My dear friends,
It seems such an age since I have written to you that I hardly know where to begin. I think I can remember telling you all that I had a good Christmas and New Year, including a very special party. After that things settled down to three days of being completely snowed in, followed by a frantic session of proof correction, followed by a terrific family gathering for my daughter Amanda's birthday.
Meanwhile I have joined the committee of the Battle & District Historical Society, our local History Society, where I am in charge - at least I think I am - of publicity. That may sound rather a strange remark but it is rather an odd collection of people. But no more of that or I shall have a writ for libel whizzing through my letter box. If I could ask all my readers one favour: please log on to the history society's website, because the more people who look at it the more chance we have of getting on to Google. And we need them.
So there I was, trying to publicise the Historical Society, when bang - my friends start ringing me up and congratulating me on The Mills of God. Dear old Amazon had jumped the gun by a couple of months and had started to send out copies. It was not supposed to be published until 1st May, but the fact that the book has been well and truly available makes rather a nonsense of that date. Everybody who is anybody has already ordered the book which is, I believe, selling well. So who am I to grumble?
Let me just tell you about two new characters who are introduced in The Mills of God. First is the Reverend Nick Lawrence, the new vicar of Lakehurst, the village in which the story is set. Which reminds me: I had a review on Amazon from someone calling himself the Galloping Major in which he pointed out, none too kindly, that I knew sweet nothing about church procedure. He mentioned several points so I reckon he must be a vicar - or a retired one - himself. His summing up of the book was 'Good, though should have done better' or words to that effect. Anyway, I answered him and invited him to be my religious advisor. So let's see what happens. Watch this space.
Anyway, as I was saying, Nick is young and on-the-ball and arrives in his new parish only for a series of crimes to break out. He is rather a nice character and I hope the readers will take to him. The second person I introduce is Inspector Dominic Tennant of the Sussex Police. He is a pixieish man whose hobby is amateur drama. Yet the poor blighter hardly ever gets to complete a part because his work takes over. And he certainly has a tough nut to crack with the Lakehurst murders. What with famous film stars of the fifties and ageing matinée idols, to say nothing of an aristocratic German, poor Tennant has to drop out of yet another production.
Social life at the moment is at an all-time low. I was on the point of going to Bavaria to research the antecedents of my father - or, as Lindsey Davis said, "Hunt the Grandpa" - when the volcano went off and ruined my chances. Back I came from Heathrow with my tail between my legs, shorter of money - enough said about that - and feeling rather upset that my grandfather should still remain a mystery to me.
Anyway my life bucked up a bit when I had two French teachers to stay, Jean-Luc and Roman. I enclose a photograph of them and their students taken in St. James's Park, one of me and my cat Gus, looking very large and orange - and that's just me! The photograph of the volcano that blighted my life in quieter times appears by courtesy of my web master.
That's all for now, folks. I promise to try and write more often but I would ask everyone to support me by buying the book from Amazon or ordering it from their local bookshop with the title and my name to give them a helping hand.
Be good and keep reading,