I hope I find you well in the heat of this most memorable summer. I heard on the News this morning that August is going to be even hotter than July so sun tan lotion to the ready.
I've got a lot to tell you this month so let me kick off by informing you of the fabulous book launch given for me by my publishers Allison and Busby in June. It was to celebrate the publication of my twentieth novel, DEATH AND THE CORNISH FIDDLER, together with two paperbacks, THE GOVERNOR'S LADIES and THE KING'S WOMEN. As you probably know, FIDDLER was published in March, but we waited until June to include the two paperbacks with it. We had a simply marvellous party at which we consumed nothing but champagne and canapés, which went down terribly well I can assure you.
I was honoured by the presence of six authors, namely Hilary Bonner, Lindsey Davis, Ruth Dudley Edwards, Philip Gooden, Jane Jakeman and Mike Ripley, all of whom toasted my health. Jane J. was kind enough to give me a beautiful crystal necklace to celebrate the fact I had had twenty books published. It was so kind of her and I wear it with great pride.
As well as the authors the celebrated actor Michael Tudor Barnes was present. He came along looking immaculate as always. He reads all my books for audio tapes which are recorded by Soundings. I think these are ideal for those who are visually impaired but they are equally good for those who just like listening to books in their cars on a long journey. I met someone recently at a croquet party who has got the whole of the Bible on tape. He must spend all day listening to it I feel. Unfortunately I didn't take any photographs at the launch party being somewhat preoccupied but can tell you that I was more than delighted by the presence of so many professional colleagues and friends, together with members of my family. All in all we had a total of about fifty people including Reg Budd who came from Wales and whom I met on my recent cruise.
After the launch I went out to dinner with Mark Dunton, Maureen Lyle and a great friend of mine, the actor John Elnaugh. We went to Salieris in The Strand and had a really great time. John is currently acting in Sidmouth in Devon in the repertory company at the Manor Pavilion and I would advise anyone who lives in the area or who goes to Devon on holiday to make a point of seeing him. He is a fine actor and a pleasure to watch. I am posting up a picture of him and would ask you to meet him in the bar after the show where I am sure he will be happy to buy you a drink. I intend to visit Sidmouth myself in August and will report back to you after I have been.
I would like to say welcome to the two French readers who are subscribing to my newsletters. It gives me great pleasure to know that you have joined me: Mes salutations.
More next time about Bodies in the Bookshop, the Crime Writers' annual get together in Cambridge.
Meanwhile, take care of yourselves
P.S. - Ignore my first paragraph: it seems the forecast was wrong about August's weather!