New Book Alert!

I’m very happy to announce that Poison at Pemberton Hall, book 1 in the Vita Carew series, is published as an ebook on Amazon tomorrow (paperback coming soon). Here’s the blurb:

December 1903. A glittering musical evening ends in catastrophe. Is the famous chef’s seafood really to blame or are the tangled secrets of Pemberton Hall about to unravel?

To Vita a grand gala occasion is nothing but a dull distraction from her studies. But when disaster strikes, she helps the stricken victims. She soon discovers a desperate governess, a scheming footman and an operatic diva with big ambitions all had good reason to disrupt the glamorous country house dinner. But who did, and why? And can she stop the poisoner before he or she strikes again?

I had fun with this one! It is my therapeutic escape from the pressures of 2020 – I hope it will distract you too.

Poison at Pemberton Hall is a prequel to A Thin Sharp Blade, which was published in April. The challenge was to introduce the characters and explain how Aunt Louisa came to have such a very distinguished chef working for her in her modest house in Eden Street.

Italian inspiration for the older crime writer

When he died in July at the age of 93, Andrea Camilleri, had published about 90 detective stories, 30 of them the hugely popular Montalbano stories set in Sicily. Camilleri started the Montalbano series in his mid 60s. He was, as The Guardian obituary put it, “not so much an author as a one-man literary production line”. Some years, when he was in his 80s, he published as many as eight novels.

Andrea Camilleri – prolific into his nineties

Maestro Camilleri was a fascinating and admirable character. He had a previous successful life as an innovative theatre director and teacher, but it was at the age when most would retire that he first achieved a bestseller with the first Montalbano story set in Sicily. After that there was no stopping him.

Commissario Montlbano is known to UK viewers through a popular TV series. The dazzlingly wonderful landscapes of Sicily feature, alongside the slightly grumpy police officer and his cast of colleagues, including a pathologist who loves cakes and a girlfriend who only ever drops in. Reassuringly, no crime is ever too dreadful to prevent Montalbano going for a decent lunch.

So, if Camilleri is anything to go by, it seems quite conservative to plan another 20 or 30 novels in your sixties – or another 90, if you really put your back into the work.