Today is launch day for the second of Alice Castle’s novels featuring amateur sleuth, Beth Haldane. Here to tell us more about it is the author herself. Over to you, Alice!

Alice CastleTheGirl In The GalleryThanks so much to Miriam for hosting me today. It’s a great pleasure to tell you a little about my book, The Girl in the Gallery. It’s a cozy crime whodunit, the second in my London Murder Mysteries series, but it can be read as a stand-alone novel too.

The story is inspired by Dulwich Picture Gallery, a wonderful place which is stuffed with great art. It’s not the paintings that gave me the idea for the story, though, but the building itself, which is very unusual. At its heart is a mausoleum, containing the dead bodies of the original collectors in marble coffins, on display to the public. Weird and very creepy. I have always thought it would be a brilliant setting for a murder mystery.

 It was a great pleasure doing the research for the book. As well as going to lots of exhibitions, I read up on the life and times of Sir John Soane, the architect –  and had plenty of lunches in the Gallery’s restaurant as well.

The book features my single mum amateur sleuth, Beth Haldane, who’s already been called a ‘modern Miss Marple.’ I’m a huge Agatha Christie fan so I loved this description. One of the reasons I decided to set my series in Dulwich was because, to me, it feels like a contemporary equivalent of St Mary Mead (Miss Marple’s village) in that everyone knows each other – or thinks they do. But the nastiest secrets can lurk in the nicest places, as Beth discovers.

I hope you’ll enjoy reading the book.

The Girl in the Gallery by Alice Castle

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.

About Alice

AliceCastle1Before 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 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.

Author website: https://www.alicecastleauthor.com

Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/alicecastleauthor/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/DDsDiary?lang=en

Links to buy books: The Girl in the Gallery  Death in Dulwich, Hot Chocolate

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Letters from ElsewhereMy last visitor  in the series Letters from Elsewhere, at least for the time being, is also a first. He is the first character to return. He must have enjoyed it here, while all the others… no, let’s not go there!

Gendarme Jacques Forêt first appeared in October, when he shared excerpts from three letters he wrote to his father in Paris. Now he’s come to share three more excerpts from letters to his father.

1 Grande-rue
Messandrierre
February 2009

MessandrierreEntrancetothevillageHow’s maman?  Again, you didn’t say much in your last letter papa and I’m worried.  I realise how difficult it must be for you, but I just need to know that she’s all right.

Tell Francis that I send my best wishes for his new job.  It can’t be easy for him to be starting work again after such a long period of redundancy.  I’m sure Thérèse will be relieved.  When I was home at Christmas I thought she looked very tired and drawn.  And when you write back, papa, don’t forget to let me have all the news about those nephews of mine.

March 2009

…you’re right; the job’s not going so well.  Fournier is a difficult man to please and we don’t see police work in quite the same way.  I’m beginning to wonder whether leaving Paris for the rural gendarmerie was the right decision.  But then, I think about the easy pace of life down here, the more regular hours and I realise that perhaps it is not so bad after all.  And, of course I have what I could call my own ‘patch’.  The villagers have accepted me, I think and I seem to be the first person they come to these days, so that’s a good outcome.

April 2009

MessandrierreChurchBellTower…yes I’m travelling up to Paris on the 9th and I will be with you and maman for the whole of Easter.  I’m looking forward to it and I’d be happy to take the boys wherever they want to go.  It will be good to catch up with them and Thérèse as well.  Perhaps, whilst I’m there, you and I can take a look at the laptop that I brought you last year.  Keeping in touch would be so much easier, papa, if you would just use the computer.

You ask about Beth…well, there’s nothing much to say.  I haven’t heard from her recently.  I’ve thought about phoning her…but now I’m not so sure that she will want to hear from me.  If she comes back to Messandrierre, she comes back.  I’m no longer certain that she will.  At the moment I’m concentrating on my work…

Your only son,
Jacques

About Messandrierre

MessandrierreCoverArtSacrificing his job in investigation following a shooting in Paris, Jacques Forêt has only a matter of weeks to solve a series of mysterious disappearances as a rural gendarme. Will he find the perpetrators before his lover Beth becomes a victim?

But, as the number of missing rises, his difficult and hectoring boss puts obstacles in his way.  Steely and determined Jacques won’t give up and, when a new Investigating Magistrate is appointed, he becomes the go-to local policeman for all the work on the case.

About Angela Wren

Having completed a twenty-year career as a Project and Business Change Manager, Angela now works as an Actor and Director at Doncaster Little Theatre and has been writing, in a serious way, for about 5 years. Her work in project management has always involved drafting, so writing, in its various forms, has been a significant feature throughout her adult life.

She enjoys the challenge of plotting and planning different genres of work. Her short stories vary between contemporary romance, memoir, mystery and historical. She also writes comic flash-fiction and has drafted two one-act plays that have been recorded for local radio. The majority of her stories are set in France where she likes to spend as much time as possible each year.

***

Where is this blog going next? Watch out for the next post, which will appear on this very blog as soon as I’ve worked out the answer to that question.

 

Letters from ElsewhereMy guest today comes straight from the fictional village of Messandrierre in the Cevennes. He’s a local Gendarme called Jacques Forêt. You can get to know him via these excerpts from three letters he wrote to his father in Paris.

Jacques’s creator, Angela Wren, includes other excerpts from Jacques’s letters on her new blog. And you can also find Jacques in the cosy crime story, Messandrierre – or rather, you will be able to once it’s published at around the turn of the year.

1 Grande-rue
Messandrierre
February 2008

Jacques Forêt …papa, keeping in touch would be so much easier if you used the laptop I brought for you and maman when I was home last month. I know tinkering with your precious English Norton in the courtyard is more interesting than getting involved in modern technology, but it would help me a great deal if you could at least try.

I was up on the col at the weekend on my BSA and the engine failed again. It was a long 10k walk home and mostly in the snow. It’s been very cold here…

 

March 2008

Jacques Forêt2            …Messandrierre? What can I say? It’s much the same, papa. I’m beginning to think the village is always the same. Delacroix and the Rouselles are still feuding and I doubt that they can even remember the origin of the issue that really sets them against each other. The Pamiers keep themselves to themselves, and I’ve realised that life here just meanders through the seasons. So very, very different from Paris.

            I’m really sorry to hear that Francis has been made redundant. That’ll make things very difficult for them and the boys. I’ve still got the money from the sale of my place in Paris. It’s sitting in the bank doing nothing except earning interest and, as yet I’ve no intention of investing in a property here. Francis and I have had our moments over the years but I wouldn’t want see my little sister and the boys in difficulty. So, if you can papa, have a quiet word when you next see Thérèse and let her know she can come to me for help if she needs to and I’ll call her tonight and say the same thing even though it will be useless. But if she hears it from you she’ll take notice.

 June 2008

Jacques Forêt3             …I knew I shouldn’t have said anything in my last letter. And I suspect it is maman that really wants to know. Well, her name is Beth and she was staying in one of the chalets on the edge of the village. She’s funny and clever and easy to talk to and vulnerable and shy and she’s English. And it’s complicated. Perhaps we should keep that last bit to ourselves eh? I don’t want maman making assumptions and jumping to the wrong conclusions and then worrying about me. And, just for the record, Beth is nothing like Madeleine. She’s back in England now and it feels as though there is whole in my life. We’re keeping in touch. Well I’ve messaged her a couple of times. I’m not sure where this might go but…

…give my love to maman and tell her that I’m relieved that she’s beginning to feel better. I had no real idea the long-term prognosis was not good until your last letter. Make sure you tell her I’m all right and that I’ll come home as soon as I can.

Your only son,
Jacques

About Messandrierre

Sacrificing his job in investigation following a shooting in Paris, Jacques Forêt has only a matter of weeks to solve a series of mysterious disappearances as a rural gendarme. Will he find the perpetrators before his lover Beth becomes a victim?

About Angela Wren

Having completed a twenty-year career as a Project and Business Change Manager, Angela now works as an Actor and Director at Doncaster Little Theatre and has been writing, in a serious way, for about 5 years. Her work in project management has always involved drafting, so writing, in its various forms, has been a significant feature throughout her adult life.

She enjoys the challenge of plotting and planning different genres of work. Her short stories vary between contemporary romance, memoir, mystery and historical. She also writes comic flash-fiction and has drafted two one-act plays that have been recorded for local radio. The majority of her stories are set in France where she likes to spend as much time as possible each year.