Trespass – Free on Kobo March 11-17

Trespass – Free on Kobo March 11-17

Begin an epic time-slip adventure across 5,000 years with Trespass, the first novel in the Darkeningstone trilogy.

Free ebook on Kobo – limited time offer.

For March 11-17 only – Trespass is free on Kobo stores.

Links to Kobo stores:

For all other stores and for paperbacks: books2read.com/trespass

This is a good chance to start the Darkeningstone journey in earnest, especially as you can also get the prequel for free when you become a member of my readers’ group, The Awkward Squad:

Featured Photos March 10, 2024 – Lustleigh

Featured Photos March 10, 2024 – Lustleigh

The small Devon village of Lustleigh wasn’t the model for Embervale in the Devonshire Mysteries, but it conveys an idea of the kind of place I had in mind.

Thatched cottages, a friendly-looking pub, a small shop, a church and all surrounded by beautiful countryside.

Dan and Alan would love it here – especially the pub. 

I hope you enjoy these few photos.

 

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Featured Photos February 28, 2024 – Parke

Featured Photos February 28, 2024 – Parke

Spring is in the air.

Near the town of Bovey Tracey, Parke is the slightly confusing name of a house and estate.

Once privately owned, the house and estate belong to the National Trust, and the house is home to the headquarters of the Dartmoor National Park Authority.

The grounds have plenty of paths for walking, cycling and, of course, running. We’ve visited it many times, and there’s always something different to see.

I hope you enjoy the photos.

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Featured Photos February 13, 2024 – Bovey Tracey

Featured Photos February 13, 2024 – Bovey Tracey

The nearby town of Bovey Tracey is often mentioned in the Devonshire Mysteries, so I thought I’d share a few photos to give you an idea of its leafy environs.

Generally shortened to one word, Bovey, and pronounced ‘Buvvy’, the town is an old one and still small, but it is an official town, complete with a mayor. I sometimes mention real-life issues in the books, and you’ll find Alan chuntering about the building of new houses. Bovey is a case in point. Quite a few of the surrounding fields are being turned into housing developments, and it’s not hard to see why. People want to live in a small town on the edge of Dartmoor, and the old houses weren’t built for those demands. Towns need an influx of young people and families to thrive, but if there’s no infrastructure for those people, there will be issues, e.g. with schools, doctors, transport links and so on. And if people jump in their cars and drive to an out-of-town supermarket for their needs, then there’s a chance that they won’t contribute much to the town.

That said, it’s a nice town and there have been lots of improvements. A new library and community hub was built, and an old pub that was almost falling down has been restored and converted into an arts centre that will one day include a small cinema and cafe. I’m looking forward to that.

I offer all this as background information to the books rather than as social commentary, and I hope you enjoy these few photos.

The old mill is a rather fine building, and it now houses a craft centre, gallery and cafe. The items for sale are made by local craftspeople, and it’s interesting to see the furniture, ceramics and so on. There’s a lot of skill on show, and these handmade items are things of beauty.   The V-shape stonework in the foreground is the edge of the bridge I was standing on – it’s a sort of refuge in the centre of the bridge where you can escape from the passing traffic, which is just as well as there’s no pavement on that side.

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A Snippet from the Upcoming Devonshire Detective Novel

A Snippet from the Upcoming Devonshire Detective Novel

The new crime series set in Devon is on its way.

Set in the 1990s, this isn’t an adventure for Dan and Alan since the duo would’ve been far too young to go chasing criminals. But this book will give a starring role to a character from the Devonshire Mysteries.

Tim Spiller, the world-weary detective inspector you’ve met before, is a fresh-faced detective constable starting his first job in CID. He’s done his time in uniform, but he’s ready to do some detective work, and he’s moved to Exeter to take up a post. Tim is young and full of zeal, and he’s only been married to his wife Sheila for a year.

He’s keen to impress, but how will he get on with his first case?

This is a crime novel of the kind often called a police procedural, and it’s a shade darker than the Devonshire Mysteries. The villains tend to be nasty pieces of work. There are violent crimes, although I’m not interested in going overboard with blood and gore, so I don’t think it will keep anybody up at night (unless they’re eagerly turning the pages to see what happens next). Fans of Ian Rankin or Anne Cleeves will, I hope, find something to enjoy in this book.

If you’ve read my work, there are elements that you’ll recognise. There’s a little wry humour in almost everything I write, and I’m always very interested in characters I create.  The story takes place over a few days, and I think it’s fairly pacy. I’ve found it quite quick to redraft, mainly because I’ve enjoyed racing through the chapters, and that’s a good sign.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy this snippet which is an early draft. I will be looking for beta readers soon, and the book will be edited after that.

I’m not revealing the title just yet, but that will come soon.

At this point in the story, Spiller has arrived early for his first day, and the only other person in the CID office is Detective Chief Superintendent Mark Boyce. Spiller is somewhat in awe of his new boss. They’ve exchanged a few words over a mug of tea, but DCS Boyce is quite a reserved and formal officer, so the pair quickly run out of things to say. It’s about time the other detectives show up, so let’s dive in!

Excerpt From Chapter 1

1992

The door opened, and both men breathed easier as a besuited man strode into the room.

The new arrival greeted Boyce, then acknowledged Spiller with a nod. “You must be my new DC. Tim Spiller, am I right?”

“Yes, sir.”

“Tim was here early, raring to go,” Boyce said. To Spiller, he added, “This is Detective Superintendent John Chisholm. He’ll set you on the straight and narrow. You’ll be seeing more of him than you will of me, although…” Boyce looked from Chisholm to Spiller. “I’ll be keeping an eye on you, Tim. I’m not going to hold your hand; if you need that, you’re in the wrong job. But I can see your potential, and I’ll be having a chat with you now and then, just to see how you’re doing.”

“Thank you, sir. I appreciate that.”

Boyce nodded. “Gentlemen, I’ll leave you to it.” He took a sip of his tea and then marched across the room, disappearing into a corner office and closing the door firmly.

Chisholm strolled over to his own large desk at the far end of the room, then he shrugged out of his jacket, hanging it on the back of his chair.

“First things first, Tim,” Chisholm said. “Milk and two, and leave the bag in. I can’t stand weak tea in the mornings.” He sat down and frowned at Spiller. “When you’re ready, in your own time.”

“Sorry, sir. I’ll get right on it.” As quickly as he could, Spiller made a mug of tea. He’d kept a keen eye on Boyce earlier, so he found everything he needed without difficulty. But when he splashed milk on the counter, he searched in vain for something to mop it up.

“Leave it,” Chisholm called out. “You can get a paper towel from the loo later. Bring my tea over, will you? I’ve got a tongue like the bottom of a budgie cage.”

Mumbling an apology, Spiller hurried over to Chisholm’s desk. He felt the colour rising to his cheeks, but Chisholm didn’t seem to notice. He was rifling through the stacks of cardboard folders cluttering his desk.

“Pull up a pew,” Chisholm said. “Any one will do, but that purple one is good.”

Spiller hesitated. The only purple chair in the office was noticeably newer and smarter than the others, its upholstery pristine.

“Go on,” Chisholm went on. “I haven’t got all day.”

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