Whatever your faith or beliefs, midwinter is an excellent time to put on fairy-lights, plan a feast and gather friends for mulled wine and conversation. This is a tinsel-trimmed, festive edition of the Readers Club newsletter.
I’ve written a special Christmas story, exclusively for Readers Club members, which you can download below.
The Soho Jazz Murders is on track for publication in January, and I’m getting cracking on the third book in the series. In the meantime, I have some recommendations of Christmassy releases from writer friends, as well as promotions to keep you jingling all the way.
Diamonds Are For Christmas
This festive short story features a sparkling Christmas from Mrs Jameson’s younger days–with a touch of mystery, of course. It’s December 24, 1892 and Iris is nineteen years old. She’s visiting Rome for the first time with her dauntless Aunt Isabel, and the Christmas Eve Ball at the Palazzo del Fiori is about to go very wrong…
The story is dedicated to my friends George and Christina, who took me to the Venerable English College in Rome this Spring and sparked the idea for the story.
Download link here: https://dl.bookfunnel.com/j6jgvcwnh7
Recommendations: A Christmas mystery special
I’m long been a fan of Benedict Brown, whose 1920s-set Lord Edgington mysteries are a delight. He has a new Christmas book out, The Christmas Bell Mystery, featuring the revered detective and his less-revered grandson Chrissie as they investigate a classic whodunnit in a snowbound manor house.
Verity Bright has a new Christmas book too – Lady Eleanor Swift is hoping for snowy walks on the Cornish cliffs after an invitation from a friend of her uncle. Godfrey Cunliffe has asked her to stay in Cornwall for the holidays – but only because he believes his gardener is trying to poison him! Eleanor hurries down to his picturesque manor house with her butler Clifford. But they arrive too late to stop the crime…
Lying dead at the bottom of the steep cliffs, however, is not Mr Cunliffe, but the gardener himself. And his plans for restoring the gardens to their former glory are missing. Jerome St Clair has gone from suspect to victim. This certainly puts a twist in the tinsel!
I’ll be tuning into BBC One at Christmas for the glitzy new two-part adaptation of Agatha Christie’s Murder Is Easy, starring Penelope Wilton (from Downton Abbey) as the inquisitive Miss Pinkerton. I’m also looking forward to Dope Girls, a drama set in the same 1920s Soho night club world as my next Marjorie Swallow mystery, The Soho Jazz Murders.
Talking of which, The Soho Jazz Murders has been checked over by my advance reader team, who have given it the thumbs up. I’m hoping to publish it a little earlier than planned, so if you’ve pre-ordered, it should be with you around January 18. If you haven’t ordered it yet, why not do so now? Think how pleased you’ll be to have something fun to read in January!
And I’m already researching and planning the next in the series. I’ve visited the Chelsea Physic Garden, read a fascinating account of the plant hunting adventures of Frank Kingdon Ward and looked up the Chelsea Flower Show of 1923 in the British Newspaper Archive. All I need to do now is write it.
More cosy crime and historical mysteries
I’m taking part in two e-book promotions this month.
December to Remember Cozy Mystery Sales event
December Free Cozy Mysteries
The Big Give!
Christmas is about giving, and there’s one charity I always support this time of year. When I was a child, the best thing about Christmas was getting book tokens, or a longed-for new book in my stocking. But for some children living in poverty, there will be no book to treasure this Christmas.
The charity Book Trust gives books to children in need in the UK. It works with families and schools to support children with their reading. And at Christmas, it sends book parcels to children who might otherwise have no gifts. This may be the only book they own.
Books have been my comfort, refuge and escape since I was old enough to read. That’s why I donate to Book Trust, so that other children can grow up with their own treasured books.