Happy New Year! New books and authors to watch out for in 2019…

New year

Happy New Year! We’re super excited to welcome 2019 and this cracking bunch of new authors and titles, coming soon! From astronomy and riddles to eerie graveyards, political storm clouds and 1950s New York, prepare to be puzzled, thrilled and unable to tear your eyes away from these tense and twisty new reads! Follow the links below for more details.

CURTAIN CALL by Graham Hurley

Actress Enora Andresson has a brain tumour that could kill her, she’s struggling with the wreckage of her marriage and has a strained relationship with her son. When investigative journalist Mitch Culligan appears on her doorstep, asking for her help, she is thrown into danger . . . and must confront her past while facing an uncertain future.

Read more here.

Find out more about Graham.

THE ALMANACK by Martine Bailey

Following a summons from her mother, Tabitha departs London for her home village only to discover that her mother has drowned. Determined to uncover the truth of her death, Tabitha consults her almanack which reveals her mother’s terror of someone she names only as ‘D’. With time running out, will Tabitha bring her mother’s killer to justice?

Read more here.

Find out more about Martine.


1967. Grieving the loss of her son, Cordelia Hemlock seeks out the company of the dead, taking comfort in the local churchyard. During a storm, she sees a corpse that doesn’t belong among the crumbling bones. Cordelia begins to investigate, but there are those who believe the village’s secrets should remain buried . . . whatever the cost.

Read more here.

Find out more about David.

NIGHT WATCH by David C. Taylor

New York, 1956. Two bizarre deaths occur under suspicious circumstances. But before Detective Michael Cassidy can begin investigating these cases he is threatened by an unknown man, for reasons which are unclear. Are all three incidents connected? If so, will Cassidy live long enough to find out before his would-be assassin claims his life?

Read more here.

Find out more about David.



Beware the prime rib! Behind the book with Amy Patricia Meade for COOKIN’ THE BOOKS

Cookin' the Books

Literary caterer Letitia ‘Tish’ Tarragon fights to save her reputation and catch a killer when a murder occurs during a fundraising dinner for the local library.

Letitia ‘Tish’ Tarragon has just moved to Hobson Glen and opened a new restaurant and catering business, Cookin’ the Books Cafe. So when her new landlord, Schulyer Thompson, recommends her to Binnie Broderick, the executive director of the local library, Tish is delighted. Binnie needs a last-minute caterer to create a literary inspired three-course dinner for the library’s annual fundraiser, one of the highlights of Hobson Glen’s social season. But there’s a problem: Binnie Broderick is a notoriously difficult woman to please. And when she chokes to death from arsenic poisoning after dousing her main course in hot sauce, Tish suddenly finds herself fighting to save her business – and her reputation. It seems that very few of Hobson Glen’s residents escaped Binnie’s disapproval. But who would want her dead, and why?

We’ve been gluttonous over the festive period, devouring this darkly delicious new mystery from Amy Patricia Meade! Find out how Amy’s passion for cooking led to this tantalising first in a brand-new culinary cozy series.

Strangely enough, COOKIN’ THE BOOKS began, not as a culinary mystery, but as an answer to a call for a mystery featuring animals and a small town veterinary office.

My sample pages for the veterinary mystery were ultimately rejected, but my agent and I so loved the central characters of Julian Jefferson Davis, Mary Jo Okensholt, Celestine Rufus, and veterinarian Philippa Reed, that we determined they needed their own series. During a flurry of pre-Christmas emails exchanged while I was visiting in Vermont, my agent finally asked: “Aside from writing, what are you passionate about?”

The answer was clear to anyone who’s even glanced at my social media accounts. Cooking.

After a few more emails, we decided to set the series at a literary café and catering business and to include more than a few terrible puns on the menu. Recharged and with tongue fully in cheek, I set to work on a synopsis and the sample pages immediately after Christmas.

First, I needed a new, non-equine name for my protagonist, so the dark haired Philippa Reed became the blonde cook, Letitia ‘Tish’ Tarragon. (As cooks seldom waste ingredients, ‘Reed’ would be recycled as ‘Reade’, the surname of COOKIN’s local sheriff).

As I was returning to traditional publishing after a lengthy hiatus, I decided that Tish should be starting her catering/café business after a failed marriage and a twenty-year stint in the finance sector. And, as I had recently moved from Vermont to Virginia, I thought there was no better place to set Tish’s new business than in a small town outside Richmond, the crossroads of southern charm and northern sensibilities, of artistic and hippy culture and national military operations.

From that point, I built the town of Hobson Glen. Langhorne, the conure featured prominently on the book’s cover, was inspired by a green parrot I encountered riding his owner’s shoulder on Richmond’s Cary Street on New Year’s Day. The rest of the town’s residents are collages of personality traits of people I’ve either known or observed.

I sincerely hope you enjoy your visit with Tish and the citizens of Hobson Glen as much as I’ve enjoyed creating them. Just a quick word of caution, though: if you decide to attend the library fundraiser during your visit, you might want to stay away from the Prime Rib.

COOKIN’ THE BOOKS is out now in the UK and from 1 March in the US. Find more details here.

Read our Editor’s Pick for COOKIN’ THE BOOKS here.

Brrr! Our favourite books to snuggle up with on a cold night


It’s cold outside, but we’re embracing roaring log fires, mulled wine, cozy jumpers, cherry bakewell mince pies (a revelation!) and this wonderful selection of chilly reads.

From an incredibly tense Christmas Eve to extraordinary voyages, Russia vs USA (in Alaska), picturesque English villages and Christie-inspired mysteries, check out our list of books to snuggle up with on an icy cold night.

WHIRLWIND by Hilary Norman

Liza Plain, a Boston-based journalist hoping for her big break, is dreading spending Christmas in Rhode Island, with her difficult grandfather – until news of the disappearance of a retired local priest triggers her realization that this could be linked to a series of unsolved, church-linked missing persons cases.

More details here.


Shortly after Lord Elsmere re-insures his favourite painting for a hefty price, it is stolen and with no sign of a break-in. Elsmere is known to be struggling financially, so is it a staged theft or has one of his guests taken it? Seething animosities, jealousy, secrets and deception are all found once PIs Langham and Ralph Ryland take on the case.

More details here.

THE ICE MAIDEN by Sara Sheridan

1842. Karina, disguised as a cabin boy, stows away on a British ship, but she is in for a nasty shock. As conditions worsen onboard, Karina and the crew tested to their limits. Then something extraordinary happens and Karina’s story becomes intertwined with some of the 20th century’s bravest Polar explorers.

More details here.

FOLLY by Stella Cameron

Following the breakdown of her marriage, Alex Duggins has returned to her picturesque home town in the Cotswolds in order to start afresh. But you can’t outrun the past, as Alex discovers, when she stumbles across a frosted corpse buried in the snow. The subsequent murder investigation threatens to unearth old secrets – including Alex’s own.

More details here.

CYANIDE WITH CHRISTIE by Katherine Bolger Hyde

Having finished transforming Windy Corner, the grand Victorian mansion she inherited from her great aunt, into a writers’ retreat, widowed literature professor Emily Cavanaugh is ready to receive her first set of guests. But her careful planning is thrown into disarray by the unexpected arrival of outrageous true-crime writer, Cruella Crime, whose unpardonably rude behaviour is causing great offence. As a ferocious ice storm rages outside, the guests entertain one another with a game of charades. But their revelries are brought to a sudden halt by the discovery of a body in one of the guest bedrooms. When it transpires the victim was poisoned, Emily decides to take a leaf out of the book of her favourite detective writer, Agatha Christie, and investigate. But as she pursues her enquiries, it becomes chillingly clear that she herself may have been the intended victim.

More details here.

MAN ON ICE by Humphrey Hawksley

Captain Rake Ozenna of the elite Eskimo Scouts unit and his fiancée, trauma surgeon Carrie Walker, are at his remote home island in the Bering Strait when Russian helicopters swarm in. As news breaks of a possible invasion, Ozenna realizes that the only way to save his Alaskan island community is to undertake a perilous mission across the ice.

More details here.




#BookExtract: FALSE ACCOUNT by Veronica Heley

false account

Wealthy Marcia Tredgold and her daughter, Charlotte, want Bea Abbot to find them new staff to replace those who have left under a cloud. Bea discovers that all those dismissed were close to Marcia Tredgold, and senses that something is not right. Were they framed, and if so by whom – and why?

The hugely entertaining new Bea Abbot mystery has landed, and the surprises are coming thick and fast for Bea! In this book extract from the early pages, Bea thinks Marcia Tredgold wants her help to find new domestic staff, but a tête-à-tête in her garden reveals a shocking and unexpected twist . . .


Bea started up from her chair. The French windows had swung to but Mrs Tredgold had disappeared!

Had she fallen down the outside stairs into the garden?

Bea wrenched the doors open, and looked out.

One storey below and at the far end of the garden, Mrs Tredgold was sitting in the sun on the cast iron garden bench, communing with Bea’s long-haired black cat, Winston. They were sizing one another up, oblivious to the rest of the world.

Bea hurried down the staircase, holding onto the rail.

Mrs Tredgold looked up as Bea approached. ‘Such a pretty garden. Do forgive me, my dear. I wanted to speak to you without my daughter hearing. Bad things have been happening. Charlotte will tell you all about the cooks and cleaners who have come and gone. They all had glowing testimonials, but all left under a cloud. I want to talk to you about something else.’

For a moment Mrs Tredgold’s expression of determined – if not forced – geniality was missing. What seemed like panic looked out of her eyes . . . and then it was gone.

Bea was concerned. Was the woman putting on an act? And if so, why? Bea thought that Mrs Tredgold was something of an enigma. Was she just a delightful but semi-dotty old woman who had flashes of intelligence? Had she really engineered this tête-à-tête in the garden? And if so, how much notice should be taken of her ramblings . . . if they were indeed ramblings, and not acute judgements on her family and household?

Bea sensed trouble would accompany anything to do with the Tredgold’s and was disinclined to continued this conversation. She made a show of looking at her watch.

‘Well, if that’s all, I’d better go back up to speak to your daughter.’

‘Don’t be obtuse, young woman. I haven’t yet told you what I want you to do.’

Bea hadn’t been called a ‘young woman’ for many years. She blinked.

‘When I’m ready, I will leave you with my daughter who will instruct you as to finding replacements for the staff which have been found to be less than honest. I want you to find out who killed Mitzi and Poppy.’

Bea gaped. Who were Mitzi and Poppy? Mrs Tredgold’s daughters-in-law? Or possibly, grandchildren? ‘What happened to them? Weren’t the police involved?’

‘Don’t be stupid. Why would the police be involved in the death of my cats? Now, give me your arm and take me back upstairs. I’m not as young as I used to be, and I need my afternoon nap before I go to the dentist’s this afternoon.’

FALSE ACCOUNT is out now in the UK and is available from 1 April in the US. Read more here.

#BookExtract: HARDCASTLE’S QUANDARY by Graham Ison


Has Captain Guy Stoner been murdered? His uncle, the Reverend Percy Stoner, is convinced he has. He recently received a letter, supposedly from Guy, claiming that there had been a fire at his farm in Ditton, Surrey, and asking for money. Hardcastle and Detective Sergeant Charles Marriott are assigned the case, and make a shocking discovery . . .

The fifteenth entry in the Hardcastle and Marriott historical mystery series is as much of a delight as the previous novels – Divisional Detective Inspector Ernie Hardcastle is still at the top of his game and has lost none of his sparkle, though could that danger word, ‘retirement’ be creeping into his thinking . . .? As Ernie’s latest investigation gathers pace, one of his team, Henry Catto, comes face to face with an earl and his wife, the irrepressible and charismatic Lady Wilmslow, as described in the extract below. 

Catto was on the point of taking his leave when the door of the drawing room opened, and a woman entered – he guessed she was about thirty-five years of age – elegantly attired in a green dress that just covered her knees.  She wore a long string of beads, and her hair was bobbed in what was known as an Eton crop.

‘Hello, love,’ she said, addressing the earl in coarse tones.  ‘Thought I ’eard voices.’

‘Ah, Catto, this is my wife,’ said the earl.

Catto stood up and took the woman’s proffered hand. ‘How d’you do, Lady Wilmslow?’

‘I’m doin’ all right, thanks, love, but do call me Dolly. Everyone does.’ She held on to Catto’s hand for a little longer than necessary, before turning to the earl. ‘Where did you find this ’andsome young blade, Monty?’

‘He’s a police officer, Dolly,’ said Wilmslow, smiling. ‘He’s here making enquiries about Lavinia.’  It was apparent that Wilmslow felt he owed Catto an explanation. ‘The countess is my second wife, Catto.  She was in a revue at the Chiswick Empire when I found her a year ago.  She gave a very good rendition of “I wish I could shimmy like my sister Kate,” didn’t you, Dolly?’

‘Yeah,’ said the countess, and laughed loudly.  ‘I ain’t bad when I get goin’, even though I says it meself.’

Catto was aware that in the enlightened nineteen twenties, members of the aristocracy were known occasionally to marry actresses and others in ‘the profession’, something that had been going in since before the turn of the century.  But the new Lady Wilmslow, although possessed of a good figure, needed to work on her elocution.  There again, he thought, perhaps it was one of the characteristics that had attracted the earl in the first place.

‘I’ll make some enquiries about Lady Lavinia, sir,’ said Catto, ‘and inform you of any developments. I understand that you’re not connected to the telephone.’

‘Certainly not. Wouldn’t have one of the damned things in the house.’  Wilmslow stood up and shook hands. ‘Thank you, Catto, and I look forward to hearing from you. By the way, how did you get here?’

‘Train from London, sir, and cab from Winchester station.’

Wilmslow tugged at the bell-pull, and when Patterson appeared, he said, ‘Get Tuppen to take Mr Catto to Winchester station, Patterson.’

‘Very good, My Lord.’

‘Cheerio, love,’ exclaimed Lady Wilmslow.  ‘Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do,’ she added, and emitted a ribald laugh. ‘That ought to give you plenty of leeway.’

HARDCASTLE’S QUANDARY is available now in the UK and from 1 April in the US. Learn more here.



Art & Murder: the inspiration behind MURDER SERVED COLD by Eric Brown

murder served cold1

Shortly after Lord Elsmere re-insures his favourite painting for a hefty price, it is stolen and with no sign of a break-in. Elsmere is known to be struggling financially, so is it a staged theft or has one of his guests taken it? Seething animosities, jealousy, secrets and deception are all found once PIs Langham and Ralph Ryland take on the case.

We love learning fascinating things about our authors! How does the theft of valuable paintings mirror Eric Brown’s own daydreams, and how did his interest in art theft inspire the plot for his engrossing and twisty new mystery featuring the utterly charming private investigator, Donald Langham? Eric explains below. 

I’ve always been interested in art theft. I like reading about the many and ingenious means by which thieves attempt to steal valuable paintings. I’ve written short stories on the subject, and I often daydream about how I might go about stealing paintings myself. (Purely for reasons of research, I assure you). When I began planning this novel, Murder Served Cold, it was initially about the theft of a painting from a Suffolk manor house, and the murder was going to be incidental. Then, as the story and characters took off, things changed. Private detectives Ryland and Langham are called in to find out what has happened to Lord Elsmere’s family heirloom, a valuable Gainsborough, which has vanished from the library. They find where the picture was stashed, much to his lordship’s delight, and have a good idea who the culprit might be – when a body is discovered buried under leaves in nearby woods. What as been a successful art theft case turns into a murder investigation, which uncovers a nest of vipers at Neston Manor and an array of suspects, any one of whom had reason for wanting the murder victim out of the way. Murder Served Cold is set in 1956, in the heart of a freezing winter, and is the sixth novel in the Langham and Dupré series about a thriller writer and part-time detective, Donald Langham, his French wife Maria, and Ralph Ryland, his partner at the detective agency.

MURDER SERVED COLD is out now in the UK and from 1 April in the US. Find out more here.

#BookExtract: ROUGH MUSIC by Robin Blake


Rough Music

The year is 1744 and an epidemic threatens. Lancashire Coroner Titus Cragg repairs to a remote rural backwater, but life here is far from quiet as he and his friend Dr Luke Fidelis probe the death of a woman, victim to a cruel community punishment, and the subsequent disappearance of the squire’s wife. Robin Blake’s latest is a twisty tale of dark secrets, vicious lies and strange surprises.

We’re thrilled to see the return of Cragg and Fidelis in ROUGH MUSIC, an enthralling new addition to the critically acclaimed series. The extract below is from chapter 13, where Cragg compares the responsibilities of a coroner to those of an author, and comes face to face with the villagers . . .

In theory a coroner conducting an inquest has the responsibilities of the author of a novel – or that’s how I see it. He alone views every person’s face, and notes everything that happens, while the people he observes – audience, jury and witnesses – are turned all towards him. Like the author’s characters, they see just what he permits them to see and know what he thinks it proper for them to know. But, I say, in theory. In practice it does not always come out like that. An author can exercise complete control over proceedings in hand but the coroner is at the mercy of time and chance, and of human whimsy. The likelihood that he may lose control much increases when the witnesses and the jury are strangers to him, and he to them.

I looked around the Chamber Major. The villagers were arrayed before me in their stuff-gowns, spit-boots and patched buffin coats. Their mouths hung open in bovine fascination, most showing toothless and diseased gums, and yellowish mottled tongues, and I felt a sudden surge of disgust. What had they to do with me or I with them? We belonged to different to worlds that could never truly connect, however much we call across the void that separates us. Their speech could sound to my urban ears as the grunting of pigs, while I sometimes thought the things I had to say might as well (in their ears) be spoken in Hebrew.

ROUGH MUSIC is out now in the UK and from 1 April in the US. Read more here.

#BookExtract: THE HANGING PSALM by Chris Nickson

hanging psalm

Leeds, 1820. Simon Westow, a Leeds thief-taker, knows all about lost property. But when he is asked to find the kidnapped daughter of a successful Leeds businessman, Simon and his assistant, Jane, face a challenge like no other. Could the answers lie within the streets of Leeds and a figure from Simon’s own past?

Ahead of its US release date, there have been some fantastic reviews in for this first in a new series!

Bestselling writer Joanne Harris has described it as being ‘beautifully balanced between suspense and action’, while Publishers Weekly lauds Simon as a ‘welcome contrast to such aristocratic Regency sleuths as C.S. Harris’s Sebastian St. Cyr’. 

The extract below is from the start of the book, where Simon recalls his childhood in the brutal workhouse a dark moment, but one that gives us a insight into his incredible resilience. 


Leeds, 1820

They were grave men. Sober men, neat in their black coats, white stocks snowy and clean, tied tight at the neck. Important people, businessmen and landowners. Men who believed that wealth and position gave them a heavensent command of life. Three of them together at the carefully polished table, papers arranged in piles before them. The one in the middle spoke.

‘Your name is Simon Westow. Is that correct?’

He waited for a moment before he answered. Let them look at me, he thought. Let them see me.

‘That’s right.’

‘How old are you?’

‘Thirty in July. If I was told the truth.’ He wasn’t about to call them sir. If they wanted his respect, let them bloody earn it.

‘You were in the workhouse, I believe?’ The man kept his voice even, glancing at the sheet he held.

‘I went there when I was four, after my parents died. There was no one else to take me in.’ He could hear the scratch of a pen as the clerk in the corner took down his answers.

‘How did they treat you? When did they put you out to work?’

‘Are you really sure you want to know that?’

That made them stop. Just for a second. But he had their attention. The man behind the desk gave a condescending smile.

‘Of course we do. That’s the purpose of this commission and these questions. Our intention is to find out about child labour.’ A slight pause. ‘But you must know that. I understand it was made perfectly clear to you.’

Oh yes, he thought. Perfectly.

‘They set us on at the mill when we were six, and let the manufactories do their worst.’

‘Their worst?’ He laid a soft emphasis on the word. ‘And what might that be? Were you beaten often?’

‘We were,’ Simon told him. ‘Boys and girls alike.’

The man looked down and shuffled a few of his papers.

‘More than once the overseer made us take off our shirts, climb into one of the bins on the floor, and he’d hit us with his stick until we were bloody.’ He let his words remain steady as the memories raged through his mind. The facts could speak loudly enough.

‘I see. What else?’

‘They’d tie a two-stone weight to our backs and make us work. Two of them for the bigger lads. They said it would make us strong so we’d be able to work harder.’

They looked a little uncomfortable now, all of them shifting on their seats. Good.

‘There was one boy who could never do his job fast enough,’ Simon said. ‘He tried, but he couldn’t manage it. Every week the overseer hung him from a beam by his wrists and used a strap on his back to try and teach him a lesson.’

‘Did he improve?’

‘He died. He was seven years old.’

The men were staring now. The clerk had stopped his writing. The only sound in the room was the soft tick of the longclock. But he hadn’t finished yet.

‘Once they took a pair of vises, and screwed one to each of my ears. Then they had me work half the day with them in place.’

The man grimaced. ‘Why would they do that? How could it improve you?’

‘It was for their own amusement. I still have the scars.’

But they wouldn’t want to see, he knew that. He’d leave this room and they’d try to forget everything he told them. Maybe it would return in their dreams tonight. Every night to come. Exactly the way it had for him for years after it was over.

‘Don’t you want to know where it happened?’ Simon asked. ‘Don’t you want the name of the mills and their owners?’

The man shook his head. ‘That’s not part of this inquiry. We’re here to discover facts, not blame people for things that happened in the past.’ His voice changed, becoming oilier, trying to appease. ‘How long did you work there?’

‘Until I was thirteen. Seven years.’

‘Thank you, Mr Westow.’

He stood, back straight, and walked to the door. A final question made him turn.

‘What is your occupation now?’

He stared at them. ‘I’m a thief-taker.’

THE HANGING PSALM is out now in the UK and is available from 1 January in the US. Find out more here.

Editor’s Pick Jan 2019 UK and May 2019 US: THE ALMANACK by Martine Bailey

The stars are aligning for our Editor’s Pick: the dazzlingly intriguing THE ALMANACK by Martine Bailey.

The Almanack

1752, Midsummer. Following a desperate summons from her mother, Tabitha Hart departs London for her home village of Netherlea – only to discover that her mother has allegedly drowned. Determined to discover the truth about the Widow Hart’s death, Tabitha consults her mother’s almanack and uncovers a series of cryptic notes describing her terror of someone she names only as ‘D’.

Joining forces with mysterious young writer Nat Starling, Tabitha begins a race against time to unmask ‘D’ as more murders follow. But as the sun retreats and snow cuts off Netherlea from the outside world, Tabitha and Nat are forced to face the darkest hours of their lives. With the Almanack predicting the year will reach a ‘violent, bloody end’, can Tabitha survive to bring her mother’s killer to justice?

Before reading this intricately plotted and absorbing tale, I must confess I was not very knowledgeable about the movements of the planets, or almanacks, but I was drawn into Tabitha’s starry world from the very first page – or, more accurately, the first riddle! Used to living on her wits, Tabitha is clever, feisty and mischievous, never wavering in her mission to unmask her mother’s killer, while also falling for the handsome, rakish romantic, Nathaniel Starling.

The combination of vividly realised characters, folklore, superstition and no less than fifty brain-teasing riddles – one at the start of each chapter – left me struggling to tear my eyes, and my mind, away. But at the heart of this darkly fascinating mystery lies the most perplexing enigma of all: who is the mysterious ‘D’? Could it be Darius, a local ne’er-do-well, Parson Dilks, Sir John De Vallory, Lady Daphne, Nell Dainty, the dogman up at the kennels… or, as his mother is named Hannah Dove, could it even be Nathaniel himself? After much pondering over such a conundrum, the ending satisfies on many levels, revealing not only a chilling murderer but also, most gratifyingly, the solutions to the riddles.

If you enjoy richly told historical mysteries full of spirit and a good dose of superstition, my own humble prognostication for 2019 is that THE ALMANACK will dazzle and intrigue you in equal measure, as well as leaving you ever so slightly twinkly-eyed!

THE ALMANACK is available from 31 January in the UK and 1 May in the US. Read more here.


Behind the Book: GETTING OLD WILL HAUNT YOU by Rita Lakin


When a lawyer is seemingly speared to death by a marlin in a fishing accident when he was all alone, an old couple are in danger of losing their family estate but know it was murder. The Gladdy Gold’s Detective Agency think it’ll be an easy case when told there’s a witness… until they realise that witness is the ghost of Ernest Hemmingway!

Rita Lakin reveals the inspiration behind Gladdy Gold and her Girls…

Getting Old Will Haunt You is the ninth book is the series about a group of senior women who become private eyes. All titles start with Getting Old is— (Getting Old is Murder was the first of the titles). It was loosely based on my mother, relatives and friends who retired in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. It was great fun imagining my mother as a private eye in a place as wacky as Florida.

Why I wrote the Gladdy Gold books

I decide to write a novel after I moved away from Hollywood. Pondered over what to write about? During a 25 years period, I had visited my family often in Ft. Lauderdale. And all of them lived in the same huge condo retirement community. And turned it into their same little family village. In NY, they’d phoned one another 2-3 times a day because of the distances. In Florida, they still called one another even though they could wave to them from their windows.

I decided I wanted to write about my family. Because I had watched them happily moving into retirement, I watched them deal with the changes in the twenty-five years, now in their seventies and eighties.

But after 25 years of visits, everything in their lives had changed. Now there were widows and widowers. New family units were formed.  I wanted to write about those changes. I also wanted the book to be a valentine to my mother. And the subject of ageing grabbed me.

So, I started to write a serious novel. As I got into it, I was writing about loneliness and sickness and dying and grieving. It was soooo depressing. I threw all my notes away. That’s not what I wanted to write.

Then I remembered something. Two somethings.

Whenever I used to visit, I was aware of my family always laughing. And telling jokes. Was it freedom from the toils of working years and raising kids? Or were they just going into their second childhood. They were very busy – having a good time, unaware they were being very funny They played cards and cheated while playing, then fighting and making up. A ritual that left them screaming with laughter. Then met at the pool every morning with the rest of the residents – to exchange juicy gossip and complain about their children. They religiously went to early bird dinners. Fighting over getting there early enough so they’d get their favorite waitress and foods. Dinner ended up about 3 o’clock.

GETTING OLD WILL HAUNT YOU is available from 28 December in the UK and from 1 March 2019 in the US. Read more here.