Lies for less



Buy Lies Mistakes and Misunderstandings at half price this week from Monday 28th August!

I hope you’re having a wonderful summer. If you’re looking for something to read on holiday or over the weekend you might like to know that my 1930s psychological, gothic novel Lies, Mistakes and Misunderstandings is available at half price 99p/99c this week only as part of my publisher’s summer eBook sale.

Jack’s quest to find the mysterious girl who invited herself into his life and then disappeared shortly before a brutal murder is discovered is full of twists and turns. IMG_6010

I must be honest, Jack is a flawed character so if you like your books to be about steel-jawed super-heroes it might not be for you. He is an embittered young Have-not in a world of Haves who has achieved nothing in the year since he graduated from Cambridge. It’s 1931 and the height of recession so a very difficult time for anyone to get a job without a recommendation and he doesn’t have the right connections. Then just as his life was beginning to turn around he has fallen foul of the people who might have helped him.

But he is also an innocent led into a world he is unprepared for.

“The main character Jack reminded me of some of Daphne du Maurier’s heroes (or anti-heroes), people who find themselves stuck like flypaper once they’re involved.”

(Francophile, reader review ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️)

“I sort of fell in love with Jack”

Booklover Bev, reader review ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️



When he meets Giselle she seems to represent everything he wants. But it gradually becomes clear she is not who she says she is.



After a brutal murder is discovered Jack’s life depends on finding Giselle to prove his alibi – but how can he find someone who doesn’t exist?

What the readers say (some five star reviews):

“This book is fantastic. I usually only read romance novels but this mystery had me hooked from the first page”

“Sharp and intelligent prose that keeps you on the edge of your seat”

“Complex and intriguing”

“Couldn’t put it down!”

“Brilliant holiday read – gripping from start to finish”

“The historical detail covering the period before, during and after the war really added interest and the descriptions of Italy were especially vivid.”

You can see more five star reviews and buy the book at the special price from Amazon or click on this link as part of the Crooked Cat Summer Sale.

If 1930s gothic psychological suspense isn’t your thing you will find lots of great reads in other genres in the sale including historical, crime, romance and chick lit. Happy reading 📚💕









Crime file – Death in Dulwich

Today’s coffee shop guest is Alice Castle, author of Death in Dulwich which comes out on September 6th. I so enjoyed reading this cosy crime novel which is the first in a series (see my review on the Katy’s bookshelf page) so I really wanted to know more about Alice – I have an Author Q&A for you but first here’s a bit about the book:


Thirty-something widow Beth Haldane has her hands full – she has a bouncy nine-year-old son, a haughty cat, a fringe with a mind of its own and a ton of bills to pay. She loves her little home in plush south London suburb Dulwich, but life here doesn’t come cheap.

That’s why she is thrilled to land a job as archivist at top local school Wyatt’s – though she has an inkling the post is not what it seems and she doesn’t think much of her new boss, Dr Jenkins, either. Then, on her first day at work, Dr Jenkins is brutally murdered. Beth finds the body, and realises she is the prime suspect, with means, opportunity and a motive.

Beth has no choice but to try and clear her name, bringing herself into conflict with the police and the school. But who is the real culprit? And is the cause of the killing a horrifying secret buried deep in the school’s past, or does evil lurk behind the comfortable façade of daily Dulwich life?

Beth grows in confidence during her dogged pursuit of the murderer and, by the end of the book, is ready for any adventures that may come her way. Which is just as well, because there’s trouble brewing at the Dulwich Picture Gallery ….

You can buy Death in Dulwich here

Author Q&A 

Who is your favourite crime writer?

This is really difficult, as I have loads of favourites and it’s really hard, actually impossible, to pick just one. I read most of the Sherlock Holmes stories as a teenager during a bout of flu, I just couldn’t get enough of them and I’m still a huge fan of Arthur Conan Doyle. At the same sort of time, I started reading Agatha Christie and also fell in love with Georgette Heyer’s whodunits – there aren’t many of them but they are great.


From there it was a straight progression to Margery Allingham and Dorothy L Sayers. I then flirted with slightly harder-edged, more contemporary crime, like Patricia Cornwell and Kathy Reichs, before deciding I liked my crime cosy rather than with a cruel edge.

I’ve also loved discovering Scandi noir crime, Italian crime and French crime, and love the mean streets of American noir as well, but my heart is probably at home in England, in a small village, with a few of the usual suspects, preferably including a vicar with a dodgy past and a few unexpected cousins popping up. Yes, I’m looking at you, Agatha Christie. She had a phenomenal output of stories, some of which are a bit formulaic, but there are some real gems amongst them.

What about your favourite film?

Some Like it Hot – it isn’t a whodunit but there is certainly an element of danger in our heroes’ flight from the mob and the comedy is irresistible. Marilyn Monroe is at her most luminous and Jack Lemmon’s last line is a classic. I’m also a huge fan of the Ridley Scott film, Bladerunner, which combines romance, tragedy, sci-fi and a detective story in a slick futuristic dystopia.

Favourite cake?

At the moment I’m not eating sugar, after a brush with cancer, but I love making cakes and my favourite is probably coffee and walnut, though I am also a sucker for all types of chocolate cake.

[Alice talks about the cancer diagnosis in her blog  She promised herself that if she got through the illness she would write a novel so this book is a celebration of life as well as a cracking murder mystery.]

Who is your favourite fictional villain?

Probably the chilling Ripley from Patricia Highsmith’s tour de force The Talented Mr Ripley. I remember dropping the book in shock at one point, full of genuine horror as the true psychopathic dimension of Ripley’s character revealed itself for the first time.

If you could change the ending to any book which one would it be?

If I could change any ending, it would be irresistible to just add the words, ‘to be continued…’ to the last page of Pride and Prejudice. I’d love to know how Elizabeth and Mr Darcy got on!

I would too! If you could be any fictional detective who would it be?

I’d rather like to be one of Raymond Chandler’s world-weary but dauntless detectives, negotiating the big city armed with only a dry wit and a sharp trenchcoat.

 If ‘Death in Dulwich’ was made into a TV series who would you cast in the main role?

Gosh, I’d love to dream of my cosy crime books being made into a series. My heroine, Beth Haldane, is in her thirties and is a single mum, so I’d have to pick an actress who had that slightly frazzled edge but still managed to be appealing – an English Emma Stone would be fine!

What gave you the idea for the book?

I’ve always loved whodunits and I’d been toying with various ideas for a while when the plot of Death in Dulwich came to me and I decided to take the plunge and start writing.

And finally why Dulwich?

I lived in Dulwich for four years after returning to the UK after nearly a decade in Brussels. It’s a beautiful corner of south east London with a distinctive village feel. It would be too much of a stretch to compare it directly with St Mary Mead, Miss Marple’s stamping ground, but it has similarities.

It is a small place where everyone knows each other, and each other’s business! I thought it would work well to ground my story in a real place but, of course, to write about fictional events and characters. Other books in the series will focus on other areas of south London but Dulwich will always be Beth Haldane’s home.

Thanks Alice – I hope the book is a huge success.


IMG_5557About Alice

Alice Castle lives in South London with her two children, two stepchildren, two cats and husband. She was a feature writer on the Daily Express for many years and has written for most other national newspapers. She has a degree in Modern History from St Andrews University, is the British Royalty expert for Flemish TV, and lived in Brussels for nearly a decade. Her chick lit novel, Hot Chocolate, sold out in two weeks. Her second book, Death in Dulwich, is the first in the London Murder Mystery series. The next book, The Girl in the Gallery, will appear in early 2018. Alice also runs one of the UK’s top 500 parent blogs, at, and you can find her on Twitter at @DDsDiary.

Published today – Social Anxiety Revealed by Miriam Drori

IMG_5817Today’s guest post is from Miriam Drori, co-author of The Women Friends: Selina (see my review on the Katy’s bookshelf 2017 page of this website). But Miriam is here to talk about her non-fiction book on social anxiety which is hot off the press. Over to you, Miriam!

The Song that Speaks to Me
Paul Simon wrote a lot of lines that I’ve identified with. Lines like: The problem is all inside your head, she said to me. Or: People talking without speaking.
But no song has spoken to me as much as: Something so Right.

I was nineteen when I first heard it, trying to become an adult but missing the tools I never acquired due to social anxiety, trying to make sense of thoughts I assumed belonged to no one but me.

And Paul Simon sang, “I’ve got a wall around me you can’t even see.”

Yes, that’s it! I thought. That’s exactly how I am.

And yes, that’s why people can’t get through to me and I can’t get close to them. I often sang the song to myself and felt comforted that someone else understood that feeling. I didn’t sing it to anyone else, as I was embarrassed about the feeling. Thirty years later I discovered social anxiety and realised that a lot of people feel the same way. What a shame it took so long.

Being alone with such thoughts is lonely and isolating.

Discovering the name has made a big difference to me and also led to the creation of a book, Social Anxiety Revealed. The book isn’t just my story, but rather many stories told via anonymous quotes from others who experience or have experienced social anxiety.

It’s intended not just for people who have social anxiety. It’s just as relevant for anyone who knows someone who might have it. It’s not a self-help book, although it does contain a few tips. It simply explains what social anxiety is – all aspects of it.

This book has awakened interest from many sources. It’s going right, and I’m determined not to be confused and say I can’t get used to something so right.

Thank you Miriam – I love those songs too and can identify with that feeling. The book sounds great. Good luck with it – I hope it’s a huge success.

IMG_5818About Miriam
Miriam Drori is the author of a romance, Neither Here Nor There, and co-author of The Women Friends: Selina, the first in a series of novellas based on a painting by Gustav Klimt. She is married with three adult children and enjoys folk dancing, hiking, touring and reading.
Miriam sees the publication of Social Anxiety Revealed as an important step in fulfilling an ambition that began in about 2003: to raise awareness of a condition that’s very common yet little known.
She has struggled with social anxiety for the past fifty years, although for thirty-five of those years, she didn’t even know the name of it or that a name existed. Only recently has she come to the conclusion that she shouldn’t have been struggling at all, but rather making friends with it.

In order to introduce this book and as a place for discussions with readers, Miriam has begun a blog that’s devoted solely to the topic of social anxiety: Everyone is welcome to visit and comment.

Links for the Blog Tour
Miriam Drori can be found all over the Internet, including:
Miriam’s website and blog, Facebook Author Page and Twitter @MiriamDrori.
Social Anxiety Revealed is available from Amazon in paperback and ebook formats


The tragedy of Sant Anna di Stazzema

Today is the anniversary of the one of the worst war crimes in Italy – the massacre at Sant Anna di Stazzema, a small mountain village in the Lucca province, Tuscany, during the Second World War.

On 12th August 1944 the SS killed 560 people in Sant Anna and the surrounding villages, most of whom were women, children and elderly.  The youngest victim Anna Pardini was only 20 days old but eight pregnant women were also killed with their unborn babies.

As the novel I’m writing deals with a secret connecting Villa Leonida to a wartime reprisal massacre I visited St Anna as part of my research. The museum there tells the story of what happened on that day.

It’s not a feel-good experience and if you’re only spending a few days in Tuscany on holiday it probably won’t be top on your list of places to go for a fun day out but for me, seeing how remote and inaccessible the village was really brought home how ruthlessly thorough the retreating German army was.

They had to go so far out of their way to get to such a tiny place and didn’t leave until they had killed everyone they could find although they could see the village was undefended. Many of the victims had been evacuated to St Anna to avoid the Allied strafing of the coastal plain.

The best way to get there is from the coast side, off the A12 following the signs from Pietrasanta or Forte dei Marmi which is the route the German army would have taken. You can also reach it by taking the road from Castelnuovo di Garfagnana across the marble mountains, the Apuan Alps. It is stunningly scenic but involves soaring climbs and dizzying turns so definitely not recommended if any of your party gets car sick.

(I took that route once by mistake, unaware that my husband had set the satnav to ‘avoid motorways.’ With four moaning teenagers, a stuck CD and a plane to catch, it wasn’t a comfortable journey!)

We visited the museum with our eleven year old son and it was very moving to see the photographs of all the children who died and some of the victims’ belongings that were found with some of them including a doll and some steel bands that the fascist government handed out to women in exchange for their wedding rings. Eight siblings from one family, aged from a few months to fifteen years, died along with their mother. The first hand accounts by survivors make harrowing reading.

IMG_1596Early in the morning the soldiers arrived in Sant Anna, having being told about some partisan activity in the area.

Many of the men had moved up into the hills in the belief that the soldiers wouldn’t harm innocent women and children but they were mistaken.

People were mostly either shot or burned to death in buildings when hand grenades were thrown in.

130 people were taken from the houses in Sant Anna, the primary school (now the museum) where about 50 evacuees were living and the neighbouring village of Il Pero and rounded up in the little square in front of the church at the centre of the village.

A survivor, writer Manlio Cancogni (who died in 2015), recalled: “They almost snatched them from their beds. They were half dressed, their limbs drowsy with sleep. Everyone was thinking they were going to be moved from those places to others…”

A pastor who was among the evacuees pleaded with the SS to spare their lives but when he saw there was no way he was going to be able to persuade them he knelt down with the villagers and prayed with them as they wept. After a few minutes the Germans loaded the guns and fired. There were no survivors.

Their bodies were burned on a bonfire made from furniture that had been ripped from the church. The SS sat there eating their lunch as the bodies burned.

IMG_1617They then moved on to surrounding villages so some people who had escaped and run to hide there had to go through the experience a second time.

Enrico Pieri was ten at the time and lost all his family except for an uncle, an aunt and another uncle who had been sent to Germany. He and the children of another family hid under the stairs when the Germans came and started shooting. But the soldiers set fire to the house and the children had to escape. They hid among some beans for hours. When they eventually crept out and went back to the house in the afternoon they found everyone dead.

“I have decided to forgive,” he said at 78 years old, “but I will never forgive the evil ideology behind it. I’ve stopped hating because hatred doesn’t solve anything. Because that period was a period of real hatred between people from the same village, the same family. Hatred is what led to the destruction of humanity – almost.”

Although a part of me feels uncomfortable visiting places like this just as it does the Anne Frank museum in Amsterdam as though it’s intruding on other people’s grief, the historian in me thinks that only by facing up to these past events and keeping the memory alive can we stop them happening in future.

What’s your opinion? I’d love to hear your views.

To find out more visit