A WISE Woman faces life as a new, still working, mother
Carol Hill knew her body would never be the same, but, as she looked down at her infant son sleeping soundly, she also knew she didn’t care one bit. It wasn’t as though she’d ever been anything but a cuddly girl and a well-rounded woman – not unusual for the Welsh – so she had no ridiculous ideas about losing the baby weight any time soon. Besides, her husband David loved her just the way she was, and now they had Albert too . . . so life was perfect.
Creeping down the wide staircase in the beautifully proportioned Georgian house that overlooked the green at the heart of the village of Anwen-by-Wye, which she and her family now called home, Carol counted her blessings – which were many. She’d enjoyed a wonderful career as the head of a large team of computing specialists in the City of London for years, but now couldn’t imagine that life had ever held any appeal for her. Oh yes, she’d enjoyed besting the men who’d incorrectly imagined a girl raised on a farm in West Wales wouldn’t know her onions when it came to computers, but she’d become bored with winning that game relatively quickly. She’d been almost relieved when the specialist had told her that giving up her stressful career, with its deadlines and long hours, might help her be better able to conceive.
After only a few months in her new role as one of the four women who operated the WISE Enquiries Agency, she and David had been able to spread the good news about the impending arrival of a “Baby Hill”. . . a little joke which had led to her growing belly being referred to as “Bump”.
As Carol settled herself at the scrubbed table in her jolly, yellow kitchen, surrounded by her collection of all sorts of cat-decorated paraphernalia, she acknowledged she’d been taking it easy at work since Albert’s birth; Mavis MacDonald, Annie Parker and Christine Wilson-Smythe – her partners in the business – had made no bones about insisting she should work shorter hours, so she hadn’t argued. But Albert was a couple of months old now, and she felt it was time for her to begin to contribute more than she had been to the business.
Bunty, Carol’s beloved calico cat, stretched lazily on the mat beside the Aga, and made her signature groaning-purring sound which told Carol she was happy, and not about to move for some time. Taking comfort in her surroundings, Carol delighted in the fact that the wonderful thing about her role for the company was that she could be just as effective when working at her dining room table as she could at the office; Carol’s specialty was using her computing skills to collect information from around the world, using the internet, as much modern technology as she could get her hands on and her almost-magical research skills. Carol smiled as she thought about how her colleagues spoke about her; she knew there was no magic involved, just a great deal of experience and some excellent contacts she could call upon when needed, but she liked it when they “Oh-ed” and ‘Ah-ed” at what she’d managed to unearth. Carol told herself it was quite normal to enjoy being admired for one’s skills.
The village green lay peacefully beyond her windows; she could see Sharon Jones opening up the village shop, pulling the racks to display her fruits and vegetables onto the pavement. She’d promised Mavis she’d take Albert into the office later on, which would be fun for everyone. As she pulled her dressing gown around herself and began to walk up the stairs to tend to her son, Carol wondered if there’d be anything interesting to work on during the week. She wouldn’t mind some online research to sink her teeth into. So long as she could have Albert at her side, she’d be fine.
In The Case of The Curious Cook Carol Hill’s research skills are put to the test when a mysterious book turns up at a Hay-on-Wye bookshop run by celebrity TV chef, The Curious Cook. Can Carol’s abilities reveal whether the sketches in the book are by a local artist, recently murdered by her brother? That would make them worth a fortune, and could change the cook’s life. And will Dowager Duchess Althea Twyst’s desperate desire to go undercover on behalf of the agency put their case in jeopardy? This is the third in the WISE Enquiries Agency Mysteries series by Cathy Ace, and its official publication day in the USA and Canada is March 1st – St. David’s Day, the patron saint of Wales – which is where this book is set.
You can read more about Carol in The Case Of The Curious Cook, the third book in the “WISE Enquiries Agency” mystery series.
A new case for the ladies of the WISE enquiries agency . . .
Henry Devereaux Twyst, eighteenth Duke of Chellingworth, is terribly worried about some water damage to the priceless books in his lower library, so retains the services of a local book restorer to tackle much-needed repairs. The antiquarian also runs the Crooks and Cooks bookshop with his daughter – local TV celebrity chef, The Curious Cook. When the book restorer mentions some strange shenanigans going on at the book shop, Dowager Duchess Althea brings the case to her colleagues at the WISE Enquiries Agency.
As the WISE women try to unravel one puzzle from their base at stately Chellingworth Hall, they then get embroiled in another when they come across a valuable book of miniatures which seems to be the work of a local famous artist, murdered by her own brother. Are the cases linked and why do both mysteries lead to a nearby old folks’ home? The WISE women are on the case – and nothing will get in their way . . . Or will it?
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About the author
Cathy Ace was born and raised in Swansea, South Wales, and worked in marketing communications for decades across Europe. Having migrated to Canada in 2000, she now lives in beautiful British Columbia, where her ever-supportive husband (and two chocolate Labradors) ensure she’s able to write full-time. Bestselling author Ace writes two series of mystery books: the Cait Morgan Mysteries, and the WISE Enquiries Agency Mysteries. Her fourth Cait Morgan Mystery, The Corpse with the Platinum Hair, won the 2015 Bony Blithe Award for Best Canadian Light Mystery. You can find out more about Cathy, her books, and events she’ll be attending, at www.cathyace.com. You can also connect with Cathy on Facebook and on Twitter.
All comments are welcomed.
The Case of the Curious Cook is available at retail and online booksellers or you can ask your local library to get it for you.