The Evening’s Amethyst: Nora Tierney #5 Monday, Oct 4 2021 

Auntie M is very pleased to announce that the fifth Nora Tierney English Mystery, THE EVENING’S AMETHYST, has made it through the Covid delays and the paperback is now available. Kindle and Audible version will follows in the next few weeks, but she’s excited to have the book on offer.

This time the majority of the story takes place in Oxford, where Nora is settling into her new home with her fiancé, DI Declan Barnes, her young son, Sean, and their puppy, Typo.

Who is Verity? That soon becomes the central question for Nora and Declan, after his new case at Exeter College coincides with a frantic call from Nora’s stepsister, Claire Scott: a fellow graduate student has died in a fall, and Claire begs Nora to help her prove Bea Jones would never commit suicide.

The sisters start their own snooping, while Declan and his team juggle this death investigation with a cold case that will prove to have a startling resolution. Over twenty years ago, toddler Donnie Walsh was kidnapped from his dirty playpen outside a Cumbrian pub. His body was never found. Now in the midst of Declan’s new case, a young man walks into St. Aldate’s Police Station claiming to be Donnie Walsh.

A mix of amateur sleuth and police procedural, The Evening’s Amethyst has garnered wonderful early reviews, including this one from Nicola Upson, author of the Josephine Tey series: “A fine addition to a wonderful series, Graff delivers her trademark blend of compelling mystery, vivid setting, and engaging characters—and in Nora Tierney she has created a sleuth whose humanity and insight are the stars of the show. I loved it.”

Available now on Amazon: OR

for signed copies contact the author at:

A. D. Garrett: Truth Will Out Thursday, Nov 3 2016 


Forensics expert Nick Fennimore and DI Kate Simms return in their third outing Truth Will Out/, a strong entry in the series that finds the two struggling against the professional boundaries that restrain them from working together.

While Fennimore is always on the hunt for his kidnapped daughter, Suzie, a possible sighting in Paris from Believe No One has the action switching back and forth between Scotland, England and France.

Simms is still feeling the sting from her family after being away for several months spent in the US. This undercurrent will play throughout the book when a mother and child are kidnapped driving away from what should have been a day out at the cinema. Police politics keep Simms at arms length in the investigation as she’s supposed to be home on leave.

Julia Meyers and her young daughter Lauren are leaving a movie, the little girl on a high as only a six year-old entranced with a princess movie can be. Yellow food coloring the child is sensitive to, eaten in sweets, set Lauren off on a temper tantrum that is only subdued when she has a near miss with a car leaving the car park.

A chastened Lauren is soon strapped into her car seat, and the harried mother joins the cars leaving the car park. Then the unthinkable happens: What appears to be a monster breaks through the trunk where he’s been hiding into the back seat, taking mother and child captive, and starting a nationwide search for them both.

The case has a eerie resemblance to an eight year-old kidnapping/murder Fennimore has just been using to illustrate his summer course. DNA evidence had arrested the wrong man, whom Fennimore had been able to have released–but the real killer was still at large.

Along with Fennimore’s search for Suzie, these cases form the compelling and distinctive plot of this book, which has several surprises near the end, with twist piled upon twist. Just when you think it’s over, there’s another plot point curve to keep you immersed.

Auntie M loves this series for what she learns about forensics, thanks to one of the co-authors, forensic scientist and Senior Policing Lecturer Helen Pepper. Award-winning psychological thriller author Margaret Murphy is the flip side of the duo, and the series illustrates her complex plotting and rapid-fire pacing.

The chemistry between the widowed Fennimore and the married Simms adds to the tension, and the dialogue is realistic. Highly recommended.

Elizabeth George: Banquet of Consequences Sunday, Nov 15 2015 

Auntie M had the distinct pleasure of taking a Masters Class in Beginnings with Elizabeth George last week at New England Crimebake. One of her favorite authors, George’s class was succinct and helpful. The diminutive wordsmith, who claims she is introverted, nevertheless charmed the entire audience over the three days she was there teaching, on panels, doing interviews and just being herself. She is an animal lover, another hit with Auntie M, and the two compared notes on her adorable Wire-haired Dachshund, Lucy, and Auntie M’s Italian Spinone, Radar, two opposite ends of the dog spectrum in size but not in jolly goodness.

George was generous with describing her writing process, which starts with the germ of an idea and victim as she explores her setting. Then she peoples that person’s world with other characters, creating long histories that in Auntie M’s screenwriting days were called “bibles.” Her plot unfolds from this and she’s off and writing a book for the satisfaction of readers, ones that have won her a deservedly huge following. Her newest is destined to keep her readers flipping pages.

Elizabeth George’s 19th Lynley mystery, despite its size, lives up to the best of her work, with Lynley and Havers back on the case in Banquet of Consequences, a most apt title upon reflection.

George takes her time introducing the players: The Goldacre family consists of William and his girlfriend Lily; his brother Charlie and wife India, his mother Caroline, and her second husband, Alastair MacKerron. Their interaction is key to the events that take place some months leading up to William’s suicide, an event that precipitates extraordinary fallout, some of which overlaps into a case of poisoning in Cambridge that handed to Lynleys’ DS Barbara Havers manages to get herself assigned to investigate.

Still smarting from her hasty actions in the last book, Just One Evil Act, which took Havers and Lynley to Italy to the chagrin of Det. Superintendant Isabelle Ardery, Havers has a sword of Damocles hanging over her head: a signed transfer request Ardery has no intention of tearing up if it means Havers toes the line.

Chafing at the bit and hating the restrictions placed on her detecting, Havers begs Lynley to go to bat for her and have the poisoning case assigned to her. That he has to go around Ardery to do it doesn’t improve either of their positions with the Super. Havers is allowed to investigate with a reluctant DS Winston Nkata at her side, yet the duo end up working their investigative magic as the case comes together in a most unexpected way.

The plot is complex, as are the personalities of the characters involved. The dead boy’s mother in particular is a pushy drama queen who never fails to keep the attention on her. There are side affairs, past secrets held and revealed, marriages fractured. There will be time for Lynley to ponder and pursue his relationship with the veterinarian, Daidre, and even a little dog, Arlo, who captures everyone’s heart except that of the Superintendent. One interesting subplot has Ardery’s secretary, the well-put-togehter Dee Harriman, deciding to take Havers under her wing and give her something of a life outside her work.

The final twist falls to the reader, one that will leave them pondering what is true justice and if it has been well served. An intriguing mystery with more than its share of tension and revelations. Highly recommended.

Louise Penny: The Nature of the Beast Tuesday, Aug 25 2015 

Nature Beast
Readers of this blog know that Auntie M is a huge fan of Louise Penny’s series. She thinks if he were real she could marry Inspector Gamache, even in his retirement!

But is retirement really for Gamache or his wife, Reine-Marie? That’s the question the two are asking themselves as they enjoy their home in Three Pines. They spend their days involved in the rhythm of the village, enjoying Myrna’s bookstore, helping Clara with her grief, eating at the Bistro. There is a play being cast amongst the villagers, and the stories that 9 yr-old Laurent Lepage tells whomever who will listen, big whoppers of walking trees and alien invasions.

So it’s not a huge surprise that when the small boy with the big imagination he runs into the bistro with his story of a giant monster and an even bigger weapon hidden in the woods, that his story is passed off as one more day of the antics of the boy who cried wolf. Until Laurent disappears…

His body is found in the woods, a victim of an apparent biking accident. But something about the death appears off, and Inspt. Gamache finds himself asked to consult on the case after he insists the boy was murdered.

With his son-in-law Jean Guy Beauvoir on the case and a surprising new head of the Surete’, Gamache will assist them as they stumble deeply into the woods on the hunt of a murderer–and come upon a secret so surprising that it will turn the village on its head.

This secret will draw outsiders to the village as an old crime becomes the reason for the new one–and then there is a second murder, and Inspt. Gamache knows that the secrets of the past have come back to haunt those still living in Three Pines.

Penny consistently writes an absorbing book, and this entry is no exception. Her characters are always many-layered, complex individuals, and her writing style allows readers to see the story from many points of view.

Tackling an unusual subject, readers will be transported back to the village and its inhabitants as they do battle with secrets held and kept for far too many years. Highly recommended.

Duncan Simpson: The History of Things to Come Sunday, Aug 23 2015 

Author Duncan Simpson will tell readers of the interesting story behind his novel, the first in a planned DARK HORIZON trilogy:HOTTC-Book-Cover-(Web)


My novel THE HISTORY OF THINGS TO COME was inspired by a true but little-known fact about the celebrated scientist Isaac Newton.

More than any other person, Newton’s extraordinary contributions in the field of science have laid the foundations for the modern study of optics, mathematics, gravity and motion. However, far from being the ultimate rationalist, the scientist was obsessed with unlocking the secrets hidden within Holy Scripture.

It has been estimated that out of Newton’s surviving writings, 700,000 words are concerned with scientific research, 600,000 words relate to alchemy and 1,700,000 relate to his biblical research. Certain of its accuracy, Newton described biblical prophecy as a ‘history of things to come’.

According to John Maynard Keynes, Newton regarded “the universe as a cryptogram set by the Almighty”; through his intellect and incredible ability to focus on a problem, Newton’s mission was to decode it.

Convinced that encoded in the design of Solomon’s first temple was some divine hidden knowledge, Newton became consumed with recreating the floor plan of the Temple from descriptions contained within the Book of Ezekiel. He even learned Hebrew so that he could read the original Old Testament books.

In some ways, Newton perceived himself as the new Solomon and believed that it was his God-given purpose in life to unlock the secrets of Nature.

As a physics graduate with a keen interest in comparative faiths, I have always been fascinated by Newton and the myths surrounding the man. THE HISTORY OF THINGS TO COME interweaves a fast-paced, modern-day thriller with gripping extracts from a fictional Newton notebook. The story centers upon the search for a shocking biblical secret discovered by Newton and kept hidden for over 300 years.

THE HISTORY OF THINGS TO COME is the first book in the Dark Horizon trilogy. I am currently working hard on the second instalment. For more information and updates on new releases, please come and join my mailing list at:


Read a synopsis of Duncan’s book: The mind of a genius can hold the darkest of secrets.

A Bosnian gangster is gunned down in a packed London restaurant. In his possession is a notebook once belonging to Isaac Newton. This is just the latest in a series of shocking crimes connected to objects once belonging to the famous scientist. The police are stumped and the pressure for an arrest is mounting.
Enter Vincent Blake, London’s leading stolen-art investigator. As Blake sets out to solve the case, a series of devastating events threaten to destroy everything he holds dear. Broken but undeterred, he comes upon a shocking discovery: within the coded pages of a mysterious crimson book, annotated in Newton’s own handwriting, is an explosive revelation. Possessing this secret knowledge turns Blake into a marked man.
Caught in the crosshairs of two sadistic hitmen, Blake is propelled into a breathtaking race through London and its dark historical secrets.
With time running out, will Blake solve Newton’s deadly puzzle before the world is plunged into a catastrophe of biblical proportions?

Set in the murky world of stolen and forged manuscripts, The History of Things to come combines threads of well-researched historical fact with undercurrents of the supernatural and ancient legend. The celebrated scientist Sir Isaac Newton himself once wrote, biblical prophecy is, indeed, ‘the history of things to come’.

‘Taut, razor-sharp, and clever crime fiction.’
‘An endlessly twisting, multi-layered supernatural thriller.’
‘Perfect for fans of Dan Brown’


Thriller writer, Duncan Simpson spent his childhood in Cornwall, England. As a teenager he gained experience in a variety of jobs: from working in a mine, to doing shifts as a security guard in an American airport. After graduating from the University of Leeds with a physics degree, he spent a year backpacking around the world. On returning to the UK, he embarked on a successful career in business. Along the way, he became the finance director for a technology company and a partner in a leading management consultancy firm.

His debut novel, The History of Things to Come was born out of his lifelong fascination with the relationship between science and religion. A keen student of the history of London, he loves exploring the ancient stories and myths surrounding the city. When he’s not writing or consulting, you’ll find him: playing guitar in a rock band, running by the Thames, or drinking tea with his wife and three children in their home in Berkshire, England.

Website & Blog:

Summer Thrillers X 4: Meltzer, Hamilton, Kovacs, Freedland Friday, Aug 7 2015 

Here are four great summer thrillers for readers out right now, whether you’re at the beach or reading before bed. And if you missed Steve Berry’s The Lincoln Myth when it first came out, that one is now in paperback and ebook formats.

Brad Meltzer’s Culper Ring Triology has captivated readers, who are waiting for this third installment. The President’s Shadow shows his love of the National Archives and his relationship with former US President George H. W. Bush and First Ladies Barbara and Laura Bush, who helped to inform the book, adding to the sense of reality that pervades the read.

The book opens with a wallop and never lets up, with First Lady Shona Wallace keeping her secret: she’s stolen a small section of the White House Rose Garden for her own flower garden. As she digs in the dirt early one morning, a persistent root finally gives way–and proves to have fingers attached to it.

That severed arm is only the start of trouble for Beecher White, erstwhile employee of the Nation Archives, who’s been visiting his mentor, Tot Westman, every day. Tot lies in a coma after brain surgery on the bullet wound in his frontal lobe.

The discovery of the arm immediately raises questions about security, the victim and the culprit. Beecher is called to a secret meeting of the Culper Ring, where President Wallace tells him that an item discovered with the arm links back to Beecher’s dead father.

That mystery surrounding what happened to his father has consumed Beecher, and this discovery might finally bring some answers. His membership in the secret organization that dates back to before George Washington became President holds the key, especially since the clue left was meant for Beecher alone.

Meltzer blends history with his fascinating story, mixed with that insider knowledge that lends authenticity to the conspiracy that is unveiled. This is great storytelling in an interesting and absorbing trilogy that blends fact with fiction in a compelling manner.

Past Crimes
Switching to a debut, Glen Erik Hamilton and Past Crimes
introduces Army Ranger Van Shaw, who has returned to his Seattle home after receiving a terse message from his grandfather after a decade apart. With flashbacks showing readers Van’s unusual childhood, the reason he joined the Rangers, Van Shaw promises to be an entertaining protagonist in this accomplished book.

Van finds his grandfather, Dono Shaw, bleeding from a gunshot wound to the head. With their complicated past and Dono Shaw’s shady life, Van knows he will be the prime suspect in the shooting and must clear his name. But the only way to do that is to plunge himself into the life he thought he’d left behind when he joined the Rangers.

There will be an enormous diamond theft to handle as Van hunts for the shooter, using the skills he’s learned in his Ranger training, combined with his sharp wit to find the assailant as he works with the team Dono put together for his big jobs and realizes he can trust no one.

Filled with action sequences, the book’s visuality and sharp dialogue will lend itself well to being filmed and Auntie M has no doubt this will be picked up by Hollywood if it hasn’t been already.

Best known for his Cliff St. James crime novels, author Ed Kovacs is debuting a new series in The Russian Bride.

His protagonist is an elite agent in military intelligence, working undercover in Moscow to find moles in the US Embassy. Major Kit Bennings suddenly finds himself and his family the targets of a former KGB general-turned-Mafia don in a complicated coercion scheme when mobster Viktor Popov has Kit’s mother killed in California.

Popov threatens to do the same to Kit’s sister, Staci, whom he has already kidnapped. To free his sister, Kit must agree to marry a Russian woman, Popov’s niece, Yulana Petkova, and take her to the U.S.

Desperate to save his sister, Kit reluctantly agrees to the marriage but soon learns what Popov really wants: Kit’s help in stealing an electromagnetic-pulse device that could disable the economic and intelligence infrastructure of a large percentage of the U.S. and open the door to massive cyber-theft opportunities.

Now Kit finds himself hunted by killers on both sides of the ocean and saddled with a new wife,\ as he tries to rescue Staci and stop Popov’s plans from coming to fruition. He will call on all of his talented action-oriented friends for help and there’s plenty of specialists who rise to the occasion. There’s so much going on at times readers will feel breathless at the fast pace.

3rd Woman
Jonathan Freedland’s unusual premise makes The 3rd Woman an intriguing read.

Picture an alternate world where US has borrowed more money from China than it can repay–not too hard to imagine–and is forced to allow them a permanent military presence on American soil. It’s the stuff of nightmares.

But to journalist Madison Webb, it’s her reality to live in this America of crisis in every quarter: economic, political and social.

Then the unthinkable happens: her own sister is murdered, and Madison refuses to accept the official line that Abigail’s death was an isolated crime. There are local political elections in process, with Maddy’s ex-boyfriend working for a candidate, and Abi’s murder soon becomes a hot political issue.

After Maddy uncovers evidence that points to Abi as actually being the third victim in a series of killings, she realizes the deaths are being hushed up as part of a major conspiracy. In the new US climate, there are shades of truth and reality.

Maddy will be forced to use all of her connections to get to the truth. The use of social media adds a nice touch as her own life comes into the line of fire.

This is a clever, fast-paced political thriller. Maddy is a strong and capable female lead with a realistic edge who readers will want to see in action again.

What Doesn’t Kill her: Carla Norton Wednesday, Jul 8 2015 

What Doesn't Kill Her
Carla Norton caught readers’ attention with last year’s debut The Edge of Normal, which introduced her most unusual protagonist, Reeve LeClaire.

Norton’s back with its sequel, What Doesn’t Kill Her, and Auntie M is happy to report it’s every bit as well done as her first.

Reeve has put some semblance of normalcy back into her life after her years as Darryl Flint’s kidnap victim. She still has some locked memories of her time as his captive, but now she has roommates and is attending college, while Flint languishes in the psychiatric hospital where he’s been held since the car accident that freed Reeve and gave Flint his head injury.

He spends his days in apparently harmless rituals of his own making, until the day he puts his long-held plan into action: Flint manages to escape, killing on his first day out, and bringing Reeve to Washington State to aid in his capture.

Staying with former FBI agent Milo Bender and his family, Reeve and Bender will try their best to figure out Flint’s next move before he can kill again, but not before he manages to damage those close to Reeve.

With some chapters told from Flint’s point of view, the reader possess more information that Reeve or Bender, which ratchets up the suspense. And Norton has done her homework on psychopathic subcategories, educating readers on the scent of fear.

The pacing picks up as the manhunt does and Flint seems destined to elude authorities, with a blocked memory Reeve has holding the key to his capture.

Skillfully done, you’ll be rooting for Reeve and be as surprised as Auntie M at the final ending twist.

James R. Callan: On sidekicks and Over My Dead Body, a Father Frank Mystery Sunday, May 10 2015 

Happy Mother’s Day! While Auntie M is visiting her Minnesota Grands, please welcome author James Callan, talking about sidekicks with a brief excerpt of his new release, OVER MY DEAD BODY:

OverMyDeadBody-julie final front cover 2S

The Sidekick Is Not an Afterthought

All writers know the importance of a good sidekick to the protagonist. The protagonist is the leading character, the one on a mission, the person charged with the task of changing the course of things. As such, the main character is somewhat limited.

The sidekick, on the other hand, is not encumbered by such. Oh, yes, she (or he) is going to help the protagonist. But she is not the main driving force. As a result, she has a much wider range of what she can do. She can be funnier, crazier, can engage in things far afield from the main quest the protagonist must follow. The sidekick has a great opportunity to be more interesting.

In Over My Dead Body, a Father Frank Mystery released the first week of May, the sidekick is Georgia Peitz. Here’s an example of her free spirit: (Mike is the detective delivering the information that Syd committed suicide.)

Georgia jerked her hand up and stabbed a finger toward the detective. “Right. Angry. Not depressed. Not suicidal. Angry. He was planning to fight it.” She tilted her head and gave Mike an angelic smile. “He did not commit suicide.”

“Maybe he finally saw he couldn’t win.”

“I suppose some people might end it all if they couldn’t win something that was important to them,” Georgia said. The frown lines on Mike’s forehead began to disappear. “But,” she continued, “that was not Syd. Did you know him, Mike?”


“Then, you’re not qualified to say what he would do in such a circumstance.” Again, the angelic smile. “I am.”

Don’t overlook the power of the sidekick to enliven your book and keep your reader engaged.

James R. Callan

After a successful career in mathematics and computer science, receiving grants from the National Science Foundation and NASA, and being listed in Who’s Who in Computer Science and Two Thousand Notable Americans, James R. Callan turned to his first love—-writing. He wrote a monthly column for a national magazine for two years. He has had four non-fiction books published. He now concentrates on his favorite genre, mystery/suspense, with his sixth book releasing in 2015.
Amazon Author Page:
Click to see Over My Dead Body.

Cleansed by Fire (paperback & e-pub) NOW in audio, narrated by five-time Emmy winner Jonathan Mumm.

Over My Dead Body at:
Character: The Heartbeat of the Novel – Second Edition at:
How to Write Great Dialog Second Edition at:
Cleansed by Fire at:

Elizabeth Haynes: Behind Closed Doors Sunday, Apr 5 2015 

Behind Closed Doors

Auntie M cannot deny she is a huge Elizabeth Haynes fan. From her first stand-alones (Into the Darkest Corner, Dark Tide, Human Remains), Haynes has taken the crime thriller and stood it on its ear with her original and creative storytelling combined with empathy for the human condition. Last year’s Under a Silent Moon continued these hallmarks while adding a strong female protagonist to a new series.

Now Haynes brings back a second installment featuring DCI Lou Smith in Behind Closed Doors, set forty miles outside London in fictional Briarstone. Auntie M is pleased report it’s every bit as well written and compelling as Haynes’ other novels, led by a character who is a fully-formed woman with relationships and devotion to her job that often conflict.

Haynes draws on her background as a former police intelligence analyst to create the device that sets this procedural series apart. She notes in interviews that she’s fascinated by the documentary evidence that accumulates during an investigation, like a jigsaw puzzle to which pieces are added daily. She uses primary policing source materials reproduced for the reader, such as police reports, interviews, analyst research, even phone messages, which add a depth and texture to the books that allow the reader to become completely immersed in Sam’s investigation when a young woman missing for a decade suddenly reappears.

Scarlett Rainsford was a fifteen-year-old enjoying her first taste of love during a family holiday in Greece, until her abduction became Lou Smith’s biggest professional regret when the case went cold without Scarlett being found. Ten years later a raid on a brothel turns up Scarlett, alive and well, and Sam needs to find out where the young woman was for all of those years, and more importantly, how and why she reappeared in England without contacting her family.

Assisting Sam is her sergeant, Sam Hollands, and the rest of her team, and as with all detective teams, this is not the only case on their plates. Activity between rival gangs have led to a murder and a violent assault, yet no one is talking, making their investigation that much harder.

Here is Haynes in her own words, describing what prompted this intriguing novel where the past is revealed in stages in contrast to Sam’s current investigation, adding yet another layer to this absorbing and original story:

“The starting point for Scarlett’s story is inspired in part by the shocking number of people who go missing every year, many thousands, and by the number that are never heard of again. In Scarlett’s case, I wanted to tell the store of her ‘missing’ years, but in doing so to examine how she might handle the truth–what she might want to reveal, and what she holds back, and why. As well as researching the law enforcement research around trafficking, I read several first-person accounts of trafficked women and I found it terrifying to think of all the women effectively forced into slavery, with very little hope of escape. Trafficking in Europe is something that is under-reported and woefully misunderstood. People think of prostitutes as working in their profession by choice, but the majority is forced into it, and living a precarious, dangerous existence with no real way of getting out.”

Find out how Scarlett does manage to get out, and yet why she hasn’t let anyone know she’s made it back to England. One of the strengths of this story is Haynes’ ability to make her story revolve as much around Lou and her investigation as it does around a victim who is not a dead body but a living woman with a horrific past. Highly recommended.


Catriona McPherson: A Deadly Measure of Brimstone Sunday, Nov 30 2014 

Deadly Measure
Auntie M loves the cover art of Catriona McPherson’s newest Dandy Gilver Scottish mystery, A Deadly Measure of Brimstone. The strong series, among other awards, won the Bruce Alexander Memorial Historical Mystery Award in 2013 and 2014.

But she liked the inside even more, as Dandy moves her two sons and husband, all recovering from a bout of the nasty chest illnesses which reach to the staff, to the spa town of Moffat to recuperate. Dandy has her own agenda to install central heating when the family is gone, and has neglected to mention this to her husband, Hugh.

Of course, with Dandy it’s never that simple. She and her partner Alec agree to take on a case to investigate the death of a woman who died suddenly at Laidlaw’s Hydropathic Establishment. Mrs. Addie’s grown children have written to ask Gilver and Osborne to look into their mother’s death, termed heart failue, which her children insist was not Mrs. Addie’s health issue before this visit.

It seems fairly simple: have Hugh and the boys treated and give them time to recover whilst investigating the death. Even aging dog Bunty comes along for the trip. But nothing is ever that straightforward with Dandy,
who soon finds herself disrobing to take saunas, cold baths, and salt rub massages all in the name of finding the evidence they seek.

With Alec also at the Hydro, the duo will find spirits, mediums, an even an after-hours establishment at the Hydro, run by Dr. Dorothea Laidlaw and her brother Thomas, who inherited the spa from their father.

McPherson gets the period details just right, from clothing and manners to the way people spoke in 1929. And Dandy’s humorous and slightly irreverent thoughts are on full display, as when Dandy and Alec endeavor to describe Mrs. Addie: “Thrashing out a description which honored her memory – one could not simply say she looked like a piglet in tweeds …”

Great fun that encapsulates the bygone Golden Age era from this award-winning author.

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