A very happy New Year to all our visitors. May 2023 bring you health, wealth and happiness and, for the authors among us, booming sales.
As we said in our Christmas blog, the hive is on holiday until next weekend. But we don’t want to leave you with nothing, so we’re repeating the Christmas and New Year serial that Sophie wrote a year or two back.
The first episode is below. The link to subsequent episodes is at the end of each. It’s like binging on box sets of Downton or Bridgerton. Feel free to read all the episodes at a sitting. You know you want to!
CHRISTMAS MYSTERY SERIAL by Sophie Weston: EPISODE 1
There was fog over the rooftops when Liv looked out from her bedroom window for the last time. She kind of loved this view of her bit of London. Like Mary Poppins and her sweep, she saw Victorian chimneys, with a distant church tower and, even further away, a block of Edwardian apartments. Continue reading →
When I started writing stories, I always set off flying into the mist. Well, I was very young. Often – no make that always, at least to begin with – I ran out of steam. Can’t tell you how many snippets of unwritten novels I have in my filing system.
One of the things I have been doing during lockdown is reading my way through them.
It was part of my general de-cluttering objective. And no, that hasn’t got very far at all, if you’re wondering. To be honest, I have binned very little yet.
Partly, this is because of how long it has taken me.
Stories Flying Into the Mist
I got back into the stories pretty quickly, to my surprise. Even more surprisingly, I remembered pretty nearly every one. Continue reading →
Holidays? Wot holidays? Just non-holidays, actually.
Towards the end of last year, Sophie blogged on the perennial school essay topic of What I Did On My Holidays. With Easter coming up soon, I’ve been thinking about holidays too. And I’ve realised how much I’ve missed over the last year of more or less permanent lockdown. You might be feeling equally stir-crazy?
I haven’t been away from home for a year. But I should have been. I had holidays and trips booked. They had to be postponed or cancelled. So I’m going to muse on might-have-beens. Non-holidays, if you like.
After all, we writers use our imaginations all the time. So why not holiday that way?
Lake District Non-Holidays (of the working variety)
Imagine walking down that beautiful hillside towards the water, smelling the freshness of the trees and feeling the breeze on your face. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to be able to do that? Continue reading →
CHRISTMAS MYSTERY by Sophie Weston: EPISODE 12 Conclusion Missed the start? Click here to read from episode 1
The nurse lived a good way out and insisted on taking them in for a drink to celebrate the New Year. As it turned out, this included a substantial ham sandwich which Patrick snarfed down like a starving wolf.
“Wonderful,” he said. “Busy day. First chance to eat.”
The nurse beamed and waved them off with a care package of goodies from the meal she was preparing to see in the New Year.
In the car on the way back, Liv relaxed, even when Patrick said, “Why didn’t you tell me to drive you to the Food Bank?”
She was surprised. “You were completely immersed in your research. I didn’t want to break your concentration.”
CHRISTMAS MYSTERY by Sophie Weston: EPISODE 12 Part 1 Missed the start? Click here to read from episode 1
The nurse was instantly alert. “Does he want to hurt you?”
“I don’t know,” said Liv. “And I don’t know why he’s following me. I don’t even know who he is.”
Except that the daring, athletic cyclist was definitely not Francis. That was a relief in one way. But only a small way. She could feel the hamster wheel of panic start up again. She breathed carefully.
I can deal with this. I CAN DEAL WITH THIS.
But she felt as if her bones had turned to netting and her stomach cramped.
The nurse stayed cool and stuck to the important stuff. “He’s followed you before?” Continue reading →
CHRISTMAS MYSTERY by Sophie Weston: EPISODE 11 Missed the start? Click here to read from episode 1
“No,” said Liv.
She went on saying it while Patrick Fell delivered a lecture from the podium on why this was absolutely the best—no, the only—solution. In the end, she was so cold that she said in desperation, “Can we discuss this in your car? I’m freezing.”
He harrumphed a bit, but agreed, though he made her put her mask on and opened all the car windows. “If this takes too long, I shall have to lower the top,” he warned her. “With current virus restrictions, it behoves people like us to be responsible.”
Liv swung round to look at him in disbelief. “Who the hell says behoves in the twenty-first century?”
“It’s a nice economical word and it says what I mean. Now, your place or mine?” Continue reading →
CHRISTMAS MYSTERY by Sophie Weston: EPISODE 10 Missed the start? Click here to read from episode 1
Liv tried to sleep that night. She really tried. But her head was buzzing with half-formed ideas, questions, splinters of memory that she couldn’t get rid of.
At 2.13 a.m., she got up and made tea. She huddled into the rented couch in the rented room and remembered the big, uncomfortable chairs in Francis’s beloved drawing room That Night.
Even the professional florist’s arrangement had been too big. Come to think of it, Liv had never ordered it. Francis must have sent it specially. Set dressing for a supposedly impromptu celebration after the board meeting at Temple Blake Rossignol. Continue reading →
CHRISTMAS MYSTERY by Sophie Weston: EPISODE 8 Missed the start? Click here to read from episode 1
Mr Christoferou had been as good as his word. Liv had to ring the bell at the guest house. When he opened the door to her, he said at once, “I get your luggage.”
“I don’t want to leave yet,” she said, alarmed.
“No, no. Not until next week. I know. We locked all your things away while you were out, as I said.”
“Er, thank you.”
He brought them to her room, in a businesslike stackable container. As soon as he’d gone, she opened her laptop and searched the old email in-box for Patrick Fell’s message with his mobile number. There were nearly two hundred messages waiting. Continue reading →
CHRISTMAS MYSTERY by Sophie Weston: EPISODE 7 Missed the start? Click here to read from episode 1
Liv was silent as they walked back. Patrick Fell didn’t seem to notice. He talked all the time, but it was more like thinking aloud than conversation. She caught phrases: borrow a car, sequence of events, intruders, enemy. But he neither asked nor seemed to expect her to respond.
The entrance of the multi-storey car park held a tall Christmas tree, hung with multi-coloured lights that blinked on and off. Liv thought it looked gallant but forlorn among the discarded shopping trolleys. Patrick ignored it and the sign to the lifts. He took the stairs, still talking.
Liv followed, her thoughts tumbling over each other. Could she trust him? Rosa trusted him but Rosa wasn’t being followed by persons unknown. Did she know him really well? Better than Liv did, anyway?
Above all, why did he take this case? They hadn’t discussed payment. OK, Liv had been anxious, off-balance, not thinking straight. But surely Patrick should have told her his terms of business? Wasn’t that the first thing that a bona fide private detective would have done? Now she thought about it, it felt all wrong. Continue reading →