Well, I’ve come to an end to my Blog Tour. It’s been a lot of work, but I’ve really enjoyed it. It’s been exciting checking for new comments each day and I’ve had some lovely ones – people really can be very kind and generous. Anyway, here are the last few dates and hosts on my tour. Check them out!
I want to thank all seventeen of my hosts. They’ve been absolutely amazing! And to think they have guest bloggers all the time. They must be awesome at organisation. I take my hat off to each and every one of you. Thank you ladies and gent. You’re all welcome on my blog at any time.
Oh. I nearly forgot. This is not part of my tour, but something I did separately and that just happens to have coincided with the last day of the tour. Anyway, here’s an interview I did for Sylvia Massara of The Lit Chick Show! This one’s the Real McCoy, with an introduction and everything, so you can ignore the previous interview I put up for this.
I”m delighted to announce that Deadly Reunion is published today. Deadly Reunion is my eighteenth novel and the fourteenth in my humorous Rafferty & Llewellyn crime series. Here’s the blurb:
Detective Inspector Joe Rafferty is barely back from his honeymoon before he has two unpleasant surprises. Not only has he another murder investigation – a poisoning, courtesy of a school reunion, he also has four new lodgers, courtesy of his Ma, Kitty Rafferty. Ma is organising her own reunion and since getting on the internet, the number of Rafferty and Kelly family attendees has grown, like Topsy. In his murder investigation, Rafferty has to go back in time to learn of all the likely motives of the victim’s fellow reunees. But it is only when he is reconciled to his unwanted lodgers, that Rafferty finds the answers to his most important questions.
A Rafferty & Llewellyn crime novel by Geraldine Evans
EXCERPT from Chapter One
‘Poisoned? Are you sure? Detective Inspector Joseph Rafferty regretted his rash query as soon as it left his mouth. For Dr Sam Dally let him have it with both barrels.
‘Of course I’m sure. Would I be telling you the man was poisoned if I wasn’t? I never question your professional judgement’ – which was an out and out lie – ‘so I’d thank you not to question mine.Conium Maculatum was what killed him. Or, to your uneducated ear, hemlock.’
‘That’s right. A very old-fashioned poison. Goes back to the classical Greeks, so I believe. Maybe even further back. Now, is there anything else you’d like to question while you’re at it?’
‘All right, Sam. Keep your hair on,’ said Rafferty. Which – given Sam’s rapidly balding pate, was another unfortunate slip of the tongue. But this time it brought nothing more than the testy,
‘Well? Is there anything else you’d like to question my judgement about?
Rafferty felt – given his mounting foot-in-mouth episode – that a simple ‘no’ would suffice.
‘Hmph.’ Dally sounded disappointed as if he was just in the right frame of mind to have another go. ‘Ainsley had been dead between fourteen and sixteen hours before he was discovered. The first symptoms would have started after around half an hour. He’d have experienced a gradual weakening of muscles, then extreme pain and paralysis from the coniine in hemlock, the effects of which are much like curare. It’s probable he went blind, but his mind would have remained clear till the end.’
‘Christ. What a horrible way to go.’
‘Yes. Death would be several hours later from paralysis of the heart.’
‘Is the poison likely to be self-inflicted?’
‘’Well, it wouldn’t be my choice.’
Nor mine, thought Rafferty. He couldn’t believe that a sportsman like Adam Ainsley would choose such a way to go.
‘But figuring that out’s your job, Rafferty. I suggest you get on with it.’
Bang went the phone. Or it would have done but for the frustrations caused by modern technology, which didn’t allow anything so satisfying.
‘Sam and Mary must have had a domestic this morning,’ Rafferty said to Sergeant Dafyd Llewellyn as he leaned back in the now shabby executive chair that Superintendent Bradley had decreed was the appropriate seating for his detectives. ‘He just bawled me out something chronic.’
Llewellyn, who had never been known to make an ill-advised remark, gave a gentle sigh. ‘Dr Dally has never appreciated having his professional conclusions questioned.’It was a gentle reproof, but a reproof nonetheless. ‘You were talking about the body found in the woods, I presume?’
Rafferty nodded. Adam Ainsley had been found in Elmhurst’s Dedman Wood around eight in the morning two days ago by a local woman walking her dog. There had been no visible signs of injury and it had been assumed the man had had a heart attack while out for a too energetic run; the track suit and trainers had suggested the possibility. Ainsworth had been attending a reunion at Griffin School, an exclusive, fee-paying establishment for eleven to eighteen year olds situated two miles outside the Essex market town of Elmhurst, where Rafferty’s station was located.
‘Did I hear you mention Hemlock?
Rafferty nodded. ‘I thought that would make you prick up your ears. That’s what Sam reckons killed him. Said it goes back to your pals, the ancient Greeks.’
‘Yes. According to Plato it’s what Socrates used to kill himself after he was sentenced to death. He drained the cup containing the poison and walked about until his legs felt heavy. Then he lay down and, after a while, the drug had numbed his whole body, creeping up until it had reached his heart.’
‘Yeah, Sam said it was paralysis of the heart muscle that would have killed him. Sounds like hanging would have been quicker, even without an Albert Pierrepoint to work out the drop required. Anyway, enough of this classical Greek morbidity. We’d better get over to the school,’ said Rafferty. ‘Can you get some uniforms organized, Dafyd? I’ll go and tell Long-Pockets what Sam said and meet you downstairs.’
‘Long-Pockets’, otherwise known as Superintendent Bradley, was obsessed with the budget, in Rafferty’s opinion, hence the nickname. As far as he was concerned, crimes took what they took, in time, money and manpower.
The uniforms were quickly mobilized by the simple expedient of roistering those on refreshment breaks out of the canteen. After Rafferty had gone to see Bradley, he returned to his office and rung the school to let Jeremy Paxton, the headmaster, know the results of the toxicology tests and that they were on their way; that done, he went down to reception to meet up with Llewellyn and the woodentops and headed out to the car park.
The August day was gloriously fresh and bright, just as a summer day should be, with a light breeze, to stop it getting too hot, and a deep blue sky without a cloud in sight. Rafferty, Llewellyn and two of the constables, Timothy Smales and Lizzie Green, piled reluctantly into the car, which was as hot as Lucifer’s crotch as it had been standing in the sun. Rafferty, not a lover of air-conditioning, which, anyway, would barely have started to work by the time they got to the school, wound his window right down and stuck his head out to catch the breeze.
The run out to Griffin School was a pretty one, past lush farmland, via roads overhung with trees whose leaves formed a soft green bower over the tarmac. On days like this, it felt good to be alive, though this latest suspicious death lowered his spirits a little. Winter was a more fitting season for death.
Adam Ainsworth had been staying at Griffin for a school reunion. Unusually, the reunees had opted to get back together for an entire week rather than the more usual one evening and, conveniently for Rafferty, were still put up in the school’s dormitories. He wondered if they were regretting it now. Being cooped up beyond one’s desire with old enemies, as well as old friends, was a recipe for rising antagonisms that could be helpful to their investigation. There was nothing like spite for encouraging gossipy revelations
What a lot! Sorry – I should have been putting these up every day. Trouble is, I’ve been getting deeply involved in writing my next book as well as correcting the formatting of Death Line which I’ve had converted from an Amstrad disk preparatory to putting it up as another ebook, so, as you can imagine, my head’s been pretty full.
Peg Herring, an historical and contemporary mystery author is currently on a Blog Crawl and is posting about the English language and its wonderful richness. Today, Peg’s talking about Idioms. Why not visit Peg’s blog and see what other blogs she’s visited and what other aspects of the language she has been discussing? Her blog address –http://itsamysterytomepegherring.blogspot.com/
English is stuffed with idioms, words strung together with meaning in addition to what the individual words indicate. It drives ESL students crazy and adds humor in TV shows like “NCIS”, where a running gag has Ziva confused by idioms. When McGee says, “I have hung a net,” she says, “I do not know who Annette is or why you are so proud of killing her.”
Idioms are helpful for adding color and character, but a writer runs the risk of dating her work and losing readers of a different era or age. Phrases like “ghetto blaster” and “cut a rug” come and go quickly and seem ridiculous only a few years after the phrase is coined.
Even idioms that stay in the language can miss the mark in the wrong character’s mouth. A teenager would probably eat a bug before she would say “Clean as a whistle” or “happy as a clam”, and an older person must have good reasons for using terms like “bust a move” or “phobar”.
While context might help readers figure out an unfamiliar idiom, the author’s responsibility is to see that his readers have a fair chance to comprehend his words. On the other hand, readers should be willing to think about why an idiom was used and what it might mean. I was told the story of a writer whose editor would not let him use the term “walking point” in a novel about Vietnam-era soldiers because she had never heard the term before. Give us a break, chickie!
For your entertainment, I’ve listed below some common idioms and where they came from.
A As dead as a doornail- used in 1350 or earlier, but Shakespeare used it in King Henry VI, Part 2
A As white (now pure) as driven snow-Shakespeare, The Winter’s Tale
A A drop in the bucket-The Bible, Isaiah: 40:15
Pearls before swine-The Bible, Matthew: 7:6
Take the Dickens-this saying has nothing to do with the writer Charles Dickens. A euphemism for devil or devilish, Dickens was probably a shortened form of the word “devilkins”.
Happy as a clam – This one used to have a second half: “happy as a clam at high tide”. At high tide, the clams are safe and sound under the water, and you can’t dig them out and eat them.
Worth one’s salt – Roman soldiers were paid via a salarium, money intended for the purchase of salt. The English word salary derives from the Latin word for “salt”.
Learn the ropes – A new sailor had to become acquainted with knot tying as well as handling the ropes on the individual sails.
Hit the sack or hit the hay- In the early 1900s, it was common for mattresses, or sacks, to be stuffed with hay or straw, therefore “hitting the hay” or “hitting the sack” was a literal thing.
Mind your p’s and q’s – There are two explanations for this one, and I like both:
First, innkeepers used to keep a chalkboard on the wall to keep track of orders, using “p” for “pint” and “q” for quart. It is said that when a customer began to get rowdy, the host would point to his name on the board and tell him “Mind your p’s and q’s!”
The other explanation comes from early printing, where letters were set by hand into the presses to make a page. The letters were carved backward, and it was easy to confuse similar letters, so printing devils were told to “mind their p’s and q’s”.
The Poser: Name three books/series where an animal is central to the plot.
The Prizes-Weekly prizes (your choice of THE DEAD DETECTIVE AGENCY in e- or print format) drawn from the names of those who comment on the blogs as we go. Comment once/day, but the first commenter each day gets entered twice in Saturday’s drawing!
The Pitch: THE DEAD DETECTIVE AGENCY, First in The Dead Detective Mysteries, paranormal mystery. Tori Van Camp wakes in a stateroom on a cruise ship with no memory of booking a cruise, but she does have a vivid recollection of being shot in the chest. Determined to find out what happened and why, Tori enlists the help of an odd detective named Seamus. Together they embark on an investigation like nothing she’s ever experienced. Death is all around her, and unless they act quickly, two people she cares about are prime candidates for murder. Read more about this book and the author at http://pegherring.com or buy the book at http://www.ll-publications.com/deaddetectiveagency.html.
The Perpetrator: Peg Herring writes historical and contemporary mysteries. She loves everything about publishing, even editing (most days). Peg’s historical series, The Simon and Elizabeth Mysteries, debuted in 2010 to great reviews. The second in the series will be available in November from Five Star.
Thank you, Peg, for a very interesting post. I must admit, I love just about everything concerning the English language – even the spelling! Throughout its history it has accommodated words from other languages and this is partly what gives it its richness. Thanks again, Peg. Don’t forget, to follow Peg’s Blog Crawl, go to: http://itsamysterytomepegherring.blogspot.com/ to see where Peg is posting during her Crawl.
I’ve just made a Video Book Trailer for DEADLY REUNION, the latest novel in my humorous Rafferty & Llewellyn crime series. Here’s a short blurb to tell you a little about the book:
Detective Inspector Joe Rafferty is barely back from his honeymoon before he has two unpleasant surprises. Not only has he another murder investigation – a poisoning, courtesy of a school reunion, he also has four new lodgers, courtesy of his Ma, Kitty Rafferty.
Ma is organising her own reunion and since getting on the internet, the number of Rafferty and Kelly family attendees has grown, like Topsy. In his murder investigation, Rafferty has to go back in time to learn of all the likely motives of the victim’s fellow reunees. But it is only when he is reconciled to his unwanted lodgers, that Rafferty finds the answers to his most important questions.
Here’s the latest post on my Blog Tour. The Blog Host is Chris Verstraete and the post covers various topics: Ten Tips for Writers, plus What I Learned from series book numbers 1-14 in my Rafferty crime series, plus excerpt of Deadly Reunion. Thank you, Chris, you’re a star.