her reaction to him quite amusing.  I was surprised by how quickly things moved between them, I also had a strange feeling that he wasn’t everything Geli thought he was and about half way through I figured out what the big twist would be.

As a character Geli was mostly likeable, there were a couple of sides to her personality that irritated me but on the whole they weren’t enough to make me dislike her and I still wanted good things for her.  Her rival Tiggy was the perfect fictional ‘bad girl’, I could almost hear the boos whenever she came on the scene.

The witty writing style was enchanting and I had many favourite moments including: Geli’s marathon/politics mix up, an inappropriate crush and an entertaining trip to South Africa.  Following all this was a super eventful finale that had me flipping the pages to find out what would happen next!

This was a fun read filled with drama and humour, I look forward to reading more from this author.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Elle Field is a twenty-something chick lit author who lives in South London with her boyfriend. A social media consultant by day, she enjoys exploring and photographing Blighty’s capital, seeing far too many musicals, and eating her way around London’s culinary delights.

LINKS

Kept on Amazon | Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

BUY THE BOOK

Amazon.co.uk | Amazon.com

GIVEAWAY

For your chance to win 1 of 2 x £10/$20 Amazon Gift Cards click on the following link:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck!

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Sisters in Bloom by Melissa Foster

Today I’m delighted to be taking part in the book tour for Sisters in Bloom by Melissa Foster.  Thank you to Fiction Addiction Book Tours for sending me the eBook.

Book #2 in the 9 book Snow Sisters Series

“Kaylie Snow has always been the fun, flirty, pretty sister. Now her burgeoning baby bump, hormone-infused emotions, and faltering singing career are sending her into an unexpected identity crisis. Watching her older sister, Danica, glide through a major career change and a new relationship with the grace of a ballerina, Kaylie’s insecurities rise to the forefront—and her relationship with fiancé Chaz Crew is caught in the crossfire.

Chaz Crew has everything he’s ever wanted: a lovely fiancée, a baby on the way, and soon, the film festival he owns will host its biggest event ever. When he’s called away to woo the festival’s largest sponsor—and the lover he’s never admitted to having—secrets from his past turn his new life upside down.

With her baby shower around the corner and her fiancé’s big event looming, the pressure is on for Kaylie to pull herself together—and for Chaz to right his wrongs. In a few short weeks, the couple who had it all figured out will learn things about life and love that may change their minds—and their hearts.”

SISTERS IN BLOOM is a testament to the bond of sisters, the strength of women, and the pains and delights that accompany motherhood. A book for every mother, sister, and daughter, SISTERS IN BLOOM will resonate with readers who love to explore family dramas.

MY REVIEW

I was looking forward to reading this after enjoying the first book in the series Sisters in Love (review here).  The previous book had focused on Danica but this one was more about Kaylie and I was excited to find out what was going on in her life.  Getting into her mind showed me that she also felt insecure about certain things and this made me relate to her more easily than I did in the first book.  It was good to find out more about her boyfriend Chaz because I didn’t really know much about him – he turned out to be a really likeable character who had an interesting past.  Danica and Blake’s relationship was something that I wanted to catch up on so I was pleased when I realised that this book would revisit them too.

One of the biggest parts of this book involved the ups and downs of pregnancy and how it affects a woman.  When that woman is career driven and independent it successfully showed the variety of emotions she would face.  I felt that the author was accurate in her descriptions of pregnancy emotions and this meant that the storyline had a realistic atmosphere.

With regards to Kaylie and Danica’s relationship I found it fascinating to see things from both sides, it seemed that both of them felt like the insignificant sister and I enjoyed following the thought processes that got them to that conclusion.

There were plenty of secrets that were clearly only going to lead to trouble and these combined with a handful of seriously complicated relationships to produce a drama filled story.

I was surprised by an unexpected twist near the end and the heartwarming finish left me smiling and wondering where the sisters lives would be heading next!

LIB FB BANNER

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

mel author photo headshot400

Melissa Foster is the award-winning author of four International bestselling novels. Her books have been recommended by USA Today’s book blog, Hagerstown Magazine, The Patriot, and several other print venues. She is the founder of the Women’s Nest, a social and support community for women, the World Literary Café. When she’s not writing, Melissa helps authors navigate the publishing industry through her author training programs on Fostering Success. Melissa has been published in Calgary’s Child Magazine, the Huffington Post, and Women Business Owners magazine.

Melissa hosts an annual Aspiring Authors contest for children and has painted and donated several murals to The Hospital for Sick Children in Washington, DC. Melissa lives in Maryland with her family.

Visit Melissa on The Women’s NestFostering Success, or World Lit Cafe.

AUTHOR LINKS

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Pinterest | Goodreads

BUY THE BOOK

Amazon.com | Amazon.co.uk | Barnes & Noble

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Conditional Love – Cathy Bramley – Blog Tour and Giveaway!

Today I’m delighted to be taking part in the blog tour for Conditional Love by Cathy Bramley.  Thank you to Fiction Addiction Book Tours for sending me the eBook.

Conditional Love
ISBN-13: 978-1490923765

“Meet Sophie Stone, a thirty-something, serial procrastinator. Tesco knickers, Take That, and tea with two sugars is about as exciting as it gets. But when her boyfriend dumps her on Valentine’s Day and a mysterious benefactor leaves her an inheritance, even Sophie has to accept that change is afoot.

There is a catch: a condition in the will that threatens the very foundations of Sophie’s world. What did the old lady want her to discover? Was there more to her parents’ break up than she was led to believe?

With an evil boss, bickering flat mates, manipulative mother and sexy ex-boyfriend, Sophie has plenty to contend with without the brooding architect who puts his foot in it every time he opens his mouth.

She will have to face the past and learn some shocking home truths before she can finally get her own happy-ever-after.”

MY REVIEW

I quickly got the impression that Sophie’s love life was not very successful and found it super easy to warm to her character, I believe the comfortable style of writing was partially responsible for that.  Her naivety was just one of the things that made me like her so much, I enjoyed seeing how her character grew throughout the storyline and became more sure about her own life.  I also really liked her roommates who were sisters and very entertaining – they certainly added another fun twist to the book.

An unexpected letter from a solicitor had the potential to change Sophie’s life in a big way and I felt excited to join her as she embarked on a new chapter in her life.  This led to her first meeting with Nick the architect and I enjoyed this moment immensely, Nick was another wonderful character who brought a little bit of mystery to the storyline – I was constantly wondering what was going through his mind!

For me this was a well-rounded book, there were some touching moments and quite serious subjects were raised but there were also lots of funny moments, one of my favourites being Sophie’s boardroom faux pas which had me laughing out loud as I was reading.  It was a book that I couldn’t wait to get back to whenever I had other things I needed to do, I was just so keen to discover what was going to happen next!

This was a fun, captivating read.  I would love to read more about these characters.

Conditional Love by Cathy Bramley is available as a paperback or e-book from Amazon, published by Apples and Pears Marketing in October 2013.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

After growing up in Birmingham, Cathy went to Nottingham Trent University at the ripe old age of eighteen and five days to study European Business. Upon graduating she spent the next few years in the corporate world of marketing working on high-powered projects such as testing the firing range of SuperSoaker waterguns, adding hair extensions to Girls’ World styling heads and perfecting the weeing action of Tiny Tears. After making it onto Timmy Mallet’s Christmas card list, she realised it was time to move on and so in 1995 set up her own agency, Apples & Pears Marketing.

Avid fans of the TV series, Cathy and her husband realised their Grand Designs’ dream of building their own house in 2011. They now live in rural Nottinghamshire with their two daughters and a cockerpoo called Pearl.

This project provided the inspiration for Cathy’s debut novel Conditional Love, although it is by no means autobiographical, apart from the unfortunate incident in the boardroom! She shares her time between her marketing agency, writing and taxiing the girls endlessly from one activity to the next.

Cathy is a fan of Masterchef, strong coffee, chocolate brazils and Marian Keyes books. She is addicted to her Kindle and has an irrational fear of bananas.

To find out more:

Blog | Twitter | Facebook

GIVEAWAY

The INTERNATIONAL giveaway on this tour is for this gorgeous heart necklace (plus an ecopy of Conditional Love).

Enter here:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck!

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Murder on a Summer’s Day – Frances Brody – Cover Reveal Blitz and Giveaway!

Today I’m delighted to be taking part in the Fiction Addiction Book Tours cover reveal blitz for Murder on a Summer’s Day by Frances Brody.

And here it is:

Cover Murder on a Summer's Day

Publisher: Piatkus (3 Oct 2013)
416 pages
ISBN-10: 034940058X
ISBN-13: 978-0349400587

Murder on a Summer’s Day is the fifth novel in the Kate Shackleton Mystery Series set in 1920s Yorkshire.

“A Maharajah on the Moors

When the India Office seek help in finding Maharajah Narayan, last seen hunting on the Bolton Abbey estate, they call upon the expertise of renowned amateur detective Kate Shackleton to investigate.

A Priceless Jewel

But soon a missing person’s case turns to murder. Shot through the heart, it’s clear to Kate that Narayan’s body has not been in the woods overnight. Who brought it here, and from where? And what has happened to the hugely valuable diamond that was in the Maharajah’s possession?

An inexplicable murder . . .

As Kate digs deeper, she soon discovers that vengeance takes many forms. Was the Maharajah’s sacrilegious act of shooting a white doe to blame? Or are growing rumours of a political motive too powerful for Kate to discount?

One thing Kate is sure of: her own skills and insights. Qualities that she is sure will help her unravel a mysterious murder on that fateful summer’s day . . .”

To purchase Murder on a Summer’s Day click on the following links:

Amazon UK Kindle Edition | Amazon UK Paperback | Amazon US Kindle Edition

EXCERPT

Kate Shackleton receives a dawn telephone call from her cousin James, a civil servant in the India Office. James tells Kate that a visiting Indian prince has gone missing from the Duke of Devonshire’s Yorkshire estate, leaving behind his female companion, a former Folies Bergere dancer. James asks Kate to investigate. Housekeeper Mrs Sugden offers her usual sterling support.

James’s briefing had left me feeling less than well-armed for the task ahead. What was a maharajah of Gattiawan doing in Yorkshire? Why was he visiting Bolton Abbey before the start of the shooting season? Today was Saturday, 2 August, so open season, but with ten days to go before grouse-shooting began, on the Glorious Twelfth.
James had not even told me when the maharajah and his companion arrived in Yorkshire.
I checked my watch. Ten minutes to six.
Mrs Sugden called from the doorway. ‘I’ve found summat about maharajahs.’
‘I’ll be there in a tick.’
Fortunately, Mrs Sugden is a fast reader and The Times Court Circulars have the virtue of brevity. She placed the relevant pages on the piano stool, drawing it up to the chaise longue.
We sat side by side as she tapped the page with her ridged fingernail and read, ‘The Maharajah of Kapurthala is the first Indian Prince to visit the British Empire Exhibition. He expressed his satisfaction with the Punjab Court exhibit. He has now returned to Paris, but will be back.’
‘What about Gattiawan?’
Mrs Sugden is nothing if not thorough. ‘Aga Khan … Maharajah of Rajpipla at the Savoy Hotel … Maharajah of Nawanger … They’ll all know each other. Probably rivals, and one of them has done away with another, perhaps sent an assassin. It’s like Shakespeare. Ah, here he is. The Maharajah of Gattiawan arrived at Marseilles yesterday in the SS Malwa on his way to London.’
I looked at the item, dated 26 April. It gave no indication whether the maharajah was travelling overland, or stopping on the way. ‘Nothing else since then?’
She shook her head. ‘Nowt else in Court Circulars, only an article about the good command of English among educated Indians, from the Special Correspondent in Bombay.’
There was nothing for it but to set off, feeling less than well-prepared.
I shrugged into my motoring coat.
Mrs Sugden followed me along the garden path. ‘You don’t have much luggage. Have you packed an evening dress?’
‘The Delphos robe.’ I opened the car door and got in quickly, before she had time for more questions.
She frowned at my choice of evening wear. ‘I suppose that Delphos gown doesn’t betray its age. But I can pack another bag for you.’
I started the motor. ‘If I need anything else, I’ll send you a telegram.’ My mind already raced ahead. Prince Narayan of Gattiawan, where are you?
Mrs Sugden waved, folding her other arm around herself against the morning chill.
A sudden thought propelled her through the gate. She leaned into the motor. ‘Be careful. They all carry daggers, and they’re very good at strangling.’
‘I’ll try to stay in one piece, throat intact.’
As I drove away I heard her call something about the black hole of Calcutta, but my thoughts were already on the missing man, the lovers’ tiff, and the mysterious Miss Metcalfe who had hooked herself an Indian prince.
James wanted to rule out theft and foul play. The Yorkshire Dales has its sprinkling of poachers. But jewel thieves, murderers? Surely not.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Frances BrodyFrances Brody writes the highly acclaimed mystery series set in 1920s Yorkshire, featuring First World War widow turned sleuth, Kate Shackleton; twice nominated for the Crime Writers’ Association Dagger in the Library. As Frances McNeil, she has written for radio, theatre and television and published sagas, winning the HarperCollins Elizabeth Elgin Award for the most regionally evocative debut saga of the millennium.

Visit Frances online at

www.frances-brody.com on Facebook Http://Facebook.com/FrancesBrody , Twitter @FrancesBrody, or on Goodreads.

GIVEAWAY

There are 2 x signed copies of Murder on a Summer’s Day up for grabs (UK only), just follow the link below to enter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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