She’s Here Again

It’s Mrs Capper’s 5th outing and this time, she’s in a quandary as she faces… A Professional Dilemma.

Called to gather evidence against the wife of a local businessman, that same man’s shady reputation puts Christine in an awkward position. The regulations under which she is obliged to work mean she must deliver the truth to Gus Leach, but if she does, what will happen to the adulterous wife, Petra?

And the matter is only complicated by a murder.

Dennis is getting better, Radio Haxford are asking her for to augment her agony aunt spot with a new role, her infirm, elderly neighbour is pining for a long lost love, and Christine is all at sea try to reconcile…

A Professional Dilemma

Mrs Capper’s Casebook #5, A Professional Dilemma, is exclusive to Amazon, free to read for subscribers to Kindle Unlimited.

Learn more HERE

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Costa del Yorkshire

This weekend we’re shooting off to sweltering Scarborough.

We’ve had long affair with the premier Yorkshire resort. I met the missus there forty-odd years ago and the reason I go back so often is I’m determined to get my own back, so obviously we’ll sign in as Mrs and Mrs Smith.

Regular readers amongst you will know that three of the Sanford 3rd Age Club Mysteries are set in the Scarborough/Filey/Whitby area (The Filey Connection, Murder at the Treasure Hunt, Tis the Season to Be Murdered) the background tale of Christmas Crackers was set in Whitby, and when he’s feeling frisky, Joe visits one or two ladies of his acquaintance in Scarborough. Finally, Mrs Capper’s only daughter, Ingrid, also lives in Scarborough, although we haven’t yet had the pleasure of meeting her in person

So what is it about this area that appeals?

When you look at it, Scarborough is hardly conducive to a couple of old crocks, both with clapped out knees (oh, those hills) both diabetic (ice cream, rock, choccies and sweeties in abundance) and one with breathing difficulties which means I go downhill easy enough, but I’m buggered coming back up.

And yet we love that area. We find it more interesting than the west coast, slightly less hassle than Blackpool, and closer to home than Skegness. Added to which, speaking as Yorkshireman, everyone can understand me even if I can’t hear them.

For all you people eagerly awaiting the next of Joe Murray’s adventures, it is in progress, but it’s moving at about the same speed as me when climbing back up from Scarborough seafront to the town centre, but it will get there.

And in the meantime the fifth of Mrs Capper’s volumes is now on preorder with Amazon. Entitled A Professional Dilemma, it’s scheduled for release on August 12. Right now, you can preorder it at the special price of just 99p. Yes. Less than a quid. Even I can afford that.

But the offer only stands until the day of release when the price will revert to normal.

So get over there and get it ordered

A Professional Dilemma, Mrs Capper’s Casebook #5, only 99p/99¢

mybook.to/prodil

And that’s it. I’ll be back next week with shocking stories of Scarborough, so in the meantime, behave… or don’t if you don’t want.

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Crisis Apparition?

An absolutely genuine experience for once, but one I have doubts about, and I apologise for the cheap image above, but it’s the only I have that looks ‘spooky’.

Many people will be aware that I’ve been ill over the last week or two. What I thought (and what the NHS said) was simple case of muscle strain turned out to be much more complex. Yes, the muscles of both shoulders and arms are strained, but the problem has been compounded by a full-blown COPD flare-up which materialised a few days ago.

We’re quite familiar with them. I was diagnosed with COPD over ten years ago, and I don’t know how many flare-ups I’ve been through, but on Friday morning this fell into the category “one of the worst”. Intense pain in my left, upper back, breathing was agony, taking a deep breath impossible even with the various inhalers I use. I got through to the doc Friday morning and he doled out the usual prescription: a course of amoxicillin 500mg (antibiotic) three times a day, and course of prednisolone 5mg (steroid) six per day and all six to be taken at one hit after breakfast.

I’m not one of nature’s pill-poppers, but I’ve been through this process before and it’s good stuff. Saturday morning after only one day of the antibiotic (I got them too late in the day for the steroid) I was feeling better and after overcoming my natural reticence to take half a dozen pills first thing in the morning, the steroid began to work its magic.

The missus and I had a tour round town, and I felt good. I could breathe, I was in no pain. I was also cautious. It could have been nothing more than an immediate effect of the pills and fresh air.

At two o’clock, my wife, who’s not used to getting up early, was feeling tried, so she cleared off back to bed. I was feeling good so I got on with a bit of work. Two hours later, I left my seat to visit the smallest room and I saw her in her usual seat in the corner of the settee.

It was impossible. She was still in bed.

I have to clarify the term ‘saw her’. I wasn’t look at her corner. I was focused more on the front windows and the door to the hall, and ‘seeing’ her is my way of describing a fleeting impression on the extreme limit of my peripheral vision.

Over the years I’ve written all sorts of weird tales, and I’m not talking of my general work like the Sanford Mysteries and Mrs Capper. I’ve made an extensive study of the paranormal and come to the conclusion that despite the proliferation of unexplained phenomena, most are illusions.

But ever since we lost our beloved crackpot Jack Russell, Joe, five years ago, I keep getting peripheral visual impressions of him still in the house, and I had to ask myself, was this sighting of Carol the same, or a crisis apparition? To explain further, I’m 72, she is 78, and we both know that if life is a game of football, we’re both well into the second half, maybe looking at extra time.

I rushed upstairs to check on her and… she was fine. Better than that she was playing hell because I woke her two hours before she was due to get up.

So what really happened? This is pure guesswork, but based on logic, reason, rather than the esoteric. As a matter of routine, I have to use a steroid inhaler four times a day. Twice in the morning, twice in the early evening. Couple that to a large dose of prednisolone, a drug which can general illusions and hallucinations (although it has to be said that such events are so rare, they can’t estimate how many people are affected). What does this suggest?

And the impression was so fleeting that it might not have been Carol. It could have been my late daughter, Angela. The one time in her life that she visited us here, she sat where Carol sits, and her birthday was just a few days ago, so she’s been on my mind quite a bit.

I don’t know what happened. Maybe it was just a trick of the light and a tired mind. Maybe nothing happened at all. But I will tell you this. When I drop it into one of my darker tales, it will be a lot more sinister.

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OUT

Yes, it’s here. The fourth volume of Mrs Capper’s Casebooks, Exit Page 10, was released at midnight, and is now on sale in both Kindle format and as a paperback. I’ll give you the link at the bottom of the page.

Exit Page 10 follows on from Blackmail at the Ballot Box, and sees Dennis recovering slowly from his severe injuries. Christine has to care for him 24/7 but at the same time she also needs to maintain an income, which means she calls on the help of her daughter-in-law, Naomi, and her next door neighbour, Hazel McQuarrie.

Christine is a woman under stress and that shows when she meets fellow private investigator Nathan Evanson. Throughout the course of investigating a leak from bestselling novelist Anita Stocker’s laptop, Christine finds herself tempted by Mr Evanson.

Does she yield? I’ll leave you to find out.

For those of you who may be worrying about Christine and Dennis, I can tell you that the stress will begin to ease in the next volume, A Professional Dilemma, which is due for release at the end of August/beginning of September. And I’m telling you no more than that.

So, get yourself into Exit Page 10 and keep up with Christine Capper’s investigative adventures.

You can find it HERE

And enjoy.

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IT’S HERE

Well, almost.

Mrs Capper’s Casebook #4, Exit Page 10 is up and running, exclusive to Amazon, and available for pre-order right now.

But you won’t be able to read it until June 24, the official release date. That means you’ve got four weeks to think about it, dither about it, and then order it. Why not save all that brain strain and dithering, and get it ordered now? That way, it’ll be delivered to your e-reader at midnight on 24 June, and you’ll be well ahead of the game by the time the rest of the world is waking up to its release.

You can find it at: mybook.to/exten. For reference that’s a global link. It doesn’t matter where in the world you live, that link will take you to your local Amazon site.

So what’s it all about?

It’s about a nasty little murder which mirrors a murder committed on page 10 of novelist, Anita Stocker’s next book, Utter Carnage. The trouble is, no one has seen this script other than her editor, Valerie Wharrier, and she swears she was not the one who told the police.

Still coping with her badly injured husband, it seems that everyone wants a piece of Christine, including fellow private eye, Nathan Evanson. But Nathan wants a bit more than a piece of her.

Pulled every which way, trying to care for Dennis, trying to keep clients happy, determined to crack the puzzles as they mount up, things get worse when both her chief suspect is murdered, and the second-best suspect disappears.

Christine needs all her wits, charm, and patience to maintain her customary, light-hearted outlook on life, while Nathan Evanson’s flattery tests her will. Will she succumb to it?

Well, you’ll have to wait until June 24 to find out.

Exit Page 10, Mrs Capper’s Casebook #4, available for pre-order NOW.

Learn more HERE

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It’s Here

It’s a sunny but chilly Friday morning here in Northeast Manchester, a public holiday weekend in the UK and Mrs R is looking forward to a day in Blackpool tomorrow.

I’m not. The forecast is for overcast and nippy, there’ll be too much walking round and too much shopping, and we all know how much I love shopping (cue theme from Quatermass).

That aside, I do like to keep an eye on the progress of my books, and yes, I have a brand new title which went on sale this morning… the 3rd of Mrs Capper’s Casebooks, Blackmail at the Ballot Box.

If we’ve learned anything about the Cappers from the first two books, it’s that they have a very comfortable, easy life. Christine’s biggest problem amounts to keeping Dennis away from the kitchen (because he’s a walking disaster area when it comes to cooking) and coping with Haxford’s moodiest moggie, Cappy the Cat.

It’s time to disrupt that cosy life, and that’s exactly what happens in Blackmail at the Ballot Box when one of the candidates in a forthcoming by-election is blackmailed and asks Christine to identify the culprit.

I’m telling you no more than that except to say that it’s a rollercoaster of a ride for our favourite private eye and one which culminates in events that may well shatter her world.

Blackmail at the Ballot Box, Mrs Capper’s Casebook #3 is exclusive to Amazon, available in both Kindle format and paperback, and is available to KUL subscribers as part of their allowance.

Get over there and get it ordered RIGHT HERE

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FREE

It’s Easter weekend and after checking out the drivel on TV, what better way to gorge on chocolate than with the Kindle on your lap, its screen open on the pages of a good book?

And just to get you into the spirit, I have not one but TWO Sanford 3rd Age Club Mysteries, both set at Easter, FREE for the weekend.

The Chocolate Egg Murders (Sanford 3rd Age Club Mystery #7)

sees Joe, Sheila and Brenda and their friends in Weston-super-Mare with the bodies soon racking up, and it all appears to be in pursuit of a very special chocolate egg.

Death in Distribution (Sanford 3rd Age Club Mystery #11)

is set in Blackpool, where Joe becomes embroiled in a couple of murders at a mail order distribution centre. And it’s not as if he hasn’t enough problems back home in Sanford, where the local authority, prompted by property developer Gerard Vaughan, are threatening to demolish The Lazy Luncheonette.

Both titles are FREE today (Saturday 16th) and tomorrow (Sunday 17th) but go back to full price on Monday morning, so you’d better get yours skates on.  You can find them at:

The Chocolate Egg Murders

Death in Distribution

And have a happy Easter with the Sanford 3rd Age Club

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Blackmail at the Ballot Box

Yes, it’s here. Mrs Capper’s third adventure is up on Amazon, scheduled for release on April 29, but available right now for pre-order. For those of you who want to steal a march on the rest of the world, or at least that part of it which reads Mrs Capper’s Casebooks, it’s also available in paperback, but that’s a bit pricier.

Reaction to the first two titles, Mrs Capper’s Christmas and Death at the Wool Fair, has been favourable, and she’s already developing a fan base. I’m hoping that Blackmail at the Ballot Box will enhance her reputation further.

It’s relatively light-hearted. Most of my whodunits are, and that’s because I have a fairly light-hearted outlook on life. As I so often repeat, I’m blessed with a one-megaton sense of humour, which shows through even when I’m unwell, upon which point, I’ve been manky since Christmas.

In this third outing, Mrs C doesn’t get into politics. Like me, she believes all politicians are strangers to the plain, ungarnished truth. Her mechanically obsessed husband, Dennis, is even worse, as Christine spells out in the early part of the tale.

Nevertheless, she has to deal with politicians in this book, and during the course of the story, she is subject to threats, physically attacked, and then comes up against a situation which will alter the entire focus of her life.

I’m not going to tell you any more than that because I don’t want to give the game away, and because I enjoy taunting you.

Mrs Capper’s Casebook #3, Blackmail at the Ballot Box is exclusive to Amazon, scheduled for release on Friday, April 29, and is available for pre-order right now.

And you can find it at: mybook.to/bmb (universal link, takes you to your local Amazon site).

So what are you waiting for? Get over there and get it ordered. You know you want to.

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Mrs Capper’s Casebook #3

Are you ready for this? Can you handle the third investigation from Mrs Capper’s Casebook?

Blackmail at the Ballot Box is with my trusty editor, the lovely and ever-reliable Maureen Vincent-Northam, and it will be with you very soon.

For now, let me give you an overview.

There’s a by-election in Haxford and one of the candidates is being blackmailed to step down. Enter Christine Capper, determined to unmask the culprit, but to do so she must confront her client’s election opponents.

One death, two personal attacks, one of them devastating, and potential stardom await Christine in this third outing. Can she cope with it?

Here’s a sample from the tale. Events have led to a fall out between Christine and her husband, Dennis, but now she needs his help. He’s already cut her call off several times but Christine has a secret weapon designed to put right their squabble.

***

As I emerged into the gloomy afternoon, I rang Dennis again. This time he answered right away.

He wasn’t in any better mood. “For crying out loud, woman, what the bejeebers do you want?”

“Some way of approaching Hal Jorry which will put him off guard. Listen to me, Dennis. My prime suspect was killed last night. Mowed down in a hit-and-run, and it’s a sight too coincidental considering the business I’m investigating. I need to speak to Jorry, but if I go barging in, he’ll go on the defensive.”

“I warned you yesterday to keep away from him. He’s scum. And he’s a crap mechanic. Take your car to him, and he’ll mess it up, and like I told you, he won’t think twice about blackening your name.”

“There’s nothing wrong with the fizzing car. I’m being paid for this gig, Dennis, so I have no choice, and I can handle the Hal Jorrys of this world’s as easy as I deal with you. Now tell me what could be wrong with my car that could give me an excuse for speaking to him.”

He was silent for the moment, and I knew what that meant. He had finally got the message, and he was thinking of something I could use.

“Tell him the engine’s missing.”

The suggestion caused my annoyance to rise once again. “And how do I explain having driven it there if someone’s stolen the engine?”

“I said missing, not nicked.” He let out a frustrated gasp. “How long have we been married? How many hours have I spent telling you about engines? And you still don’t understand.”

“That’s because I’m like you, Dennis. I don’t listen to your drivel. I’m on my way to the college now, and from there, I have to speak to Mandy before I go home. I’ll see you when you get home. And don’t be late, because I’m doing a pie.”

It never ceased to astonish me how quickly his mood could change, especially when his favourite food was mentioned. “A pie? A tate and meaty?”

“That’s got your attention, hasn’t it? I thought you deserved it after last night and this morning, but the way you’ve been carrying on this last ten minutes, I’m beginning to have doubts.”

“No. Don’t change your mind. I’ll be home for half past six.”

I ended the call, satisfied with the outcome. By seven o’clock this evening, the sulky, grim atmosphere between us would be consigned to history. He would enjoy his pie, and along with Cappy the Cat he would sleep it off on the settee while repeats of Top Gear played on the TV,

***

What is so special about Hal Jorry that Christine needs to slipstream her approach? To find that out, you’ll have to wait for the book’s release, but it will be with you in the very near future.

In the meantime, are you up to speed with the series? All my works are exclusive to Amazon, so subscribers to Kindle Unlimited read them free.

You can find the previous titles at:

Mrs Capper’s Christmas

Death at the Wool Fair

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A Double Weekend Treat

Here’s a weekend treat for you. Snippets from what I think will be the next Sanford 3rd Age Club Mystery, and what I know will be the next Mrs Capper’s Casebook.

Mrs Capper’s tale is well advanced, but where the Sanford Mystery is concerned, things are less clear. A Body in the Graveyard will (I think) be Sanford 3rd Age Club Mystery #25, but I’m not sure yet. It should have been with you by now, but it’s been delayed by various factors, not least of which is my poor health since the turn of the year.

As always, I pass my own illnesses to my characters, and in this volume, Joe is suffering from the same, appalling gastric problems I’ve had since January.

Unable to work in his café because of the stomach problems, he’s made his way to Cragshaven to join Maddy Chester who has a problem after finding a body in the graveyard of the local church.

As we join them, Joe and Maddy have left her bungalow and are ambling to the graveyard.

***

Joe had never made any secret of his attraction to the Yorkshire coast, stretching from Bridlington in the south, taking in Filey, Scarborough, Cragshaven, Whitby, and further north to the little fishing village of Staithes, a tiny, close community, similar to Cragshaven. Everywhere held a magical fascination for him, and living, as he did, in West Yorkshire, it was all no more than ninety minutes from his home.

Alongside the church tower, close to the gravestone where Claughton had been found, he insisted Maddy take a panorama of pictures sweeping from south, through East, North, West, until she had turned full circle and was effectively taking a photograph of her own bungalow a couple of hundred yards away.

Checking the scene with his naked eye, Joe could see nothing of any particular interest. A large ship plodded south along the horizon, but there was nothing to say that Claughton had seen any such vessel, and even if he had, what possible interest would it be to him? It was somewhere close to the horizon, which, as far as Joe was concerned, meant it was at least thirty miles offshore.

Maddy was right when she said they could see little of Cragshaven village other than the roofs of houses and cottages below, and there was no sign of the tiny harbour where the local fisherman moored their cobles.

“Have you done any research on Claughton?”

“A little. Nothing spectacular. He was seventy-one years old, a merchant seaman in his younger years, but that was twenty-five, thirty years ago.” Maddy laughed. “I’m like you, Joe. I have a job to do and I’m the middle of a large project, so it’s not like I can just drop everything to follow up on a whim.” She sighed. “But, it’s all a huge mystery. What was he doing here? And before you ask, I’ve checked this graveyard seven ways from Sunday, and he has no relatives, no family buried here. As Neil Kemp told me, he came from Middlesbrough. He has no history with Cragshaven.”

“And if you’re right, he was the perfect target for muggers. Come on, time we were speaking to this Constable Kemp.”

***

What is it, then, that makes Maddy so suspicious of Arnold Claughton’s death?

Well, you’ll have to wait for the book to be released to find out. I’m reluctant to put a timescale on it, but with luck and a following wind, the 25th Sanford 3rd Age Club Mystery should be with you before the official start of summer.

***

The Blackmail Ballot is Mrs Capper’s third outing. The local elections are upon Haxford, and after the death of the town’s long serving MP, there’s also a parliamentary election on the same day. Eileen McCrudden, the Conservative candidate, has approached Christine after being blackmailed in an attempt to make her withdraw from the election.

We join Christine at Sandra’s Snacky, where she’s taking lunch with her husband, Dennis.

***

I sipped at my tea, and said, “Lester mentioned someone in the car on the way here. Hal Jorry. What do you know about him?”

“He’s an idiot. He’s a teacher at Haxford College. Teaches mechanicking.” Dennis snorted. “Mechanicking, my eye. I can out-spanner him any day of the week.”

“Then how come he’s teaching it and you’re doing it?”

“You know what they say? Them as can, do, them as can’t, teach. Besides, the way you spend money, I couldn’t afford the pay cut.” He glugged from his cup. “He’s a bigger Nazi than Hitler. Don’t quote me on that, because I wouldn’t know nowt about his politics if I ran over him at a rally in Market Street, but according to Geronimo, he’s in favour of re-patronising anyone who wasn’t born and bred in Haxford.”

“You mean repatriating.”

“Do I? Happen I do. He also thinks women and children should be seen and not heard, and anyone’s who was out of work won’t be out of work for long once he sent everyone back where they were born. According to Geronimo’s calculations, by the time Jorry is finished, there’ll only be about a dozen people left in Haxford. And me and you, and Geronimo and his wife, and their two sons, make up six of those twelve.”

“What about our Simon and Ingrid?”

“Ingrid’s living in Scarborough, and Simon married a Manchester lass, and anyone who originally came from Huddersfield, Manchester, Sheffield, or wherever, will be sent home, so Simon will have to go with Naomi.”

Dennis guzzled more tea while I considered his description of this man. I had no doubt that Tony Wharrier was exaggerating. Dennis, on the other hand, wasn’t so sure.

“If you’re gonna start hassling these people, Chrissy, just be careful. I’m not saying they’re out and out thugs, but a mouthpiece like Jorry won’t think twice about ruining your reputation in order to shut you up.”

“Which is exactly what my client is concerned about.”

***

Is Christine going to bite off more than she can chew? Or are the rumours concerning Jorry no more than scuttlebutt?

Once again, you’ll have to wait for the book’s release to find out, but it should be with you by the middle of May.

***

In the meantime, you can check out all my titles, 24 Sanford 3rd Age Club Mysteries, two existing Capper Casebooks, and an assortment of darker works on my books page, HERE.

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