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Let’s Talk About Cats. Conversations On Feline Behaviour by Anita Kelsey

Let’s Talk About Cats: Conversations on Feline Behaviour features 16 unique in-depth conversations with devoted feline experts, each chapter answering a question about our cats. An abundance of catty conversation points which provide many useful takeaways for cat owners to improve their own every-day connection with their cats.

This book, the first of its kind, presents the combined wisdom of experts from all over the world on the psychology, behaviour, diet and training of cats, in a relaxed and conversational style. Contributors include Jackson Galaxy, star of My Cat From Hell, and composer David Teie, whose ground-breaking album, Music for Cats, was released by the Universal Music Group.

Each illuminating chapter exudes a love for cats and a wealth of fascinating insights.

This book is packed with helpful advice, guidance and true stories from the author’s own professional experience of cat care topics, explaining the most important cat concepts, giving food for thought and expanding on all the most important issues and debates in the cat world.

 

My review

This book does exactly what it says on the cover: it talks about cats. It consists of a collection of interviews with a range of experts in the feline field. It’s absolutely fascinating!

It’s a book that will appeal predominantly to cat lovers, but anyone interested in animals in general is sure to find it a rewarding read.

Cats are looked at from all angles – from how similar their behaviour is to that of wild cats, to whether they like music, to how to communicate using both language and telepathy with them, to keeping them happy, well groomed, properly fed and cared for. It’s a positive wealth of information and gives you lots to think about.

Some of the interviewees are every bit as fascinating as the feline subject matter of this book.

I learnt an awful lot from ‘Let’s Talk About Cats’ and I’m sure our six cats, all waifs and strays collected over the years, will benefit from my new knowledge and understanding of these intelligent and complex creatures.

I now have a much better idea what our Treacle (pictured left) is thinking about… Gigi (pictured below), who loves to sit in the dustpan, may, however, be a tougher nut to crack!

Absolutely one to read.

 

 

Purchase Links:

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Lets-Talk-About-Cats-Conversations-ebook/dp/B08HKNXBFT

US – https://www.amazon.com/Lets-Talk-About-Cats-Conversations-ebook/dp/B08HKNXBFT

 

If anyone would like the chance to win a free copy of Let’s Talk About Cats plus some fun cat toys from Purrs In Our Hearts and 4Cats then join the Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/letstalkaboutcats

There will be 5 fun cat photo competitions posted on 23rd Nov With the entries closing 4th Dec. Rules and how to enter on the page.

Author Bio –

Anita Kelsey holds a first class honours degree in Feline Behaviour and Psychology (work based BA Hons) and runs a vet referral service dedicated strictly to the diagnosis and treatment of behaviour problems in cats. She is also a qualified cat groomer and specialises in grooming aggressive or phobic cats. Anita writes for Your Cat Magazine and is on their experts panel answering readers questions on cat grooming. She also advises on feline behaviour for the CFBA (Canine and Feline Behaviour) magazine as well as being a full member. Anita, a strong advocate of a vegan lifestyle, is based in London but consults all over the UK as well as international requests. She lives with her husband, a music producer, and two Norwegian Forest cats, Kiki and Zaza.

Her debut book ‘Claws. Confessions Of A Professional Cat Groomer‘ was published by John Blakes in 2018 and her second book Let’s Talk About Cats, Conversation On Feline Behaviour is due out November 28th 2020.

Visit http://www.catbehaviourist.com.

Twitter: https://twitter.com/catbehaviourist

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/cat_behaviourist/

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/catbehaviourist/

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A Real Royal Christmess by Linda West

A Real Royal Christmess

Jess is trying to win back her boyfriend, who dumped her for being boring. Jamie is trying to complete his father’s bucket list before he takes the Crown. Both of them are hiding who they truly are, and when the truth is discovered, it’s a real royal Christmess!

 

My review

There’s quite a strong element of fairy tale in this fun and festive novel where rather boring accountant meets dashing, secret royal. It has a winter holiday background so is very seasonal.

Our two main characters are chalk and cheese. Jamie is outgoing, caring, laid back and a little economical with the truth at times. Jess is earnest, a touch needy, and frankly exasperating in her attempts to win back her boyfriend who is so not worth it! She takes a while to warm to. However, we do ultimately care what happens to her. Her friend Molly is altogether more feisty and engaging, and she plays an important part in the story.

It’s an entertaining, quirky story and makes for a fairly quick read. It’ll while a winter’s evening very enjoyably.

 

Purchase Links

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B08KTMFCK4

US – https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08KTMFCK4

Author Bio

Linda West is the best selling author of the adorable and enchanting “Christmas Kisses and Cookies.” It is a delightful series of holiday romances based around the town of Kissing Bridge and the magical Landers sisters who are the reigning blue ribbon cookie queens thanks to their mothers’ ‘special’ recipe book.

Linda was the owner of Mayberry – a celebrity-filled restaurant in Malibu where many of her recipes enchanted the regulars such as Tom Hanks and Anthony Hopkins to name a few. Her recipes are sprinkled throughout her fiction books much to the delight of her fans.

Her newest venture is in the cosy mystery and humour genre. With – Death by Crockpot – the first in her newest series, Linda takes her favourite known characters from Kissing Bridge and throws them into some side-splitting funny adventures.

 

Social Media Links –

https://twitter.com/Morningmayan

http://www.morningmayan.com/

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Quickie review: Ingredients by George Zaidan

Blurb

Cheese puffs. Coffee. Sunscreen. Vapes. George Zaidan reveals what will kill you, what won’t, and why—explained with high-octane hilarity, hysterical hijinks, and other things that don’t begin with the letter H.

Ingredients offers the perspective of a chemist on the stuff we eat, drink, inhale, and smear on ourselves. Apart from the burning question of whether you should eat that Cheeto, Zaidan explores a range of topics. Here’s a helpful guide:

Stuff in this book:
– How bad is processed food? How sure are we?
– Is sunscreen safe? Should you use it?
– Is coffee good or bad for you?
– What’s your disease horoscope?
– What is that public pool smell made of?
– What happens when you overdose on fentanyl in the sun?
– What do cassava plants and Soviet spies have in common?
– When will you die?

Zaidan, an MIT-trained chemist who cohosted CNBC’s hit Make Me a Millionaire Inventor and wrote and voiced several TED-Ed viral videos, makes chemistry more fun than Hogwarts as he reveals exactly what science can (and can’t) tell us about the packaged ingredients sold to us every day. Sugar, spinach, formaldehyde, cyanide, the ingredients of life and death, and how we know if something is good or bad for us—as well as the genius of aphids and their butts—are all discussed in exquisite detail at breakneck speed.

My review

This book is absolutely fascinating, and written in such an enjoyable way. Think mad professor, eccentric genius, and that’s the author, and I mean that as a massive compliment. He brings such life and fun to a rather serious subject.

We cover a huge variety of ingredients in the three parts of this mine of information. The first part focusses on processed food, plants and microbes. Part Two is intriguingly named ‘how bad is bad’ and weighs up certainty versus uncertainty, and Part Three, Should you eat that Cheese Puff or not, takes a level-headed but joyous look at the alleged evils of many familiar items, edible and otherwise. It finishes with the chapter ‘So what do I do’?’
I’ll tell you what to do – read this book and you’ll come away much better informed and more able to assess for yourself all the food warnings and/or enthusiastic promotions that bombard us practically all the time.
And you’ll know what some of the 950+ chemicals in roasted coffee are.

Writing this review – rather longer after reading the book than intended – has reminded me of exactly how informative and entertaining it was. I’m going to have to read it again now.
I hope we’ll see more from this author.

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Quickie review: Murder in the Christmas Tree Lot by Judith Gonda

Blurb

Landscape architect Tory Benning returns in a holiday mystery tied up with a bow!

Still struggling with the death of her husband, Tory Benning is doing her best to get into the festive spirit of the holiday season, but when her landscaping company’s email is hacked and there’s a break-in at the office, it’s enough to make her see red. And then the unthinkable happens, when the owner of a specialty food truck is brutally slain at the company’s Christmas tree lot, and Tory finds herself mired in murder once again.

With a long list of suspects—including an untold number of revelers disguised in Santa suits, seasonal employees handling tree sales, and even a vengeful jilted suitor—the police investigation grinds along slowly and methodically. But as Tory begins piecing together clues on her own, she finds she’s the target of a menacing stalker who may be out to do more than just scare her. Refusing to be intimidated, Tory vows to nab the culprit, even if it means that catching a Christmas killer has become her lot in life . . .

 

My review

A thoroughly enjoyable festive cosy with a strong and likeable heroine. Unlike many amateur sleuths, who tend towards the ditzy, Tory is understated, calm and gracious.

The plot is clever and intriguing, with plenty of seasonal overtones. Setting is well constructed, and you get a very strong sense of community. People pull together here – apart from when they’re bumping each other off, of course! The author gets the balance just right – we get glimpses of enough people to show this is a small town but we don’t get swamped by a sea of names.

Throughout Tory is continuing to come to terms with the loss of her husband, and this adds an extra layer to the story.

There’s excitement, tension, friendship, loyalty and courage. A wonderful read.

 

Kindle book available at all Amazon stores.

Published by Beyond the Page Publishing.

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Murder at the Gorge by Frances Evesham

Synopsis

When the Exham-on-Sea residents are targeted by anonymous emails containing apparently harmless nursery rhymes, no one knows whether to laugh or shudder until an unexplained death touches the town.

Libby Forest, baker, chocolatier and Exham’s very own resident private investigator, alongside her partner Max Ramshore, set out to solve the puzzle before more people die. But when Max’s ex-wife arrives on the scene, ahead of Max and Libby’s long-awaited nuptials, things go from bad to worse.

With the town and their relationship under threat, Max and Libby need the help of the Exham History Society if they’re going to find the nursery rhyme killer in time.

Murder at the Gorge is the seventh in a series of Exham-on-Sea Murder Mysteries set at the small English seaside town full of quirky characters, sea air, and gossip.

If you love Agatha Christie-style mysteries, cosy crime, clever dogs and cake, then you’ll love these intriguing whodunnits.

 

My review

This is an enjoyable, absorbing read, very much character-driven but with a strong sense of setting and a plot that’s complex and clever. You need to keep your wits about you because there’s a lot more happening than you might think. Murder at the Gorge is a deceptively simple.

Max and Libby are both very likeable characters, both empathetic and sympathetic. They make a good team with a variety of strengths between them. However, Stella’s resurfacing – she’s Max’s ex-wife – threatens to throw a very big spanner into their smooth-working machinery.

There’s a good cast of supporting actors, with plenty of action to interest the reader all the way through. It’s well written, and makes for a rewarding read.

 

Purchase Link – https://amzn.to/3cnJN1F

Author bio

Frances Evesham is the author of the hugely successful Exham-on-Sea Murder Mysteries set in her home county of Somerset. In her spare time, she collects poison recipes and other ways of dispatching her unfortunate victims. She likes to cook with a glass of wine in one hand and a bunch of chillies in the other, her head full of murder?fictional only.

 

 

Social Media Links

http://facebook.com/frances.evesham.writer

http://twitter.com/FrancesEvesham

http://instagram.com/francesevesham

http://bookbub.com/authors/frances-evesham

Newsletter sign up: https://bit.ly/FrancesEveshamNewsletter

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Quickie review: The Unexpected Mrs Pollifax by Dorothy Gilman

Synopsis

Mrs. Virgil (Emily) Pollifax of New Brunswick, New Jersey, was a widow with grown children. She was tired of attending her Garden Club meetings. She wanted to do something good for her country. So, naturally, she became a CIA agent. This time, the assignment sounds as tasty as a taco. A quick trip to Mexico City is on her agenda. Unfortunately, something goes wrong, and our dear Mrs. Pollifax finds herself embroiled in quite a hot Cold War—and her country’s enemies find themselves entangled with one unbelievably feisty lady.

My review

In a nutshell, the best book I’ve read this year – and I’ve read a lot of books. Possibly the best book in several years!
If you’re expecting, despite the title, a cosy mystery with a feeble old dear as the main character, think again! This mystery takes on international dimensions and involves real, modern threats. Mrs Pollifax certainly starts her volunteer work with the CIA in at the deep end!
Everything’s pretty much perfect about this book – a delightfully likeable heroine, who’s more of an anti-heroine until push comes to shove, quirkiness grounded in brutal reality, the right combination of lucky coincidences and thwarted plans in the exciting action, and detailed, lively background..
The characterisations throughout are wonderful, the settings dramatic, and frequently terrifying, and the plot is clever with sheer brilliance thrown in here and there for good measure.
I literally couldn’t stop reading this book once I’d started. I was hooked from the start.
I can’t wait for Mrs P’s second adventure!

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Quickie book review: Someday at Christmas by Lizzie Byron

Synopsis

Shell Smith is a popular, larger than life make-up artist working in the beauty department at Duke & Sons, a beautiful but old-fashioned family-owned department store in her home city. While business is booming on Shell’s counter, the rest of the store is threatened with closure unless their Christmas sales take a dramatic upswing. Old Mr Duke’s grandson, Callum, has come up with a creative way to get some extra income: unbeknownst to Mr Duke Sr, a production company is using the photogenic store as a location for its next big Christmas romcom, filming at night while the store is closed. When Shell is let in on the secret, she discovers there might be more to Mr Duke Jr than sharp suits – but when her old crush Nick moves back home, life starts to mimic the romcom’s storyline. With Christmas Eve just around the corner, Shell will find herself in a race against time to save her job, save the department store and save herself from heartbreak.

 

Review

This is a charming festive read, with a touch of old-fashionedness about it, which is meant as a compliment. The nostalgic element comes from it being set in a department store, most of which are making their valiant last stand their days. Also, there’s decency and loyalty, on the whole, which are good old fashioned values so sadly lacking in modern (political) life.
The characters are fascinating, especially our heroine, but eveyone has a slightly eccentric role to play in keeping us entertained.
There’s lots to chuckle at, and it’s certainly a seasonal tale, so a super read in the run-up to Christmas.

Kindle edition £2.99

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Excerpt from ‘Dead in Tune: A Christmas cosy mystery’ by Stephanie Dagg

Chapter 1

“That was fun,” smiled Martha, climbing into the passenger seat of the bright red BMW X4.

“Wasn’t it just,” agreed driver Lottie, starting the engine. “Not keen on the French carols, though.”

Martha shot her an astonished glance. “But, apart from ‘Nouvel Né’, which is absolutely lovely with that haunting tune, the only other carols we sang in French were ‘Silent Night’ and ‘Angels from the Realms of Glory’. And they’re just France’s versions of traditional British carols.”

“But that’s what I mean,” explained Lottie, reversing rapidly out of her tight slot, without looking, which made Martha cringe. “They’re simply not the same in a foreign language.”

“We can hardly expect the French contingent of our Worldwide Friendship Club to make all the concessions, now can we,” said Martha reasonably.

‘Worldwide Friendship Club’ was a bit of a misnomer. The vast majority of members were either British or French, with just a handful of other Europeans and one South African. But Martha supposed it didn’t hurt to be ambitious.

“As it is,” Martha continued, “six of the nine carols we’re singing are English.”

Lottie gave one of her characteristic snorts in response to Martha’s reasonable remark. Snorts were her vocal version of the French shrug in that they came with a practical endless variety of meanings. This latest one clearly implied ‘that’s six too many’.

Martha knew it was pointless trying to argue further when Lottie was being so very Lottie, so she sat back in her luxuriously soft seat and reflected on the last hour and a half. The Worldwide Friendship Club, under the capable if relentless leadership of chairperson Belinda Parsons, was organising a carol service in Boussiex for Friday in the modest but beautiful St Claire’s church. The Club had decided that a couple of rehearsals – today and Thursday – would be a good idea so that at least some of the French attendees at the service would be familiar with the English carols, and vice versa. Lottie had joined the WFC back in March, and had badgered Martha into doing likewise until she finally relented a week ago.

Martha wasn’t really a club sort of person, but Lottie seemed to enjoy herself at WFC functions so that was a good recommendation. However, Martha’s main motivation was mercenary. She was about to submit her demand for French nationality, given all the unnecessary uncertainty and mess that Brexit was creating, and membership of a society or two would look good on her application. For the same reason she’d also signed up to a handicrafts club in a nearby village and had started turning up to listen in at municipal council meetings. She had initially felt very guilty about doing so for such selfish reasons, but she had since soothed her conscience by assuring herself that her membership fees were doing the organisations involved good, and her mayor and councillors had been delighted to actually have an audience for once. Plus she was benefitting. She’d met some lovely people in the two associations, and was picking up a lot of fascinating village gossip from the council meetings.

She was roused from her musings by Lottie’s sudden outburst of, “But I really don’t see why we need to have a Scottish piper at the carol service.”

“I think it’ll be rather fun,” countered Martha.

“There’s nothing Christmassy about bagpipes,” snapped Lottie. “It’ll ruin the atmosphere.”

“But he’s only going to be playing outside, near the Christmas tree in the square, until the service starts,” Martha reminded Lottie of the arrangements. “And I dare say he’ll play carols.”

“He’s not even a member of the WFC,” protested Lottie. “And I thought the Scots were more about New Year anyway.”

Martha was of the opinion that people of any nation were surely allowed to indulge in more than one festive celebration, but she chose not to voice it for the time being.

“And they have that haggis festival in January as well,” Lottie ploughed on.

“You mean Burns Night,” Martha corrected her mildly.

“That’s the one, with that poem about mice and men and plans going googly, or whatever.”

“You’re muddling up ‘Address to a Haggis’ with ‘To a Mouse’. And it’s ‘schemes o’ Mice an’ men
gang aft agley’, not plans going googly,” Martha persisted patiently.

Lottie, of course, snorted. “Both versions are daft. And what sort of person writes poems about meat and vermin anyway?”

“Just the national poet of Scotland,” murmured Martha.

“You’re very knowledgeable about Scotland all of a sudden.” Lottie shot her an annoyed sideways glance.

“My grandmother was Scottish,” Martha informed her.

“Huh. So that’s why you like the bagpipes so much,” concluded Lottie. “Mind you, the French members didn’t seem that impressed. They seemed to be saying something quite rude about them. Sounded a bit like ‘unicorn mucus’.”

Martha sighed and wondered, as she frequently did, how her friend could have lived in France for so long but picked up so little of its vocabulary.

“They were saying ‘cornemuse’. That’s French for bagpipes.”

“That’s a silly name,” declared Lottie. “In English it says exactly what the thing is – a bag with some pipes stuck into it. It ought to be ‘sac… sac’ something in French.”

“It is. A ‘musette’ is a type of bag, and ‘corne’ is a musical horn, amongst other things.”

Lottie muttered something about know-it-alls. Martha smiled to herself.

“You’re on the committee,” Martha reminded her friend after a few moments. “Couldn’t you have voted against the idea?”

“I can never make it to the committee meetings. They’re on Saturdays,” explained Lottie, “so I can’t go because of work.”

Martha frowned. “But I thought you didn’t work on Saturdays.”

“Of course I don’t!” Lottie sounded appalled at the very idea. “But I’ve been slaving away from Monday to Friday so I’m not going to give up my precious weekend for silly meetings.”

There wasn’t an answer to that, only questions such as “Well, why did you put yourself up for the committee in the first place?” and “So why don’t you resign your position and let someone who can spare an hour or two one Saturday a month take your place?” Martha, however, knew better than to give voice to those. She made do with rolling her eyes and pulled the conversation back from such dangerous territory.

“You’re not the only anti-bagpiper, by the looks of things,” she mused. “Did you see old Matisse’s face when Belinda made her announcement about the Christmas bagpipes? A perfect balance of shock, horror and fury!” She chuckled at the memory.

Lottie laughed out loud. “He always looks like that! He strikes me as a sour, mean-spirited old git, but I may be warming to him a little now that we have a shared hatred of Scottish musical instruments.”

Lottie swerved to avoid a hedgehog that had suddenly launched itself at full trot into their path, meaning they rounded a blind bend on the wrong side of the road, but fortunately the road was deserted, other than themselves.

“Actually, the bagpipes might not be the worst thing about the carol service,” she confided, once she was driving on the correct side again.

“Oh come on, our singing wasn’t that bad!” protested Martha with a forced laugh, which she hoped would cover the sound of her heart thudding.

“I don’t mean our singing. That was really rather good, apart from Horace, the growler. And as you obviously heard, Matisse has an amazing voice. I do love a nice, deep bass. No, what I mean is that Belinda told me earlier that that she’s just booked a Spanish couple to do a flamenco dance the service. Really lovely young people, apparently, only been here a month or so and want to get involved in community things. But seriously, flamenco dancing? In a church?” Lottie couldn’t summon up a snort that could convey precisely how appalled she was, so she made do with dramatic and dismissive hand gestures, making the car swerve and Martha’s heartbeat temporarily soar again.

Belinda had made the decision unilaterally, something she did rather a lot, and something which other members of the WFC grumbled about when their chairperson wasn’t around. But Belinda was in charge, and had been for four years now, and frankly no one else wanted to take on the significant workload that went with the post. So they left her to rule the roost. Belinda’s husband, Horace, had held the equally unpopular position of treasurer for the same length of time.

“I love flamenco.” Martha actually wasn’t a particular fan but she couldn’t resist winding Lottie up, just a little bit. “It’s associated with religious festivals and rituals, so I dare say there’s a Christmassy version of it. And did you know that UNESCO recognises it as a cultural heritage?”

“Well, I do now,” snipped Lottie. “I suppose you’re also going to tell me that Dutch clog dancing is a UNESCO wotsit too so we should ask dour old Gerrit to do a number between ‘Hark the Herald Angels’ and ‘O Come All Ye Faithful’. And while we’re at it, why don’t me and you do a quick Morris dance before the final blessing?”

Martha knew she should but she couldn’t stop herself from laughing. Lottie in full-on grump mode could be very funny.

“Bagsy be the one with the hobby horse,” she chuckled.

Lottie’s annoyed expression resisted for a moment then morphed into a smile. “No way, I’m having that. You can make do with bells on your knees and hankies to wave.”

“I’d rather have sticks than hankies,” said Martha.

“Tough,” riposted Lottie. “You could do too much damage in the church with them. You might behead one of the crumbly old statues or take out a stained glass window! It’s hankies or nothing.”

“Big hankies then,” bartered Martha.

Both women laughed.

“You know, I think I might actually suggest a Morris dancing session as an activity for next year,” said Lottie.

“It would be fun,” acknowledged Martha, “but it would confirm the French in their view that the English are crazy.”

“They already know we are,” smiled Lottie.

“Excuse me,” riposted Martha. “Philippe doesn’t think I’m crazy.”

Philippe, a senior officer in the local gendarmerie, was her French beau. A family friend for years, he’d always carried a candle for Martha but it was only recently, more than three years after she’d been widowed, that he’d plucked up the courage to act on his feelings. A series of brutal murders that had appeared to centre around Martha had brought the two firmly together in the summer.

“Of course he does,” teased Lottie, “but he still loves you. How’s he getting on in Norway? I still can’t believe you didn’t go on that ski-ing holiday with him.”

“Well, you should because I’ve given you my reasons enough times. One, he booked the holiday with a group of friends, all male, a year ago. Two,  it’s cross-country ski-ing, which is a well-known form of torture. The appeal of ski-ing downhill is obvious, but ski-ing on the flat has nothing going for it whatsover. Three, my leg isn’t up to any sort of ski-ing at all.” She’d been hit and injured by a car driven by the man behind the summer’s murders.

“You didn’t have to ski,” Lottie ploughed on. “Just gone for gentle strolls in the snow and sipped hot chocolate by the glowing fireside of your log cabin.”

“Yes,  I know I could. Philippe tried to persuade me to come along, which was sweet of him, but I didn’t want to intrude into a guys-only thing. He’d have felt obliged to spend time with me when he’d have much rather been snow-yomping with his mates, and I’d have ended up feeling guilty.”

“I wonder what this ‘feeling guilty’ thing is like,” remarked Lottie with a smile, but she was only half joking. It was a sentiment that featured only rarely on her emotional compass.

They turned into the drive that led down to Martha’s farm.

“Thanks for the lift, Lottie. I hope to get the Renault back before the Thursday rehearsal so I can get there under my own steam.” Martha’s ancient but usually ever-reliable car had decided not to start that morning. The garage had collected it for, allegedly, urgently dealing with, but Martha had had no further news of it since watching it disappear on the back of the breakdown truck. She knew better than to waste time and phone calls on chasing it up too soon. It would be ready when it was ready.

“Not a problem. Just shout if you’re still without wheels on Thursday.”

They pulled up outside the house, sending two of the half dozen farm cats skittering into the shadows, away from the rude and intrusive flood of brightness from the headlights.

“I won’t come in,” said Lottie, as Martha opened her mouth to invite her in for hot chocolate. “Got a bit of paperwork to finish up before tomorrow’s mammoth acte de vente.”

Lottie was never normally one to use a French word or term when there was an alternative in her mother tongue. However, there was no direct UK equivalent to the acte de vente, which was the final stage of the cumbersome but watertight house-selling process in France. All the parties concerned met at the Notaire’s office, where the lengthy contract was read through, word by word, and everyone got up in turn and initialled every page of the document. Even a straightforward one could go on for hours. But of course, things were rarely straightforward in France.

“How mammoth exactly?” probed Martha.

“Think herd of mammoths. No, more than that. Massive herd of humungous mammoths,” sighed Lottie.

“How come?” asked Martha.

“For a start, there are six vendors. Old Papa Champolivier was a widower so the property passed to his four sons and two daughters. They’d hardly spoken to each other for years, so naturally the bickering continued for a few more until they eventually agreed on selling price, solicitor and salesperson. Moi, obviously.” She flashed a proud smile. “One or other of them has rejected all the previous decent offers I got for them on the place, but I think finally common sense but most likely greed prevailed and they all accepted this latest one straight away. I hoped at least some of them might grant power of attorney to the notaire to sign the contract on their behalf, but no, they all wanted to come along in person. So, with me and the notaire, that brings tomorrow’s attendance up to eight.”

“Quite a crowd,” nodded Martha.

“Ah, but that’s not all. Whilst all the bickering about selling was going on, the place was let out to a pair of brothers for farming. So they’ll be there too, tomorrow, and their wives, to relinquish their rental rights.”

Martha nodded again. The same thing had happened when she and Mark had bought their farm, only in their case it was just the confirmed bachelor Monseiur Josset.

“And now enter the buyers. Four of them as well in the shape of two sets of Monsieur and Madame Dupont.”

“The men are brothers?” hazarded Martha.

“Correct. And, what’s more,” Lottie went on with a twinkle in her eye, “their wives are sisters.”

“Goodness!” gasped Martha. “That’s unusual, surely.”

“But what’s even more, the brothers and the sisters are both sets of identical twins.” Lottie beamed triumphantly at the bizarreness of her news. “You couldn’t make it up, could you!”

“Nope,” agreed Martha, impressed. “That’s definitely material for a gossip magazine.”

“So that’s sixteen of us all crammed into Maître Cognac’s stuffy office, and having to take turns to sign every page of the contract. Given how doddery half of them are likely to be, it’ll take ages. They’ll be diddling around with spectacles, having to take a rest halfway between their seat and the desk, then dropping the pen, then needing the loo between pages three and four and again between eleven and twelve… aargh! That’s why I need to get on with the paperwork I won’t have time to do tomorrow. Half the day will be spent at the office.” She groaned.

“Yes, but think of your fee,” Martha consoled her.

“True.” Lottie brightened. “I got a good price for the property. A very good one.”

Lottie always did. She really knew how to turn on the charm with the buyers and put the fear of God into the vendors so pretty much dictated terms to her own advantage.

“Well, I hope it goes as swiftly as possible for you tomorrow,” smiled Martha, patting Lottie’s arm and then, reluctantly, opening the door of the luxuriously warm car to brave the freezing elements outside. Her house would be warm enough, since she’d stoked up the fire before leaving it this evening, but there was a cold trudge and a chilly hallway to brave before she got there. “See you Thursday.”

“Ciao.” Lottie blew her a kiss, then did a high-speed three-point turn, showering the waving Martha with gravel and hoar frost, before flooring it back up the drive.

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Cover reveal: The Mystery of Montague House by Emma Davies

When Summer meets Wynter…

With enough rooms to fill a Cluedo board several times over, Montague House has often been the subject of rumour and gossip. Tales of strange goings on, an owner who disappeared one day and was never seen again, not to mention the treasure that rumour has it lies at its heart… But now the present owner has died and the house is to be sold. It looks as if the opportunity has come to finally settle the stories once and for all.

Clodagh Wynter doesn’t believe in ghostly goings on and tall tales of secrets. She has her feet very firmly on the ground and, tasked with the job of valuing and cataloguing the house and all its contents, she’s simply looking forward to working in such a glorious setting. And if she happens across a priceless painting, well, that’s just icing on the cake.

Andie Summer is a Finder of Things and desperately needs this job; she’s down to her last few tins of baked beans. So looking for hidden treasure sounds right up her street, even if there was something very fishy about the mysterious Mr Mayfair who hired her. Because it’s just like she said to her faithful Basset Hound, Hamish; I saw something out of the corner of my eye as I was leaving, and you know what that means. It’s never good news when I see something out of the corner of my eye…

As the unlikely pair are thrown together, it soon becomes very clear however that they are not the only ones searching for the treasure. And they’re going to need all their ingenuity, resourcefulness, not to mention chocolate biscuits, if they’re ever going to untangle the web of secrets that surrounds Montague House. One that reaches even further than they ever thought possible…

 

Here’s the cover….

I think it’s great!

 

Purchase Link – https://smarturl.it/MontagueHouse

Author bio

After a varied career, Emma Davies once worked for a design studio where she was asked to provide a fun and humorous (and not necessarily true) anecdote for their website. She wrote the following: ‘I am a bestselling novelist currently masquerading as a thirty-something mother of three.’ Well the job in the design studio didn’t work out but she’s now a fifty-something mother of three and is happy to report the rest of her dream came true.

After many years as a finance manager she now writes full time, and is far happier playing with words than numbers. She lives with her husband and three children in rural Shropshire where she writes in all the gaps in between real life.

 

Social Media Links –

@EmDaviesAuthor

www.facebook.com/emmadaviesauthor

www.instagram.com/authoremmadavies

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Cover reveal: The Dream That Held Us by Rhiannon Jenkins Tsang

The Dream That Held Us

Another stunning Anglo-Indian love story from the author of The Last Vicereine, Penguin Random House 2017.

October 1985, Ash Misra leaves a blood-stained Delhi for Oxford University. Haunted by a terrible secret, he just wants to forget. Music and fresh violence bring him to fellow student and amateur violinist, Isabella Angus, but duty and the burden of history keep them apart. A quarter of a century later against the background of the global ­financial crisis, Sir Peter Roberts, former Master of Woodstock College, receives a letter from Ash for Isabella. They are no longer young but they had made a tryst with destiny; old terrors and suppressed desires return.

“Deeply imbued with a certain wistfulness and haunting sense of loss brought out by the end of a glorious summer… Rhiannon Jenkins Tsang’s latest novel is a sensitive and skilful exploration of love, longing, and whether life sometimes relents to give us second chances.” Osama Siddique – author of Snuffing Out the Moon

“This book carries a universal message about love and finding your way in the world. I loved it.” Angela Barton author of Arlette’s Story, Magnolia House and You’ve Got My Number

 

Pre-order Links

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Dream-That-Held-Us/dp/1838150803

US  – https://www.amazon.com/Dream-That-Held-Us/dp/1838150803

 

Publication date – 21st January 2021

 

And here’s the cover…

 

Author bio

Rhiannon Jenkins Tsang is a British author whose work focuses on cultural and historical fault lines and has strong international themes.  Rhiannon was born and grew up in Yorkshire and has studied, lived and worked in Europe and Asia.  She read Oriental Studies (Chinese) at Oxford University and speaks Mandarin and Cantonese.  Rhiannon lives in a former farmhouse in rural England with her family.

Novels

The Woman Who Lost China, Open Books 2013

The Last Vicereine, Penguin Random House 2017

Short Story Anthology

Hong Kong Noir, Akashic Books 2019

 

Social media links

Twitter @rhiannonjtsang

Facebook Author page https://www.facebook.com/RhiannonJTauthor

LinkedIn Rhiannon Jenkins Tsang

You Tube –  Rhiannon Reviews. https://youtube.com/channel/UC3hPlIWofMRV1p1KVU5X94Q