A rather scary-looking person has just joined me here. She’s called Belinda MacKenzie and she’s brought her letter to heroine Beth Haldane – heroine, that is, of Alice Castle’s series of crime novels. Let’s see what Belinda wants to say to Beth.
I can’t believe I’m having to write to you. I’d like to say that you’re beneath my notice. The truth is that you always have been, up until recently, and not just because you’re such a titch. Honestly, I’m the last person in the world to make personal comments, but don’t you think a simple pair of heels would help? But no, it’s flats. Every. Single. Day. And the way you dress, in those drab colours, anyone would think that you want to be ignored. Well, I’ve always tried to oblige you on that front. But, when there was all that business over at Wyatt’s, somehow there you were, in the thick of it. It’s the best school in Dulwich, so what they were doing employing someone like you, I can’t imagine. But I suppose the archive office is the sort of dusty place you thought you could hide away in.
Somehow, and don’t ask me how you managed it, you got yourself into the middle of quite a nasty business, and almost ruined the reputation of Wyatt’s into the bargain. Luckily, the headmaster, Dr Grover, managed to sort all that out. I’d hate there to be a stain on the place’s reputation, as my two boys, Billy and Bobby, are bound to be going there – did I mention it’s the best school in Dulwich?
And then, I couldn’t believe it but there you were, somehow, in the thick of the next awful scandal to hit Dulwich. Well, the Picture Gallery is just the sort of place that someone like you would poke around in. But those poor teenage girls. Well, they’d gone off the rails. Not like my own daughter, Allegra. What? No, I don’t know what she’s up to every minute of the day, she’s in such demand, like her mother, some people might say. When you’re popular, you have to spread yourself thinly. Not that you’d know that. But, even though she’s out a lot, I know I can absolutely trust her, one hundred per cent. And if her clothes sometimes smell of cigarettes, well, some of her friends will experiment. Same goes for alcohol. She tells me that some girls are knocking back the booze, but my Leggy? Oh no. I don’t have any worries at all on that score.
I’m wondering how we’ll get on, Beth, now that our sons are sharing a tutor as the Wyatt’s entrance exam approaches. Well, my boys don’t really need it, but I decided to be kind to you when someone else dropped out. As you’d know, if you’d ever put any effort into your boy’s schooling, it’s not easy to get an appointment with the best exam coaches. And, let’s face it, your kid needs all the help he can get. But he’s no competition to my two, so that’s fine.
And I’m beginning to find myself intrigued by you, I must admit. That way you have of seeming to shun the limelight, yet falling into adventure after adventure… it’s rather clever. Maybe I could pick up a tip or two from you. In any case, I’ll be watching you closely in future. Oh yes, Beth Haldane. I’ve got my eye on you.
With warmest wishes,
Ahem. I’m glad I’ve never had to deal with anyone like Belinda.
Apparently, Belinda MacKenzie is the terrifying Queen Bee of the Village Primary School playground and nemesis of single mum amateur sleuth Beth Haldane. Beth, star of cosy crime whodunits Death in Dulwich and The Girl in the Gallery, stumbles on a murder on her first day at work and has to clear her name.
About Death in Dulwich
Already described by reviewers as ‘murderously good fun’ (author TP Fielden), a ‘keenly observed page turner … highly recommended’ (Amazon) and ‘well-written, engaging and fun,’ (author Jo Blakeley), Death in Dulwich is the story of thirty-something widow Beth Haldane.
Beth has her hands full – she has a bouncy nine-year-old son, a haughty cat, a fringe with a mind of its own and a ton of bills to pay. She loves her little home in plush south London suburb Dulwich, but life here doesn’t come cheap.
That’s why she is thrilled to land a job as archivist at top local school Wyatt’s – though she has an inkling the post is not what it seems and she doesn’t think much of her new boss, Dr Jenkins, either. Then, on her first day at work, Dr Jenkins is brutally murdered. Beth finds the body, and realises she is the prime suspect, with means, opportunity and a motive.
Beth has no choice but to try and clear her name, bringing herself into conflict with the police and the school. But who is the real culprit? And is the cause of the killing a horrifying secret buried deep in the school’s past, or does evil lurk behind the comfortable façade of daily Dulwich life?
Beth grows in confidence during her dogged pursuit of the murderer and, by the end of the book, is ready for any adventures that may come her way. Which is just as well, because there’s trouble brewing at the Dulwich Picture Gallery ….
Buy Death in Dulwich here.
About The Girl in the Gallery
Just when you thought it was safe to go back to Dulwich…
It’s a perfect summer’s morning in the plush south London suburb, and thirty-something Beth Haldane has sneaked off to visit one of her favourite places, the world-famous Picture Gallery.
She’s enjoying a few moments’ respite from juggling her job at prestigious private school Wyatt’s and her role as single mum to little boy Ben, when she stumbles across a shocking new exhibit on display. Before she knows it, she’s in the thick of a fresh, and deeply chilling, investigation.
Who is The Girl in the Gallery? Join Beth in adventure #2 of the London Murder Mystery series as she tries to discover the truth about a secret eating away at the very heart of Dulwich.
Buy The Girl in the Gallery here.
About Alice Castle
Before turning to crime, Alice Castle was a UK newspaper journalist for The Daily Express, The Times and The Daily Telegraph. Her first book, Hot Chocolate, set in Brussels and London, was a European best-seller which sold out in two weeks.
Alice is currently working on the sequel to Death in Dulwich and The Girl in the Gallery, the third book in the London Murder Mystery series. It will be published by Crooked Cat next year and is entitled The Calamity in Camberwell. Once again, it features Beth Haldane and DI Harry York.
Alice is also a top mummy blogger, writing DD’s Diary at www.dulwichdivorcee.com.
She lives in south London and is married with two children, two step-children and two cats.
Links to Alice:
7 replies on “Letters from Elsewhere: Belinda MacKenzie”
Hi Miriam, thanks so much for having me today and I hope Belinda hasn’t been too awful, I will put her back in her box now until the next book comes out (Calamity in Camberwell this summer!)
Hi Alice, thanks for coming. I have recovered from Belinda now. I hope Beth isn’t too disturbed by her in Calamity in Camberwell!
A brilliant character readers love to hate!
Reblogged this on Crooked Cats' Cradle.
Loved Death in Dulwich and the wonderful characters Alice conjures up, including Beth (and Belinda)
Thank you so much, Lynn, that’s really lovely to hear xx