Lady Amanda Golightly of Belchester Towers is a person in complete contrast to the stereotypical image of her upper-class breeding. She is short, portly, and embarrassingly forthright. On a visit to a local nursing home, she unexpectedly discovers a long-lost friend, Hugo Cholmondley-Crichton-Crump - and stumbles upon a murder. The pair turn to sleuthing after Lady Amanda reports her appalling discovery to the local police inspector, who treats her as a silly old biddy with an overactive imagination.
"Fluffy and insipid"
The second in the series featuring a madcap pair of amateur sleuths and a delightful outpouring of upper-class English eccentricities - with the odd murder thrown in. Lady Amanda Golightly, eccentric resident of the sprawling Belchester Towers, has a new venture: guided tours. To celebrate she invites a horde of old chums to a trial run at Christmas, complete with tasty nibbles. However, things don't go to plan - a dead guest is discovered slumped on the library table.
The scene of this entertaining story is laid in a charming English village. The plot centres round Miss Barbara Buncle, a maiden lady who was obliged to write a book because – as she naively explained – her dividends were so poor. Unfortunately, Miss Buncle had no imagination, so she wrote about her friends – quite kindly and truthfully, of course, for she was a benevolent and veracious soul.
"So good, I'll read them all!!"
Mrs Abbott is flustered at the thought of putting up a lady from the Red Cross, but is happily surprised when she turns out to be an old friend from her previous life as Miss Buncle, infamous writer. Of course, she’s now far too busy with her children to write, not to mention helping out in the lives of the villagers. And with a possible spy in their midst, evacuated families, potential love matches and a visit from a famous writer, she’s got her work cut out for her.
"Charming, especially if you're already a fan"
London, 1647. Lucy Wentnor, having been attacked by soldiers during the Civil War and rejected by her sweetheart, hopes to start afresh with her aunt and uncle in the capital. London, however, is in chaos and her uncle, once a well-to-do mercer, is now almost bankrupt. Lucy, unwilling to go home, finds a job in one of the few businesses that’s booming: publishing. She is soon assisting in printing pamphlets, an industry which the breakdown of the licensing system and censorship has left free as never before.
Jill Mansell, who has written many other best-selling novels including Three Amazing Things About You and The One You Really Want, is at her warmhearted best with Head over Heels. Jessie has kept the identity of her son Oliver's father a secret for years. She's stunned when she discovers that the man in question, actor Toby Gillespie, has just moved in next door. The truth's about to come out.
Marriage to her publisher, Arthur Abbott, has done nothing to stop Barbara Buncle from involving herself in the lives of her neighbours. After leaving Silverstream and moving to London, Barbara and Arthur are enjoying their newly-wedded bliss, but not the city life. The only solution to their problem? Returning to the country. Silverstream is out of the question, but Barbara eventually finds the perfect candidate in the town of Wandlebury.
"A comfortable story"
It is 1648, and the Civil War, which an exhausted nation had believed over, has been resurrected by a king still determined to be an absolute ruler, and a parliament unable to agree how to govern without him. Blacksmith Jamie Hudson is weary and disillusioned but faces prison if he refuses to re-enlist in the army, and so he is hauled ruthlessly around England as the blood continues to flow. Meanwhile, Jamie’s wife, Lucy, is struggling to survive as a lone woman in London, while working to support the Leveller demands for democracy and freedom.
"Solid historical detail and a good story, too!"
Thus the future of Caroline Matilda, youngest sister of George III, was settled – marriage to the nearly insane Prince of Denmark. Prompted by a sense of foreboding, she begged that one of her sisters should be sent in her place. But Caroline was the healthiest, the strongest of the English princesses, and as well as being exiled, princesses were meant to be brood mares…Exiled in a strange country, isolated by her inability to speak the language, Caroline forms a close bond with the King’s doctor, Johann Struensee.
"What a Lovely Memory!"
For the past 13 years, as England became an increasingly unhappy and fearful place, Prince Charles has been living quietly on a bleak council estate with his wife and love of his life, Camilla. He enjoys gardening and poultry keeping while Camilla spends her days doing as little as possible. But life is about to change.
"move over Jeeves"
Coroner Martha Gunn is among the first to be called to the scene when a man's body is found in a small cottage fronting the river. Floating face-down in the rising water, it appears to have been raised from the cellar by the flood.
For the record, the word "parlour" is not used, nor is the relatively recent insidious "lounge", except about airports, hotels and liners.' 'Boys should be taught at a very early age - six or seven - to say "Sir" to an older man.' 'When there are servants, the plates for the first course are never put on the table until everyone is seated.''I cannot stress too often that on every formal occasion, whether it is Luncheon, a Bazaar or a Meeting, a hat should be worn.'
Newly retired, ex-chief superintendent Fran Harman and her partner, Mark, have volunteered to assist West Mercia police in reinvestigating an unsolved crime. Twenty years ago a car was found abandoned on an isolated forest road running, its hazard lights still flashing, the passenger door open. In the back were two child seats. One was empty; in the other lay a desperately ill baby. Neither the baby's mother nor the elder child were ever seen again.
Sara Wheeler visited Antarctica as a guest of America's National Science Foundation and soon after her arrival fell in love with the frozen landscape and it's harsh beauty. During her seven month stay the author travelled to the various national sectors, visited several national bases and experienced four seasons. The author has a reverence for the early explorer and visits many historic landmarks in her journey across Antartica.
“All eyes and hair” a courtier had said disparagingly of her – and certainly the younger daughter of Tom Boleyn lacked the bounteous charms of most ladies of Court. Black-haired, black eyes, she had a wild-sprite quality that was to prove more effective, more dangerous than conventional feminine appeal. The King first noticed her when she was sixteen – and with imperial greed he smashed her youthful love-affair with Harry Percy and began the process of royal seduction.
"Very, Very Good!"
It's a busy weekend for Lina: she wins a dance competition, annoys a valuable client and has to play gooseberry when Griff, her business partner, meets an old flame. Killing time, she drives across Dartmoor only to find two men robbing a medieval church. Outraged, she manages to stop them - only to discover that it's not just in Devon that they are working. Safely back in Kent, she makes some new friends.
In the peaceful setting of the National Trust near Church Stretton, Tracey Walsh drives herself and her four-year-old daughter, Daisy, up the remote Burway in the early hours of the morning, tragically loses control of her car and crashes into the valley below. Tracey is rushed to hospital, but where is Daisy? She has vanished, provoking an intense police search of the area around the Devil’s Chair – land that is rife with legends and stories of witchcraft, sorcery and unexplained disappearances.
When a local lad that vicar's wife Jodie Welsh employed to help in her garden disappears, along with Jodie's expensive camera, nearly everyone assumes the worst. But Burble's disappearance marks the start of a series of increasingly disturbing incidents - until the body shows up, and Jodie must use all her skills to unmask a ruthless killer.
On a bright spring morning, John Hyde opens the gates to the grounds of Moreton Corbet Castle, a local medieval ruin, and discovers the body of a homeless man with his throat slashed. Detective Inspector Alex Randall and his team soon face some disturbing questions: was this a random attack, or does someone have a vendetta against the homeless? For coroner Martha Gunn, establishing the man's identity is essential, but there are no clues.
Margot Asquith was perhaps the most daring and unconventional Prime Minister's wife in British history. Known for her wit, style and habit of speaking her mind, she transformed 10 Downing Street into a glittering social and intellectual salon. Yet her last five years at Number 10 were a period of intense emotional and political turmoil in her private and public life.
"A book for lovers of English history"