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becke_davis
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Re: Double Feature! Please Welcome Author NICOLA UPSON!

Nicola - Your bio mentions you live in Cambridge and Cornwall. I haven't been back to England in years, but I lived there in the 1970s and early 1980s. My cousin was an exchange student at Cambridge for part of that time, so we used to go up and visit her a lot. I love that area! I haven't been to Cornwall as often, but it's a memorable place! I love Mousehole, Newquay, Tintagel, Falmouth, Mevagissey, and so on, and so on. I'm getting homesick for England just thinking about it! What part of Cornwall do you live in?

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Re: Double Feature! Please Welcome Author NICOLA UPSON!

Becke wrote:

Nicola - Your bio mentions you live in Cambridge and Cornwall. I haven't been back to England in years, but I lived there in the 1970s and early 1980s. My cousin was an exchange student at Cambridge for part of that time, so we used to go up and visit her a lot. I love that area! I haven't been to Cornwall as often, but it's a memorable place! I love Mousehole, Newquay, Tintagel, Falmouth, Mevagissey, and so on, and so on. I'm getting homesick for England just thinking about it! What part of Cornwall do you live in?

 


 

I live in Porthleven, which is on the south coast, about half way between the Lizard and Penzance. It's a 15 minute walk from a place called the Penrose Estate and Loe Bar - Cornwall's largest natural lake, which is separated from the sea by a narrow stretch of sand, so you get two completely different views in one spectacular panorama. We disovered it about fifteen years ago, when we stayed in a National Trust cottage on the lake, and broke our necks to buy an old thatched cottage nearby a couple of years later. It's become very important to the series. The idea was born there, Archie is named after the Penrose Estate, and I set the second book in the series, Angel With Two Faces, there. For those of you who have read that book, Morveth Wearne's cottage is ours; she's very old, very sea-battered, very temperamental, and there's a sailor buried in the walls (the cottage is in a place known locally as Graves End, which is where sailors' bodies were washed ashore during shipwrecks) - but we love her.

 

I got back a couple of days ago and I love this time of year there. The bluebells are just coming out in the woods around the lake, and there's nothing quite like an English woodland in the early summer - you would love it there, Becke!

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Re: Double Feature! Please Welcome Author NICOLA UPSON!

dulcinea3 wrote:

 

The first Josephine Tey novel I read was The Daughter of Time.  As a matter of fact, it was waaaaay back when I first joined this group, and they were about to do it as a group read.  I am very interested in that period in British history, so I was quite curious.  More recently, I read To Love and Be Wise, which I enjoyed very much.  After reading your biographical note on Tey above, I now can see that that was set in a world that Tey was very familiar with - actors, authors, playwrights, etc.  I can imagine Tey attending parties such as that which opens the novel!  I also have Hitchcock's movie Young and Innocent, which I was interested to note in the credits is based on A Shilling for Candles, although I haven't read the book and don't know how close the movie is.

 


You're absolutely right! She did know those parties very well. In fact, Holly Mews, where one of the characters in To Love and Be Wise lives, was based on Holly Place in Hampstead, London, where two of her closest actress friends had a house. I'm glad you enjoyed that book. It was Tey's least favourite (I suspect because, in hindsight, she realised how much of herself she'd put in it) but I love it too.

 

The movie Young and Innocent is about as close to the story of A Shilling for Candles as the title! My latest novel, Fear in the Sunlight, is all about that, and is based on a fictional meeting between Tey, Hitchcock and Hitchcock's wife, Alma Reville (who was involved in the script for Young and Innocent), prior to the film's being made. I had such a lot of fun with that! Josephine goes to see the film in the book - the real woman LOVED cinema - and 'pleased' is not a word she uses! Hitchcock changes the story, invents a romance, and even changes the killer! And yet, the more I see that film, the more I see the essence of Tey's story - the Englishness, the yearning for times lost (more poignant because Hitch was about to leave his homeland behind forever in the move to Hollywood), the sunlight on the roads, and the hints of darker things to come in later works are all classic Tey traits. That's Hitchcock's genius, I think - to insist on the integrity of the story through filmmaking. They were both ahead of their time, and I would have loved to see him make a version of one of her later books (Brat Farrar would have been perfect Hitch material) once he got into his stride in Hollywood.

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Re: Double Feature! Please Welcome Author NICOLA UPSON!

eadieburke wrote:

 

Welcome Nicola:

 

I have two of your books "Expert In Murder and Two for Sorrow". I will have to pick up these to complete the series. Now I have to get busy and start reading them

 


 

Thanks, Eadie! I hope you enjoy them. It's interesting because they weren't written consecutively, but the two books you have already work well as a pair, especially from the point of view of Josephine's personal story unfolding throughout the series.

 

I'm glad I'm not the only one who collects a backlog of books! There's a brilliant book by Susan Hill called Howard's End is on the Landing, in which she makes a point of not buying new books for a year and instead revisits the vast collection that she already has and takes the reader through her personal library. I think that's a lovely idea, and I have so many old friends that deserve a re-read - but I still can't keep out of the bookshops!!

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Re: Double Feature! Please Welcome Author NICOLA UPSON!

maxcat wrote:

 

Hi, Nicola, I'm not familiar with your books but have read a couple of books by Josephine Tey, notably Daughters of Time. I'll have to check into your books and read them. Thanks for being here today.

 


 

 

Hello maxcat! Thanks for getting in touch. Hope you like the books when you come across them. I'm dying to know - is that beautiful cat in the picture yours? Looks like trouble! I have a long-haired tabby called Molly Bloom, whom we adopted aged twelve from the Blue Cross, and she has a similar glint in her eye. We're the fourth home she's had - they nicknamed her 'boomerang' at the cat sanctuary - but we wouldn't part with her for the world! If I can work out the technicals, I'll try to post her pic before the end of the week.

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becke_davis
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Re: Double Feature! Please Welcome Author NICOLA UPSON!


Nicola_Upson wrote:

Becke wrote:

Nicola - Your bio mentions you live in Cambridge and Cornwall. I haven't been back to England in years, but I lived there in the 1970s and early 1980s. My cousin was an exchange student at Cambridge for part of that time, so we used to go up and visit her a lot. I love that area! I haven't been to Cornwall as often, but it's a memorable place! I love Mousehole, Newquay, Tintagel, Falmouth, Mevagissey, and so on, and so on. I'm getting homesick for England just thinking about it! What part of Cornwall do you live in?

 


 

I live in Porthleven, which is on the south coast, about half way between the Lizard and Penzance. It's a 15 minute walk from a place called the Penrose Estate and Loe Bar - Cornwall's largest natural lake, which is separated from the sea by a narrow stretch of sand, so you get two completely different views in one spectacular panorama. We disovered it about fifteen years ago, when we stayed in a National Trust cottage on the lake, and broke our necks to buy an old thatched cottage nearby a couple of years later. It's become very important to the series. The idea was born there, Archie is named after the Penrose Estate, and I set the second book in the series, Angel With Two Faces, there. For those of you who have read that book, Morveth Wearne's cottage is ours; she's very old, very sea-battered, very temperamental, and there's a sailor buried in the walls (the cottage is in a place known locally as Graves End, which is where sailors' bodies were washed ashore during shipwrecks) - but we love her.

 

I got back a couple of days ago and I love this time of year there. The bluebells are just coming out in the woods around the lake, and there's nothing quite like an English woodland in the early summer - you would love it there, Becke!


I think we've been through Porthleven but I haven't stayed there. I HAVE been to Penzance and to the Lizard. As to the bluebells, I've been to Kew Gardens when bluebells were in bloom. Gorgeous! Here in Chicago we don't get bluebells but I've seen a lot of forget-me-nots and daffodils. It's so nice to see flowers at last! I didn't think spring was ever going to arrive.

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Re: Double Feature! Please Welcome Author NICOLA UPSON!

The first Tey book I read was THE FRANCHISE AFFAIR, which I found at the library while I was living in England. I'd read all of her books but BRAT FARRAR when I discovered A DAUGHTER OF TIME - that book is AMAZING. We featured it here some time back - I posted the link here, a few comment boxes back.

 

What are you working on now, Nicola? How long does it usually take for you to complete a book? You seem pretty prolific!

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Re: Double Feature! Please Welcome Author NICOLA UPSON!


Nicola_Upson wrote:

dulcinea3 wrote:

 

The first Josephine Tey novel I read was The Daughter of Time.  As a matter of fact, it was waaaaay back when I first joined this group, and they were about to do it as a group read.  I am very interested in that period in British history, so I was quite curious.  More recently, I read To Love and Be Wise, which I enjoyed very much.  After reading your biographical note on Tey above, I now can see that that was set in a world that Tey was very familiar with - actors, authors, playwrights, etc.  I can imagine Tey attending parties such as that which opens the novel!  I also have Hitchcock's movie Young and Innocent, which I was interested to note in the credits is based on A Shilling for Candles, although I haven't read the book and don't know how close the movie is.

 


You're absolutely right! She did know those parties very well. In fact, Holly Mews, where one of the characters in To Love and Be Wise lives, was based on Holly Place in Hampstead, London, where two of her closest actress friends had a house. I'm glad you enjoyed that book. It was Tey's least favourite (I suspect because, in hindsight, she realised how much of herself she'd put in it) but I love it too.

 

The movie Young and Innocent is about as close to the story of A Shilling for Candles as the title! My latest novel, Fear in the Sunlight, is all about that, and is based on a fictional meeting between Tey, Hitchcock and Hitchcock's wife, Alma Reville (who was involved in the script for Young and Innocent), prior to the film's being made. I had such a lot of fun with that! Josephine goes to see the film in the book - the real woman LOVED cinema - and 'pleased' is not a word she uses! Hitchcock changes the story, invents a romance, and even changes the killer! And yet, the more I see that film, the more I see the essence of Tey's story - the Englishness, the yearning for times lost (more poignant because Hitch was about to leave his homeland behind forever in the move to Hollywood), the sunlight on the roads, and the hints of darker things to come in later works are all classic Tey traits. That's Hitchcock's genius, I think - to insist on the integrity of the story through filmmaking. They were both ahead of their time, and I would have loved to see him make a version of one of her later books (Brat Farrar would have been perfect Hitch material) once he got into his stride in Hollywood.


Oooh, I'm looking forward to Fear in the Sunlight!  That sounds really interesting!

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Re: Double Feature! Please Welcome Author NICOLA UPSON!

Morning everyone!

 

Becke has asked about the next few projects and what I'm working on at the moment, so here goes.

 

It's a very exciting time, because the final proofs for the UK edition of The Death of Lucy Kyte have just arrived, and I've seen the jacket for the first time. I'm thrilled with it! The illustrator, Mick Wiggins, has done a beautiful job on every one of the books, and I feel very lucky to have him. This book is the fifth in the 'Josephine Tey' series, and sees Josephine inherit an isolated cottage in the heart of the Suffolk countryside (she had ancestors in Suffolk on her mother's side, and it's where I'm from and where my family still lives, so creating the setting has been a joy and has felt very personal). The gift comes to her from her godmother, Hester Larkspur, an actress she never knew, and as soon as she arrives, she senses that there is much for her to discover about Hester's life and death. It's a twist on the Golden Age village mystery, and the village concerned is Polstead - home to one of the most famous British crimes of the nineteenth century: William Corder's murder of Maria Marten in the Red Barn.

 

Does anyone know that case? It was legendary, and has given rise to numerous films, ballads and stage melodramas over the years. I grew up with it and the legends surrounding it, because my hometown - Bury St Edmunds - is where Corder was hanged; they keep his scalp and an account of the trial bound in his skin in the local museum, Moyses Hall!! It seemed very grisly to a little girl, but I realised as soon as I started this book that I've wanted all my life to write about that case in a new way, and I hope I've done that.

 

The books take about a year or so to write, including research. Next month, when the proofs for Lucy Kyte are finished and all the loose ends tied up, I'll start researching Book 6, which is set back in London. I haven't settled on a theme yet. It's always an odd stage, very exciting because the novel could be anything, and very unsettling because it's actually nothing! But it's amazing how the research and setting end up defining what sort of book it will be, and I'm hoping that the main ideas will be in place for me to start writing in September, ready to deliver at the end of March.

 

Alongside that, I've been researching an idea for a standalone novel. I'm very superstitious about saying too much because it's at such an early stage, but I will tell you that it's set in the interwar period and, like the Josephine books, is a fictional re-imagining of real lives.

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Re: Double Feature! Please Welcome Author NICOLA UPSON!

Becke wrote:

 

What are some of the difficulties basing a series on a real person?

 


 

Sorry, Becke - I've just realised I didn't answer this yesterday. It depends very much who the real person is. With Josephine - and this is probably a good thing rather than a problem - I feel a real sense of responsibility to do her justice. I love her work, and I have a great respect for the real woman and the way she lived her life, and I'm keen for that to come across in the books and for the series never to be gimmicky or simply an excuse to write a story that has nothing to do with how things really were. Inevitably, though, there comes a point where she becomes her own character and behaves according to the story I've laid out for her, and she has taken on some of me along the way - so it's balancing those two things, fact and fiction, that most concern me when I'm writing. And ironically, although the books don't have to stick to the same laws of impartiality and detail that you'd want in a biography, I think there's something very truthful and very magical about the way in which fiction can bring history to life.

 

With Alfred Hitchcock, it was a completely different story! He's the opposite to Tey: whereas the gaps in what we know about her life lend themselves very well to fiction, I sometimes felt when I was researching him that his every breath had already been documented! So the challenge there was to get beyond the cariacature and create a real human being. That's why his British years interested me: he had concerns that affect us all then - doubts about his work, responsibilities to a young family, fears of what would happen to both if he made the life-changing move to America. Later, he became the technical genius or the dark fantasist, and the real man is harder to find, but in 1936, when the book is set, he's a very interesting person to try to understand. And I loved bringing Alma Reville to the fore and giving her the respect she deserves - her contribution to his work and his achievements, and to film in her own right, was astonishing.

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Re: Double Feature! Please Welcome Author NICOLA UPSON!

OK everyone - it's a beautiful May Day bank holiday weekend here, and I fancy enjoying it with a real cracker of a mystery from the Golden Age.

 

What should I read? xx

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dulcinea3
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Re: Double Feature! Please Welcome Author NICOLA UPSON!

[ Edited ]

Nicola_Upson wrote:

OK everyone - it's a beautiful May Day bank holiday weekend here, and I fancy enjoying it with a real cracker of a mystery from the Golden Age.

 

What should I read? xx


How about my favorite Christie - The Seven Dials Mystery?  I love Bundle Brent!

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dulcinea3
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Re: Double Feature! Please Welcome Author NICOLA UPSON!


Nicola_Upson wrote:

Morning everyone!

 

Becke has asked about the next few projects and what I'm working on at the moment, so here goes.

 

It's a very exciting time, because the final proofs for the UK edition of The Death of Lucy Kyte have just arrived, and I've seen the jacket for the first time. I'm thrilled with it! The illustrator, Mick Wiggins, has done a beautiful job on every one of the books, and I feel very lucky to have him. This book is the fifth in the 'Josephine Tey' series, and sees Josephine inherit an isolated cottage in the heart of the Suffolk countryside (she had ancestors in Suffolk on her mother's side, and it's where I'm from and where my family still lives, so creating the setting has been a joy and has felt very personal). The gift comes to her from her godmother, Hester Larkspur, an actress she never knew, and as soon as she arrives, she senses that there is much for her to discover about Hester's life and death. It's a twist on the Golden Age village mystery, and the village concerned is Polstead - home to one of the most famous British crimes of the nineteenth century: William Corder's murder of Maria Marten in the Red Barn.

 

Does anyone know that case? It was legendary, and has given rise to numerous films, ballads and stage melodramas over the years. I grew up with it and the legends surrounding it, because my hometown - Bury St Edmunds - is where Corder was hanged; they keep his scalp and an account of the trial bound in his skin in the local museum, Moyses Hall!! It seemed very grisly to a little girl, but I realised as soon as I started this book that I've wanted all my life to write about that case in a new way, and I hope I've done that.


I had not been familiar with that murder case, but I just read about it on wikipedia, and it is very interesting.  Apparently, neither Corder nor Maria was such a good person - she certainly slept around!  The aspects of the stepmother's dreams (although there is a possible motive given for her making them up), and Corder's cursed skull are fascinating.  I've got to get reading the other books in your series, in anticipation of this one and the one with Hitchcock!

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becke_davis
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Re: Double Feature! Please Welcome Author NICOLA UPSON!


Nicola_Upson wrote:

Morning everyone!

 

Becke has asked about the next few projects and what I'm working on at the moment, so here goes.

 

It's a very exciting time, because the final proofs for the UK edition of The Death of Lucy Kyte have just arrived, and I've seen the jacket for the first time. I'm thrilled with it! The illustrator, Mick Wiggins, has done a beautiful job on every one of the books, and I feel very lucky to have him. This book is the fifth in the 'Josephine Tey' series, and sees Josephine inherit an isolated cottage in the heart of the Suffolk countryside (she had ancestors in Suffolk on her mother's side, and it's where I'm from and where my family still lives, so creating the setting has been a joy and has felt very personal). The gift comes to her from her godmother, Hester Larkspur, an actress she never knew, and as soon as she arrives, she senses that there is much for her to discover about Hester's life and death. It's a twist on the Golden Age village mystery, and the village concerned is Polstead - home to one of the most famous British crimes of the nineteenth century: William Corder's murder of Maria Marten in the Red Barn.

 

Does anyone know that case? It was legendary, and has given rise to numerous films, ballads and stage melodramas over the years. I grew up with it and the legends surrounding it, because my hometown - Bury St Edmunds - is where Corder was hanged; they keep his scalp and an account of the trial bound in his skin in the local museum, Moyses Hall!! It seemed very grisly to a little girl, but I realised as soon as I started this book that I've wanted all my life to write about that case in a new way, and I hope I've done that.

 

The books take about a year or so to write, including research. Next month, when the proofs for Lucy Kyte are finished and all the loose ends tied up, I'll start researching Book 6, which is set back in London. I haven't settled on a theme yet. It's always an odd stage, very exciting because the novel could be anything, and very unsettling because it's actually nothing! But it's amazing how the research and setting end up defining what sort of book it will be, and I'm hoping that the main ideas will be in place for me to start writing in September, ready to deliver at the end of March.

 

Alongside that, I've been researching an idea for a standalone novel. I'm very superstitious about saying too much because it's at such an early stage, but I will tell you that it's set in the interwar period and, like the Josephine books, is a fictional re-imagining of real lives.


I do remember hearing about the Red Barn murder, but not the details. I found some information here: http://www.executedtoday.com/2011/08/11/1828-william-corder-for-the-red-barn-murder/

 

I'm excited to read THE DEATH OF LUCY KYTE - do you have a U.S. release date? I seem to remember that it's due out at the end of summer. I don't think it can be preordered yet at Barnes & Noble, but I'll double-check.

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Re: Double Feature! Please Welcome Author NICOLA UPSON!


Nicola_Upson wrote:

Becke wrote:

 

What are some of the difficulties basing a series on a real person?

 


 

Sorry, Becke - I've just realised I didn't answer this yesterday. It depends very much who the real person is. With Josephine - and this is probably a good thing rather than a problem - I feel a real sense of responsibility to do her justice. I love her work, and I have a great respect for the real woman and the way she lived her life, and I'm keen for that to come across in the books and for the series never to be gimmicky or simply an excuse to write a story that has nothing to do with how things really were. Inevitably, though, there comes a point where she becomes her own character and behaves according to the story I've laid out for her, and she has taken on some of me along the way - so it's balancing those two things, fact and fiction, that most concern me when I'm writing. And ironically, although the books don't have to stick to the same laws of impartiality and detail that you'd want in a biography, I think there's something very truthful and very magical about the way in which fiction can bring history to life.

 

With Alfred Hitchcock, it was a completely different story! He's the opposite to Tey: whereas the gaps in what we know about her life lend themselves very well to fiction, I sometimes felt when I was researching him that his every breath had already been documented! So the challenge there was to get beyond the cariacature and create a real human being. That's why his British years interested me: he had concerns that affect us all then - doubts about his work, responsibilities to a young family, fears of what would happen to both if he made the life-changing move to America. Later, he became the technical genius or the dark fantasist, and the real man is harder to find, but in 1936, when the book is set, he's a very interesting person to try to understand. And I loved bringing Alma Reville to the fore and giving her the respect she deserves - her contribution to his work and his achievements, and to film in her own right, was astonishing.


"I think there's something very truthful and very magical about the way in which fiction can bring history to life." - I agree with you 100%!

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Re: Double Feature! Please Welcome Author NICOLA UPSON!


Nicola_Upson wrote:

OK everyone - it's a beautiful May Day bank holiday weekend here, and I fancy enjoying it with a real cracker of a mystery from the Golden Age.

 

What should I read? xx


Have you read Philip MacDonald's THE LIST OF ADRIAN MESSENGER? I think it's out of print but it's an old favorite of mine. I'm also a fan of Patricia Wentworth. THE CASE OF WILLIAM SMITH is a good one. Anything by Ngaio Marsh, although many of her books are out of print. Try A SURFEIT OF LAMPREYS, if you can find it!

 

The List of Adrian Messenger  The Case of William Smith (A Miss Silver Mystery)  Surfeit of Lampreys  

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Re: Double Feature! Please Welcome Author NICOLA UPSON!

Have a wonderful Bank Holiday weekend, Nicola! I hope the weather is lovely! Here in Chicago, the beginning of the week was idyllic, but yesterday was chilly and today it's rained all day. I think it's supposed to warm up tomorrow - I sure hope so!

 

Thank you so much for visiting with us! I hope you'll come back again soon!

 

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dulcinea3
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Re: Double Feature! Please Welcome Author NICOLA UPSON!

Thank you for your visit, Nicola!  I've enjoyed chatting with you!

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Re: Double Feature! Please Welcome Author NICOLA UPSON!

Thank you for those suggestions. I've gone for Surfeit of Lampreys, as I have an old green and white copy in the house, and I'm enjoying it tremendously. I'll make sure to read the others, too - I'm not at all familiar with that particular Christie, but it sounds like I'm in for a treat!

 

Thanks most of all, though, for making me so welcome this week. I've had a lovely time chatting with you, and hope very much that we can do it again sometime. I don't have a US publication date for Lucy Kyte yet, as the manuscript has only just gone in, but I'll let you all know when I do - and I'll keep in touch with the forum. Please do follow me on Facebook, too - it would be wonderful to see you there.

 

Love,

 

Nicola xx

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Re: Double Feature! Please Welcome Author NICOLA UPSON!


Nicola_Upson wrote:

Thank you for those suggestions. I've gone for Surfeit of Lampreys, as I have an old green and white copy in the house, and I'm enjoying it tremendously. I'll make sure to read the others, too - I'm not at all familiar with that particular Christie, but it sounds like I'm in for a treat!

 

Thanks most of all, though, for making me so welcome this week. I've had a lovely time chatting with you, and hope very much that we can do it again sometime. I don't have a US publication date for Lucy Kyte yet, as the manuscript has only just gone in, but I'll let you all know when I do - and I'll keep in touch with the forum. Please do follow me on Facebook, too - it would be wonderful to see you there.

 

Love,

 

Nicola xx


Guard your copy of the Ngaio Marsh book - it's hard to find!