I can’t believe I have been living in Devon for almost a year! I also can’t believe I am actually happy here. True, it was a bit rocky to start with. Moving in with my mother at the grand old age of thirty-nine is not something I ever imagined would happen. It just goes to show that no one knows what’s around the corner—trite, but true.
But here I am living in Jane’s Cottage (apparently it used to be a former hunting lodge) perched on top of a hill that overlooks the vast Honeychurch Hall estate. The views are spectacular. Who would have thought a city girl like me would grow to love the countryside so much.
I don’t miss hosting Fakes & Treasures either and I definitely don’t miss being in the public eye. Best of all, I don’t have to worry about looking fat on camera and can finally eat whatever I like. I didn’t realize just how delicious Devonshire clotted cream could be.
Of course it’s the formidable dowager countess, Lady Edith Honeychurch, who has made all this possible. For just a peppercorn rent, she has leased Jane’s Cottage and the Victorian gatehouses at the main entrance all to me! The gatehouses are now the official homes for my new antique venture, Kat’s Collectibles. Business is slow because Honeychurch Hall is definitely off the beaten track but I’m hoping that this coming weekends annual English Civil War re-enactment will attract a few new clients. Apparently there will be hundreds of people descending on the park, setting up camp and parading around in seventeenth century clothing brandishing swords and whatnot. Mum has got caught up in the preparations after rashly volunteering to make the costumes for the entire Honeychurch clan.
Speaking of my mother—much as I love her—the more I get to know her, the more I realize I know nothing about her at all. She was so different when Dad was alive. I’m trying to think of the right word to describe her back then. I know . . . demure. What a joke! If only Dad knew the truth!
For a start, he had no idea that Mum wrote steamy romance novels under the pseudonym of Krystalle Storm. Neither did I. In fact, not even her new editor at Goldfinch Publishing knows that Krystalle is not her real name. Somehow, my mother has managed to successfully create a whole new persona. It’s as if she is in the witness protection program or something. The silly thing is that the locals are all fans of Krystalle Storm. They’d be thrilled if they knew that she lived in their midst. But Mum flatly refuses to come clean. Whenever I grill her she mumbles that it’s something about not declaring her earnings or having an offshore account in the Channel Islands and then promptly changes the subject.
But having said all that, Mum and I have never been closer and now I no longer live in her pocket we are getting on so much better. I can leave her alone—or should I say, completely avoid her—when she’s writing. Her mood swings can be awful. One moment she’s happy as a lark when the book is working and the next, wanting to throw herself under a train when it isn’t. Fortunately, Mum has finally turned in her latest book and become human again. The title is . . . wait for it . . . “Ravished”! (I am cringing. Why couldn’t she write a book on gardening or a lovely historical biography like Antonia Fraser?) The last six weeks were really wretched mainly because she has a brand new editor who—according to my mother—accused “Krystalle” of being “high maintenance.” I didn’t comment.
Hopefully, all will be well although I do wish she’d learn to use a computer and not Dad’s battered old Olivetti typewriter. I keep insisting she make copies but Mum flatly refuses. I mean . . . what if her manuscript went missing?
In the meantime I’m looking forward to the re-enactment. I’ll say one thing for country living . . . it’s never dull.
You can read more about Kat in Murderous Mayhem at Honeychurch Hall, the fourth book in the “Honeychurch Hall” mystery series.
When the only copy of Ravished, Iris Stanford’s new manuscript, never arrives at her London publisher’s office, her daughter Kat investigates the tiny local village post office, where it appears the package never left the building. Iris is on tenterhooks―not only is her novel gone with the wind, but she’s deathly afraid that Muriel Jarvis, the postmistress and notorious busybody, will expose her secret identity as the bestselling romance writer Krystalle Storm. Meanwhile, Muriel has her own problems with the sudden death of her husband Fred, which has left her heavily in debt. In the spine-tingling climax, both past and present collide as Kat fights for her life and those she holds most dear, dancing once again with the dark forces lurking behind the grandeur of Honeychurch Hall.
This nail-biting addition to Hannah Dennison’s Honey Church Hall mystery series, Murderous Mayhem at Honeychurch Hall is not to be missed.
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About the author
British born, Hannah originally moved to Los Angeles to pursue screenwriting. She has been an obituary reporter, antique dealer, private jet flight attendant and Hollywood story analyst. Now living in Portland, Oregon, Hannah continues to teach mystery writing at UCLA Extension Writers’ Program and still works for a west coast advertising agency. Hannah writes the Honeychurch Hall Mysteries (Minotaur) and the Vicky Hill Mysteries (Constable Crime) both set in the wilds of the English countryside. Connect with Hannah at www.hannahdennison.com.
All comments are welcomed.
Murderous Mayhem at Honeychurch Hall is available at retail and online booksellers or you can ask your local library to get it for you.
Giveaway: Leave a comment below for your chance to win a print copy of Murderous Mayhem at Honeychurch Hall. US entries only, please. The giveaway ends May 7, 2017. Good luck everyone!