Since 1997, you’ve been coming to BarnesandNoble.com to discuss everything from Stephen King to writing to Harry Potter. You’ve made our site more than a place to discover your next book: you’ve made it a community. But like all things internet, BN.com is growing and changing. We've said goodbye to our community message boards—but that doesn’t mean we won’t still be a place for adventurous readers to connect and discover.

Now, you can explore the most exciting new titles (and remember the classics) at the Barnes & Noble Book Blog. Check out conversations with authors like Jeff VanderMeer and Gary Shteyngart at the B&N Review, and browse write-ups of the best in literary fiction. Come to our Facebook page to weigh in on what it means to be a book nerd. Browse digital deals on the NOOK blog, tweet about books with us,or self-publish your latest novella with NOOK Press. And for those of you looking for support for your NOOK, the NOOK Support Forums will still be here.

We will continue to provide you with books that make you turn pages well past midnight, discover new worlds, and reunite with old friends. And we hope that you’ll continue to tell us how you’re doing, what you’re reading, and what books mean to you.

Reply
Moderator
becke_davis
Posts: 35,755
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Guest Blog by Author JULIA STUART!

[ Edited ]

Today we have a guest blog by acclaimed author JULIA STUART!

 

 

Julia has a brand new website: http://www.juliastuart.com/

 


Moderator
becke_davis
Posts: 35,755
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Guest Blog by Author JULIA STUART!

From Wikipedia:

 

Julia Stuart is an English novelist and journalist. She grew up in the West Midlands, England, and studied French and Spanish. She lived for a period in France and Spain teaching English.

 

After studying journalism, she worked on regional newspapers for six years. In 1999, Stuart won the periodicals category of the Amnesty International UK Media Awards. She was a feature writer for The Independent, and later The Independent on Sunday, for eight years. In 2007, she relocated toBahrain, and then Egypt, with her husband, who is also a journalist.[1] 

 

Her first novel was The Matchmaker of Périgord, the story of a barber in decline who decides to open a matchmaking agency in the small French town of Amour-Sur-Belle.[2] The story was inspired by a visit to Périgord.[3]It has been optioned by Rat Pack Filmproduktion, and adapted by Andrew Birkin.

 

In 2010 Stuart published her second novel entitled Balthazar Jones and the Tower of London Zoo.[4]It was published as The Tower, the Zoo, and the Tortoise in the US, where it became a New York Times and national bestseller. [5] She lives in London.

Moderator
becke_davis
Posts: 35,755
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos
Moderator
becke_davis
Posts: 35,755
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Guest Blog by Author JULIA STUART!

Moderator
becke_davis
Posts: 35,755
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Guest Blog by Author JULIA STUART!

From Kirkus Reviews:

 

THE PIGEON PIE MYSTERY (reviewed on July 15, 2012)

Her Highness Princess Alexandrina is forced by circumstances to make a new life for herself, and deal with new death, after the passing of her father, His Highness the Maharaja of Prindur.

 

His kingdom stolen by the British, the Maharaja is taken to England where, as a favorite of Queen Victoria, he marries an Englishwoman and spends his life brooding on the loss of the family jewels. His scandalous death in the arms of another young woman makes life difficult for his daughter Alexandrina, known as Mink, who is lucky to be awarded a grace-and-favor apartment at Hampton Court Palace, which is reputed to be haunted by ghosts.

 

Once Mink and her Indian servant Pooki move into the moldering apartment, they meet a diverse and zany group: the obnoxious Maj. Gen. Bagshot and his wife, several military relics, the Keeper of the Maze, the Keeper of the Great Vine and Dr. Henderson, who falls for Mink.

 

When a picnic is proposed, Pooki is asked to make a pigeon pie, a favorite of Bagshot’s. Soon after enjoying the treat, Bagshot dies—apparently from cholera, until an anonymous letter suggesting otherwise provokes a postmortem that turns up arsenic. Mink must unmask the real killer if she is to clear Pooki. As she questions her new acquaintances, Mink discovers many secrets. But are any of them a motive for murder?

 

Stuart’s third (The Tower, the Zoo, and the Tortoise, 2010, etc.) continues her exploration of famous English historic sites. Quirky characters, a feisty protagonist, a clever mystery and the requisite historical tidbits combine for an amusing read.

Moderator
becke_davis
Posts: 35,755
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Guest Blog by Author JULIA STUART!

The Pigeon Pie Mystery  

 

The Pigeon Pie Mystery: A Novel

 

Overview

 

Julia Stuart returns in her follow-up to the bestselling The Tower, the Zoo and the Tortoise with this clever murder mystery set in Victorian England, brimming with her signature charm and fabulous characters.


When Indian Princess Alexandrina is left penniless by the sudden death of her father, the Maharaja of Brindor, Queen Victoria grants her a grace-and-favor home in Hampton Court Palace. Though rumored to be haunted, Alexandrina and her lady's maid, Pooki, have no choice but to take the Queen up on her offer.
     Aside from the ghost sightings, Hampton Court doesn't seem so bad. The princess is soon befriended by three eccentric widows who invite her to a picnic with all the palace's inhabitants, for which Pooki bakes a pigeon pie. But when General-Major Bagshot dies after eating said pie, and the coroner finds traces of arsenic in his body, Pooki becomes the #1 suspect in a murder investigation.
     Princess Alexandrina isn't about to let her faithful servant hang. She begins an investigation of her own, and discovers that Hampton Court isn't such a safe place to live after all.
     With her trademark wit and charm, Julia Stuart introduces us to an outstanding cast of lovable oddballs, from the palace maze-keeper to the unconventional Lady Beatrice (who likes to dress up as a toucan—don't ask), as she guides us through the many delightful twists and turns in this fun and quirky murder mystery. Everyone is hiding a secret of the heart, and even Alexandrina may not realize when she's caught in a maze of love.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Moderator
becke_davis
Posts: 35,755
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Guest Blog by Author JULIA STUART!

Guest Blog by Julia Stuart

 

I’m not sure how I came to know of the existence of grace-and-favour residents at Hampton Court Palace. It was one of the many useless bits of information that rattle around my head until needed, which is the precise moment they tend to scarper, leaving bewildering footprints.

 

My second novel, The Tower, the Zoo, and the Tortoise, is set in the Tower of London with its unique community of Beefeaters and their families. Happily, when I was looking for an idea for my next book, The Pigeon Pie Mystery, the curious collection of aristocrats also residing in a palace next to the Thames immediately hove into view.

 

People have been living at Hampton Court Palace by the grace and favour of the monarch since the 1740s when a select group of courtiers, some of them relatively poor, were given permission to live there in the summer by George II, whose court stopped using it in 1737. George III had no interest in living in the monument either, and instead made Windsor Castle his principle retreat outside London. The palace, apart from the State Apartments, was gradually divided into apartments and their allocation began formally in 1767, and organised under official warrants six years later. Initially the residents were people of fashion, but by the middle of the nineteenth century they were almost all widows or dependants of distinguished military or diplomatic figures, whose finances were less than desirable.

 

The last and final grace-and-favour homes were allocated in the 1980s, and only two such residents live at the monument today. I very much doubt that these elderly ladies ever feel lonely. Not only do they have one of the best addresses in England (imagine the unwanted guests!), but the monument is often besieged by tramping hordes of tourists, to say nothing of the infamous ghosts at night. But such a tiny cast offered not the least bit of interest to me. I was much more struck by the Victorian period, when it was inhabited by sixty-odd warrant-holders and their numerous domestic servants, along with residential palace staff including the Keeper of the Maze and the gas lamplighter.

 

A guidebook revealed that even Indian royalty had once been residents. Princesses Bamba, Catherine and Sophia Duleep Singh, daughters of the Maharaja Duleep Singh, were granted grace-and-favour accommodation by Queen Victoria in 1896. Their father had been exiled to Britain following the British annexation of the Punjab. As part of the terms of the treaty, he surrendered to the Queen the famous Koh-i-Noor diamond, which can be seen in the Tower of London as part of the Crown Jewels collection. The three daughters lived in Faraday House on Hampton Court Green, just outside the palace walls. Princess Sophia became heavily involved in the campaign for women’s suffrage. There is a photograph of her selling the publication The Suffragette outside Hampton Court Palace in 1913. In the same year, she refused to obtain a licence for her five dogs, a male servant and for a carriage with armorial badges, questioning how she could be fit for taxation if she wasn’t deemed fit to vote.

 

So I had a glamorous historical location, an intriguing cast of Victorian grandees, and a feisty Indian princess. Such a combination immediately yelled “murder mystery” to me. Next I needed a motive. It came immediately, inspired by the tale that emerged when Martin Freeman, the actor best known for his role as Tim in the BBC's Golden Globe-winning comedy The Office, appeared on a TV history programme. The researchers who worked on the BBC’s Who Do You Think You Are?  discovered that some of his relatives in the late 19th and early 20th centuries had been blind, probably as a result of syphilis, which affected 10 per cent of the population at the time.

 

As for howdunnit, I started buying books that detailed nifty ways to murder someone, in the very great hope that some earnest do-gooder wouldn’t tip off the police. If I was going to bump someone off, I wanted to do it in style, and preferably in a way not successfully used before. While the method I chose was not listed in any of them, a book I subsequently read on the uses of arsenic in the 19th century by Prof James C Whorton gave me my inspiration. The American academic very kindly answered all my queries regarding the poison and was quite happy to be bought warm English beer and lunch in Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese, a pub on Fleet Street, as thanks during a subsequent visit to London. Such is the kindness of strangers.

 

By the time I finished writing The Tower, the Zoo, and the Tortoise, I had got the Tower of London pretty much out of my system. But Hampton Court Palace is still very much on my mind 100,000 words later. I continue to visit, a journey that requires catching not one, but two trains. Maybe it’s the beauty of the place. Maybe it’s the history. Or maybe it’s just remembering my characters’ exploits there. Whatever it is, I remain happily smitten.

 


Scribe
ReadingPatti
Posts: 2,530
Registered: ‎10-24-2008
0 Kudos

Re: Guest Blog by Author JULIA STUART!

Hi, Julia, welcome and have a great visit with us.

 

What do you like about writing mysteries. I love a good mystery.

 

I will check out your books.

 

ReadingPatti

Inspired Wordsmith
eadieburke
Posts: 1,925
Registered: ‎01-27-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Guest Blog by Author JULIA STUART!

Welcome Julia:

 

I have a copy of THE MATCHMAKER OF PERIGORD and plan on reading it this week. It looks very light-hearted and a perfect book to read in between the murder mysteries and thrillers that are on my list for August.

 

I'll have to check out your other books too. Thanks for visiting with us!

Eadie - A day out-of-doors, someone I loved to talk with, a good book and some simple food and music -- that would be rest. - Eleanor Roosevelt
Distinguished Wordsmith
Fricka
Posts: 2,237
Registered: ‎05-04-2010
0 Kudos

Re: Guest Blog by Author JULIA STUART!

Welcome, Julia.

I like the titles for all your books, and now intend  to read them all . However, I suspect that the Pigeon Pie one will be my favorite, as I found your description of the grace-and favour apartments at Hampton Court very compelling. Loved the story about Princess Sophia in particular! (As well as finding out how the Koh-in-Noor diamond came into the possession of the British Royal family!)

Hope you enjoy your visit here!

" A murder mystery is the normal recreation of the noble mind."--Sister Carol Anne O' Marie
Moderator
becke_davis
Posts: 35,755
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Guest Blog by Author JULIA STUART!

Julia - My mother loves anything to do with the Royal Family. I know she is going to love your books, and coincidentally, she has a birthday coming up soon. Thanks for giving me a great birthday idea!

Moderator
becke_davis
Posts: 35,755
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Guest Blog by Author JULIA STUART!

I forgot to include Julia's bio:

 

 

 

Julia Stuart is a bestselling novelist and an award-winning journalist. She grew up in the West Midlands, England, and studied French and Spanish. She lived for a period in France and Spain teaching English.

 

After studying journalism, she worked on regional newspapers for six years. In 1999, she won the periodicals category of the Amnesty International UK Media Awards. In the same year she became a feature writer for the Independent, where she worked for eight years, including a period on the Independent on Sunday. In 2007 she relocated to Bahrain and Egypt for three years.

 

Her first novel, The Matchmaker of Périgord, was published in 2007. It is the story of a French barber whose business fails on account of his increasingly bald clients. In an attempt to make ends meet, he opens a matchmaking agency in his home village of Amour-Sur-Belle, whose feuding inhabitants subsequently find themselves on blind dates with each another. It was longlisted for Spread the Word: Books to Talk About 2008, a World Book Day award. Rat Pack Filmproduktion, which produced The Wave, have acquired the film rights. It has been adapted for screen by Andrew Birkin who wrote and directed The Cement Garden, based on the novel by Ian McEwan, for
which he won the Silver Bear for Best Director at the Berlin 
Film Festival.


 

In 2010 Julia published her second novel, The Tower, the Zoo, and the Tortoise. It tells of a Beefeater whose marriage 
is in tatters following the loss of his son. Owner of the oldest 
tortoise in the world, Balthazar learns to love again by caring for 
the inhabitants of the Tower’s newly installed menagerie. It was
 published as The Tower, the Zoo, and the Tortoise in America,
 where it became a New York Times bestseller, a national 
bestseller, and an NRP Best Book of the Year.


 

Her latest novel, The Pigeon Pie Mystery, was published in 
August 2012. The quirky Victorian mystery set in Hampton 
Court Palace tells of Mink, a headstrong Anglo-Indian princess, who sets out to save her maid from the hangman’s rope when
 the servant is suspected of poisoning the reviled Major-General
 Bagshot.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Distinguished Wordsmith
maxcat
Posts: 4,012
Registered: ‎11-01-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Guest Blog by Author JULIA STUART!

Wonderful blog, Julia. Interesting factoids about the Tower of London. I didn't know the Beefeaters families lived there also. The local channels here in the USA had a piece about a man who is in training to be a Beefeater. It takes about a year and he has to learn several pages of script, word for word, as part of his training. He guides tourists around and that is what the script is about. I love the names of your mysteries and I will check them out.

The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but I have promises to keep and miles to go before I sleep - Robert Frost
Distinguished Wordsmith
Fricka
Posts: 2,237
Registered: ‎05-04-2010
0 Kudos

Re: Guest Blog by Author JULIA STUART!

The Tower, the Zoo, and the Tortoise  

 

 

I'm pleased to note here that I just got a copy of this from my local library, and I'm looking forward to reading it!

" A murder mystery is the normal recreation of the noble mind."--Sister Carol Anne O' Marie
Moderator
becke_davis
Posts: 35,755
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Guest Blog by Author JULIA STUART!


Fricka wrote:

The Tower, the Zoo, and the Tortoise  

 

 

I'm pleased to note here that I just got a copy of this from my local library, and I'm looking forward to reading it!


I just got that one, too!

Distinguished Wordsmith
Fricka
Posts: 2,237
Registered: ‎05-04-2010
0 Kudos

Re: Guest Blog by Author JULIA STUART!


becke_davis wrote:

Fricka wrote:

The Tower, the Zoo, and the Tortoise  

 

 

I'm pleased to note here that I just got a copy of this from my local library, and I'm looking forward to reading it!


I just got that one, too!


What can I say, becke, except "Great minds think alike!":catlol:

" A murder mystery is the normal recreation of the noble mind."--Sister Carol Anne O' Marie
Moderator
becke_davis
Posts: 35,755
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Guest Blog by Author JULIA STUART!


Fricka wrote:

becke_davis wrote:

Fricka wrote:

The Tower, the Zoo, and the Tortoise  

 

 

I'm pleased to note here that I just got a copy of this from my local library, and I'm looking forward to reading it!


I just got that one, too!


What can I say, becke, except "Great minds think alike!":catlol:


I'm not going to argue with that one...