I am looking out of the window at a field full of cows. Red Ruby cows if we’re being specific. How can I, Kat Stanford, born and bred in the City of London end up in a place that frankly reminds me of Cold Comfort Farm—or perhaps that’s too unkind. How about the Twilight Zone?
Just days ago I was celebrating my exit as the TV host of Fakes & Treasures and starting my dream antique business with my newly widowed mother… until I got “The Phone Call.”
Honestly, I adore my mother and of course once I learned that she had broken her hand in a car accident, I offered to stay and take care of her. The news that she had moved two hundred miles away and deliberately didn’t tell me was a shock—but I thought I dealt with that quite well. After almost fifty years of marriage to my dad— who could be a tad oppressive—why shouldn’t she reinvent herself? But why, of all places in the United Kingdom, pick rural Devon? And why buy a dilapidated carriage house on a country estate in the middle of nowhere?
But that was just the tip of the iceberg. In fact, over the last few days I’ve realized that I hardly know who my mother is at all. Case in point—she casually asked me to help her with a “bit of typing.” It turns out that for the past few decades Mum had not been lying in a dark room with a migraine. Instead she’d been secretly writing steamy romance novels under the pseudonym of Krystalle Storm. And trust me, they’re steamy and I should know because I am typing up her manuscript.
It’s embarrassing. How can my prim, conventional mother who has only known one man in the biblical sense (or so she says) write this stuff? And I can’t even take a cold shower because the plumbing is shot to pieces. Mum says the plumber will be coming “dreckly.” When I asked the Dowager Countess what that means, she laughed and explained that in the West Country, “dreckly” is like “mañana only not so urgent.” So for the time being we have to make do with a pitcher and washbasin. Victorian collectibles, toys and curios are my specialties and you’d think I’d relish the opportunity to have a taste of Victorian living. But I don’t.
Although I am determined to make my mother see sense and persuade her to return to London to stick to our plan, I have to admit that I am captivated by Honeychurch Hall. Apart from the fact that it’s stuffed full of antiques and heirlooms, the house has been around for six hundred years—as has the Honeychurch family who all seem as mad as hatters. Even the Earl’s son Harry, aged seven, strolls around the estate dressed as the famous fighter pilot called Biggles. Then there are those “below” stairs. Since when can a housekeeper afford to wear Louboutin shoes? I suspect Mrs. Hughes from Downton Abbey would have had something to say about that!
I can hear Mum calling me from upstairs through the hole in the ceiling. She needs help getting dressed. I have no idea what today will bring—other than typing up scenes of heaving bosoms and luscious lips—although yesterday, the nanny disappeared (in real life) and there was some scandal about Lord Honeychurch being involved, but I’m trying to stay out of it.
My mother, however, has already started meddling which reminds me of the promise I made to Dad to keep Mum out of trouble. I thought he was joking but now I am not so sure.
This is the third stop on the Murder at Honeychurch Hall Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour. For other stops on this tour, click HERE
You can read more about Kat and her mum in Murder at Honeychurch Hall, the first book in the “Honeychurch Hall” mystery series, published by Minotaur. Book is available at retail and online booksellers.
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Meet the author
Born in England, Hannah Dennison relocated to Los Angeles with her daughter and two cats to pursue a career in screenwriting. Along the road to publication, she has worked as an obituary reporter, antique dealer, private jet flight attendant and Hollywood screenplay analyst. Hannah is the author of the Vicky Hill Mysteries (Constable UK) and the first, in her new series, “Murder at Honeychurch Hall” (Minotaur). Now living in Portland, Oregon, Hannah continues to teach mystery writing at UCLA, has served on numerous judging committees for the Mystery Writers of America and still works part-time for a west coast advertising agency. She is married to an advertising executive and enjoys hiking, horseback riding, skiing and seriously good chocolate.
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