Tag Archives: mystery

Noir at the Bar : crime, alcohol, the ideal mixture?

Noir at the Bar, I’m told, first appeared in Philadelphia in 2008.

The full story is here.

Brits, not slow to adopt anything that takes place over a drink in a pub, quickly caught on. It’s now a popular pastime for crime and mystery writers all over the UK.

Crawley Festival of Words

Elly Griffiths, Barbara Nadel and Derek Farrell at Crawley Festival of WordsCrawley, my nearest big town, has a month-long Festival of Words in March and it includes a very popular crime weekend.

There was a crime panel hosted by Derek Farrell – author of the Danny Bird Mysteries — who was talking to Elly Griffiths and Barbara Nadel.  Caroline Green gave a workshop on writing “killer characters”. Spooky readings were the Saturday night treat in the ancient cloisters. The culmination of the weekend was Noir at the Bar, held in an oak-beamed pub called the Old Punch Bowl.

Was I nervous?

Crawley Crime Weekend ProgrammeWhen I received an invitation to appear at Noir at the Bar and read from one of my own books, I leapt at the chance. Who wouldn’t? I’m new to this genre and I need the exposure as a “crime” writer. The terror, the why-did-I-say-I’d-do-this regret would come later…

I’m applying the same technique to a couple of gigs I’ve signed up for at CRIMEfest next month. I have never moderated a panel before, but they say that doing something that scares you is a good thing… Continue reading

Happy New Year with our Sophie Weston serial

Audiobooks, explosion of delightA 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
London skyline with St Paul's dome and skyscrapers in fog

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

Springing into Summer, Today, Tomorrow, One Day Soon?

Today the Libertà hive are in celebratory mood, springing towards summer by relaunching our collection of novellas, Beach Hut Surprise.

In spring, says the poet, a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love. (Actually it was Tennyson in Locksley Hall, written when he was twenty-five and presumably knew what he was talking about. At least in the Young Man Department anyway.)

This spring, after a grim year of Covid 19 and at least three lockdowns, most of us, even the least romantic, are starting to think of Getting Out A Bit. It gives us hope. Continue reading

Sophie’s Christmas Mystery Serial Episode 12 conclusion

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.”

“Hrrmph.” Continue reading

Sophie’s Christmas Mystery Serial Episode 12 Part 1

CHRISTMAS MYSTERY by Sophie Weston: EPISODE 12 Part 1
Missed the start? Click here to read from episode 1

blue and silver christmas tree

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

Sophie’s Christmas Mystery Serial Episode 11

CHRISTMAS MYSTERY by Sophie Weston: EPISODE 11
Missed the start? Click here to read from episode 1

Kings Road Christmas Lights

“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

Sophie’s Christmas Mystery Serial Episode 10

CHRISTMAS MYSTERY by Sophie Weston: EPISODE 10
Missed the start? Click here to read from episode 1

arrangement of roses tinted the wrong colours

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

Sophie’s Christmas Mystery Serial Episode 9

CHRISTMAS MYSTERY by Sophie Weston: EPISODE 9
Missed the start? Click here to read from episode 1

Liv finally agreed to meet Patrick Fell on the day London and the South East went into the new Tier 4 lockdown. It was a Sunday.

“Two people can meet in the open air,” said Patrick, when she pointed that out. “Pick your park.”

She opted for Battersea, by the bandstand. He was there before her, reading a map display.

“Let’s walk,” he said. And, as they started down an overgrown path, “Have you kept up your notebook?” Continue reading

Sophie’s Christmas Mystery Serial Episode 8

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

Sophie’s Christmas Mystery Serial Episode 7

CHRISTMAS MYSTERY by Sophie Weston: EPISODE 7
Missed the start? Click here to read from episode 1

blue ball on Christmas tree branch

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