Wednesday Windback with Elly Griffiths @ellygriffiths

Today I’m delighted to revisit my Five on Friday interview with Elly Griffiths which was first posted in March 2019. It’s been brought up to date to reflect Elly’s latest publications. Elly began writing under her her own name – Domenica de Rosa. Her books cover multi genres featuring crime, mystery, romance and more recently children’s books – so there’s something for everyone.

© Sara Reeve

Elly Griffiths was born in London. She worked in publishing before becoming a full-time writer. Her bestselling series of Dr Ruth Galloway novels, featuring a forensic archaeologist, are set in Norfolk. The series has won the CWA Dagger in the Library, and has been shortlisted three times for the Theakston’s Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year. She lives near Brighton with her husband, an archaeologist, and their two children.

Over to Elly:

Which five pieces of music/songs would you include in the soundtrack to your life and why?

Dancing in the Dark by Bruce Springsteen. Like Ruth, I’m a huge Springsteen fan. I could have chosen any of his songs but I’ve gone for this one because it contains the line ‘I’m sick of sitting around here trying to write this book’.


Every Day I Write the Book by Elvis Costello


Va Pensiero from Verdi’s Nabucco. I’m half Italian and love Italian opera. This aria, about longing for your homeland, is sometimes called the unofficial Italian anthem and Verdi himself was a symbol of Italian unification (his name was meant to stand for Vittorio Emanuele Re D’Italia).


The Internationale. The older I get the more international I feel.


Three Little Birds by Bob Marley. Because ‘every little thing’s gonna be all right’.


What five things (apart from family and friends) would you find it hard to live without.

My cat

The sea

Coffee

My Fiat 500

Bruce Springsteen

Give five pieces of advice to your younger self?

Don’t worry so much

Remember to write in your diary

People don’t change so accept them as they are

You know those photos you hate now? One day you’ll love them

Keep writing!

Tell us five things that most people don’t know about you

I’m distantly related to Dante

I’ve kept a diary since I was 11

I used to write Starsky and Hutch fan fiction

I swim in the sea all year round

I’m a keen horse-rider

Tell us five things you’d still like to do or achieve.

Swim with dolphins

See the horses at the Spanish Riding School in Vienna

Visit Las Vegas

Visit India

See the Great Barrier Reef (before it disappears)

Elly’s Books

(NB This post features Affiliate links from which I earn a small commission on qualifying purchases)

Ruth Galloway Series

The Crossing Places (#1)

A child’s bones are discovered on the windswept Norfolk marshes. Believing them to be ancient, the police call in Dr Ruth Galloway, forensic archaeologist. But this is no prehistoric grave. A cold missing person case has now become a murder investigation.

‘I’ve never before read a crime novel in which [archaeology and detection] blend as successfully as in The Crossing Places‘ Shots

Dr Ruth Galloway is called in when a child’s bones are discovered near the site of a prehistoric henge on the north Norfolk salt marshes. Are they the remains of a local girl who disappeared ten years earlier – or are the bones much older?

DCI Harry Nelson refuses to give up the hunt for the missing girl. Since she vanished, someone has been sending him bizarre anonymous notes about ritual sacrifice, quoting Shakespeare and the Bible. He knows that Ruth’s expertise and experience could help him finally to put this case to rest.

But when a second child goes missing, Ruth finds herself in danger from a killer who knows she’s getting ever closer to the truth…

The Janus Stone (#2)

A gruesome discovery at an old children’s home lays bare terrible secret’s from Norwich’s past in the second gripping mystery for Dr Ruth Galloway.

Dr Ruth Galloway’s forensic skills are called upon when builders, demolishing an old house in Norwich, uncover the bones of a child – minus the skull – beneath a doorway. Is it some ritual sacrifice or just plain straightforward murder? Ruth links up with DCI Harry Nelson to investigate.

The house was once a children’s home. Nelson traces the Catholic priest who used to run the place. He tells him that two children did go missing forty years before – a boy and a girl. They were never found.

When carbon dating proves that the child’s bones predate the home and relate to a time when the house was privately owned, Ruth is drawn ever more deeply into the case. But as spring turns into summer it becomes clear that someone is desperate to put her off the scent by frightening her to death…

The House at Sea’s End (#3)

The shadow of the Second World War looms dark over this chilling mystery starring forensic archaeologist Dr Ruth Galloway. Some buried secrets shouldn’t be uncovered.

Dr Ruth Galloway is called in by a team of archaeologists investigating coastal erosion on the north Norfolk coast, when they unearth six bodies buried at the foot of a cliff. They seem to have been there a very long time. Ruth must help discover how long, and how on earth they got there.

Ruth and DCI Nelson are drawn together once more to unravel the past. Tests reveal that the bodies have lain, preserved in the sand, for sixty years. The mystery of their deaths stretches back to the Second World War, a time when Great Britain was threatened by invasion.

Ruth thought she knew the history of Norfolk – she’s about to find out just how wrong she was, and how far someone will go to keep their secrets buried.

Dying Fall (#4)

When murder strikes close to home, Dr Ruth Galloway is determined to find justice – without ending up in the firing line herself.

Dr Ruth Galloway, forensic archaeologist, spends a lot of time looking at death. But now death has found her, with the news that her long-time friend and ex-colleague Dan Golding has been killed in a house fire.

Ruth’s grief soon turns to suspicion of arson when she receives a desperate letter from Dan, sent the day before he died. He had made a ground-breaking discovery that he was sure would change archaeology forever – and was petrified of the consequences.

Ruth feels compelled to travel north to investigate further, alongside DCI Harry Nelson who is also drawn into the case. But where Ruth goes, so does her young daughter, Kate. This time, the risks are even higher.

A Room Full of Bones (#5)

Halloween night, and the dead are closer than ever for Dr Ruth Galloway. She is used to long-dead bodies, but a fresh corpse in the middle of a museum is a new challenge.

It is Halloween in King’s Lynn, and forensic archaeologist Dr Ruth Galloway is attending a strange event at the local history museum – the opening of a coffin containing the bones of a medieval bishop. But then Ruth finds the body of the museum’s curator lying beside the coffin.

Soon the museum’s wealthy owner lies dead in his stables too. These two deaths could be from natural causes but DCI Harry Nelson isn’t convinced, and it is only a matter of time before Ruth and Nelson cross paths once more.

When threatening letters come to light, events take an even more sinister turn. But as Ruth’s friends become involved, where will her loyalties lie? As her convictions are tested, she and Nelson must discover how Aboriginal skulls, drug smuggling and the Aboriginal ritual of The Dreaming may hold the answer to these deaths – and be the key to their own survival.

The Outcast Dead (#6)

Historical crimes involving a Victorian child killer may hold the key to several contemporary deaths in this macabre outing for Dr Ruth Galloway, forensic archaeologist.

Ruth has excavated a body from the grounds of Norwich Castle, which was once a prison. The body may be that of Victorian murderess Jemima Green. Called Mother Hook for her claw-like hand, Jemima was hanged for the murder of five children.

DCI Harry Nelson has no time for long-ago killers. Investigating the case of three infants found dead, one after the other, in their King’s Lynn home, he’s convinced that their mother is responsible.

Then a child goes missing. Could the abduction be linked to the long-dead Mother Hook? Ruth is pulled into the case, and back towards Nelson.

The Ghost Fields (#7)

A bullet-ridden body is unearthed from a buried WW2 plane – but the body isn’t from WW2. Dr Ruth Galloway, forensic archaeologist, must discover who the victim was, and who put him there.

‘An almost gothic plot, involving family feuds and a crumbling stately home . . . one of the most vivid novels in a delightful series’ Sunday Times

When DCI Harry Nelson calls Ruth Galloway in to investigate a body found inside a buried fighter plane, she quickly realizes that the skeleton couldn’t possibly be the pilot. DNA tests identify the man as Fred Blackstock, a local aristocrat who had been reported dead at sea.

Events are further complicated by a TV company that wants to make a film about Norfolk’s deserted air force bases, the so-called Ghost Fields, which have been partially converted into a pig farm run by one of the younger remaining Blackstocks.

Then human bones are found on the farm and, as the greatest storm Norfolk has seen for decades brews in the distance, another Blackstock is attacked. Can the team outrace the rising flood to find the killer?

The Woman in Blue (#8)

The murder of women priests in Norfolk’s spooky shrine town of Walsingham draws forensic archaeologist Dr Ruth Galloway into a thrilling new adventure.

‘Ever-more ingenious detective stories with a powerful sense of place’ The Times

When Ruth’s friend Cathbad sees a vision of the Virgin Mary, in a white gown and blue cloak, in Walsingham’s graveyard, he takes it in his stride. Walsingham has strong connections to Mary, and Cathbad is a druid after all; visions come with the job. But when the body of a woman in a blue dressing-gown is found dead the next day in a nearby ditch, it is clear that a horrible crime has been committed, and DCI Nelson and his team are called in for what is now a murder investigation.

Ruth, a devout atheist, has managed to avoid Walsingham during her seventeen years in Norfolk. But then an old university friend asks to meet her in the village, and Ruth is amazed to discover that she is now a priest. She has been receiving vitriolic anonymous letters targeting women priests – letters containing references to local archaeology and a striking phrase about a woman ‘clad in blue, weeping for the world’.

Then another woman is murdered – a priest. As Walsingham prepares for its annual Easter re-enactment of the Crucifixion, the race is on to unmask the killer before they strike again…

The Chalk Pit (#9)

Boiled human bones have been found in Norwich’s web of underground tunnels. When Dr Ruth Galloway discovers they were recently buried, DCI Nelson has a murder inquiry on his hands. The boiling might have been just a medieval curiosity – now it suggests a much more sinister purpose.

Meanwhile, DS Judy Johnson is investigating the disappearance of a local rough sleeper. The only trace of her is the rumour that she’s gone ‘underground’. This might be a figure of speech, but with the discovery of the bones and the rumours both Ruth and the police have heard that the network of old chalk-mining tunnels under Norwich is home to a vast community of rough sleepers, the clues point in only one direction. Local academic Martin Kellerman knows all about the tunnels and their history – but can his assertions of cannibalism and ritual killing possibly be true?

As the weather gets hotter, tensions rise. A local woman goes missing and the police are under attack. Ruth and Nelson must unravel the dark secrets of The Underground and discover just what gruesome secrets lurk at its heart – before it claims another victim.

The Dark Angel (#10)

Dr Ruth Galloway is flattered when she receives a letter from Italian archaeologist Dr Angelo Morelli, asking for her help. He’s discovered a group of bones in a tiny hilltop village near Rome but doesn’t know what to make of them. It’s years since Ruth has had a holiday, and even a working holiday to Italy is very welcome!

So Ruth travels to Castello degli Angeli, accompanied by her daughter Kate and friend Shona. In the town she finds a baffling Roman mystery and a dark secret involving the war years and the Resistance. To her amazement she also soon finds Harry Nelson, with Cathbad in tow. But there is no time to overcome their mutual shock – the ancient bones spark a modern murder, and Ruth must discover what secrets there are in Castello degli Angeli that someone would kill to protect

The Stone Circle (#11)

DCI Nelson has been receiving threatening letters telling him to ‘go to the stone circle and rescue the innocent who is buried there’. He is shaken, not only because children are very much on his mind, with Michelle’s baby due to be born, but because although the letters are anonymous, they are somehow familiar. They read like the letters that first drew him into the case of The Crossing Places, and to Ruth. But the author of those letters is dead. Or are they?

Meanwhile Ruth is working on a dig in the Saltmarsh – another henge, known by the archaeologists as the stone circle – trying not to think about the baby. Then bones are found on the site, and identified as those of Margaret Lacey, a twelve-year-old girl who disappeared thirty years ago.

As the Margaret Lacey case progresses, more and more aspects of it begin to hark back to that first case of The Crossing Places, and to Scarlett Henderson, the girl Nelson couldn’t save. The past is reaching out for Ruth and Nelson, and its grip is deadly.

The Lantern Men (#12)

Everything has changed for Dr Ruth Galloway.

She has a new job, home and partner, and is no longer North Norfolk police’s resident forensic archaeologist. That is, until convicted murderer Ivor March offers to make DCI Nelson a deal. Nelson was always sure that March killed more women than he was charged with. Now March confirms this, and offers to show Nelson where the other bodies are buried – but only if Ruth will do the digging.

Curious, but wary, Ruth agrees. March tells Ruth that he killed four more women and that their bodies are buried near a village bordering the fens, said to be haunted by the Lantern Men, mysterious figures holding lights that lure travellers to their deaths.

Is Ivor March himself a lantern man, luring Ruth back to Norfolk? What is his plan, and why is she so crucial to it? And are the killings really over?

The Night Hawks (#13)

The Night Hawks, a group of metal detectorists, are searching for buried treasure when they find a body on the beach in North Norfolk. At first Nelson thinks that the dead man might be an asylum seeker but he turns out to be a local boy, Jem Taylor, recently released from prison. Ruth is more interested in the treasure, a hoard of Bronze Age weapons. Nelson at first thinks that Taylor’s death is accidental drowning, but a second death suggests murder.

Nelson is called to an apparent murder-suicide of a couple at the isolated Black Dog Farm. Local legend talks of the Black Shuck, a spectral hound that appears to people before they die. Nelson ignores this, even when the owner’s suicide note includes the line, ‘He’s buried in the garden.’ Ruth excavates and finds the body of a giant dog.

All roads lead back to this farm in the middle of nowhere, but the place spells serious danger for anyone who goes near. Ruth doesn’t scare easily. Not until she finds herself at Black Dog Farm …

The Locked Room (#14)

Ruth is in London clearing out her mother’s belongings when she makes a surprising discovery: a photograph of her Norfolk cottage taken before Ruth lived there. Her mother always hated the cottage, so why does she have a picture of the place? The only clue is written on the back of the photo: Dawn, 1963.

Ruth returns to Norfolk determined to solve the mystery, but then Covid rears its ugly head. Ruth and her daughter are locked down in their cottage, attempting to continue with work and home-schooling. Happily, the house next door is rented by a nice woman called Zoe, who they become friendly with while standing on their doorsteps clapping for carers.

Nelson, meanwhile, is investigating a series of deaths of women that may or may not be suicide. When he links the deaths to an archaeological discovery, he breaks curfew to visit the cottage where he finds Ruth chatting to her neighbour whom he remembers as a carer who was once tried for murdering her employer.

Only then her name wasn’t Zoe. It was Dawn.

The Brighton Mysteries

The Zig-Zag Girl (#1)

Magic, murder and a mystery rooted in a murky wartime past. Meet DI Stephens and Max Mephisto

Brighton, 1950.

When the body of a girl is found, cut into three, Detective Inspector Edgar Stephens is reminded of a magic trick, the Zig Zag Girl.

The inventor of the trick, Max Mephisto, is an old friend of Edgar’s. They served together in the war as part of a shadowy unit called the Magic Men.

Max is still on the circuit, touring seaside towns in the company of ventriloquists, sword-swallowers and dancing girls. Changing times mean that variety is not what it once was, yet Max is reluctant to leave this world to help Edgar investigate. But when the dead girl turns out to be known to him, Max changes his mind.

Another death, another magic trick: Edgar and Max become convinced that the answer to the murders lies in their army days. When Edgar receives a letter warning of another ‘trick’, the Wolf Trap, he knows that they are all in the killer’s sights…

Smoke and Mirrors (#2)

Brighton, 1951. Pantomime season takes a dark turn when two missing children are found dead under the snow, surrounded by sweets – a macabre, real-life Hansel and Gretel.

DI Edgar Stephens has plenty of leads to investigate. The missing girl, Annie, used to write plays and perform them with her friends. Does the clue lie in Annie’s unfinished – and rather disturbing – last script? Or might it lie with the eccentric actor types who have assembled for the pantomime?

Once again Edgar enlists magician and ex-wartime comrade Max Mephisto’s help in penetrating the shadowy theatrical world that seems to hold the key. But is this all just classic misdirection?

The Blood Card (#3)

On the eve of the Queen’s coronation, DI Stephens and Max Mephisto uncover an anarchist plot and a ticking bomb – from the author of The Stranger Diaries and the Dr Ruth Galloway mysteries.

Elizabeth II’s coronation is looming, but the murder of their wartime commander, Colonel Cartwright, spoils the happy mood for DI Edgar Stephens and magician Max Mephisto. A playbill featuring another deceased comrade is found in Colonel Cartwright’s possession, and a playing card, the ace of hearts: the blood card. The wartime connection and the suggestion of magic are for Stephens and Mephisto to be summoned to the case.

Edgar’s ongoing investigation into the death of Brighton fortune-teller Madame Zabini is put on hold. Max is busy rehearsing for a spectacular Coronation Day variety show – and his television debut – so it’s Edgar who is sent to New York, a land of plenty worlds away from still-rationed England. He’s on the trail of a small-town mesmerist who may provide the key, but someone silences him first. It’s Edgar’s colleague, DS Emma Holmes, who finds the clue, buried in the files of the Zabini case, that leads them to an anarchist group intent on providing an explosive finale to Coronation Day.

Now it’s up to Edgar, Max and Emma to foil the plot, and find out who it is who’s been dealing the cards . . .

The Vanishing Box (#4)

What do a murdered Brighton flower seller, the death of Cleopatra and a nude tableau show have in common? Read the most dangerous case yet for Stephens and Mephisto to find out.

Christmas 1953. Max Mephisto and his daughter Ruby are headlining Brighton Hippodrome, an achievement only slightly marred by the less-than-savoury support act: a tableau show of naked ‘living statues’. This might appear to have nothing in common with DI Edgar Stephens’ current case of the death of a quiet flowerseller, but if there’s one thing the old comrades have learned it’s that, in Brighton, the line between art and life – and death – is all too easily blurred…

Now You See Them (#5)

Three young women have gone missing.

A girl called Rhonda has vanished from her boarding school. Maybe she ran away, but there are disturbing similarities to the disappearance of two other young women – those too thought not to be suspicious.

But where are they?

Detective Edgar Stephens is under pressure to solve Rhonda’s disappearance, but it is his wife Emma, herself a former detective now frustrated at being just a housewife, who concludes there might be a connection between the three cases.

Then the danger comes nearer home.

Edgar’s friend, magician Max Mephisto, is reinventing himself as a movie star and trying not to envy his daughter Ruby’s television fame. Little do either of them know how close they are to being drawn into the deadly web of abduction and murder about to trap them all.

The Midnight Hour (#6)

An old man lies dead and it looks like poison, but his wife isn’t the only one who had reason to kill him.

Brighton, 1965

When theatrical impresario Bert Billington is found dead in his retirement home, no one suspects foul play. But when the postmortem reveals that he was poisoned, suspicion falls on his wife, eccentric ex-Music Hall star Verity Malone.

Frustrated by the police response to Bert’s death and determined to prove her innocence, Verity calls in private detective duo Emma Holmes and Sam Collins. This is their first real case, but as luck would have it they have a friend on the inside: Max Mephisto is filming a remake of Dracula, starring Seth Billington, Bert’s son. But when they question Max, they feel he isn’t telling them the whole story.

Emma and Sam must vie with the police to untangle the case and bring the killer to justice. They’re sure the answers must lie in Bert’s dark past and in the glamorous, occasionally deadly, days of Music Hall. But the closer they get to the truth, the more danger they find themselves in…

Standalone Novels

Bleeding Heart Yard

A propulsive new thriller set in London featuring Detective Harbinder Kaur. A murderer hides in plain sight – in the police.

DS Cassie Fitzherbert has a secret – but it’s one she’s deleted from her memory. In the 1990s when she was at school, she and her friends killed a fellow pupil. Thirty years later, Cassie is happily married and loves her job as a police officer.

One day her husband persuades her to go to a school reunion and another ex-pupil, Garfield Rice, is found dead, supposedly from a drug overdose. As Garfield was an eminent MP and the investigation is high profile, it’s headed by Cassie’s new boss, DI Harbinder Kaur. The trouble is, Cassie can’t shake the feeling that one of her old friends has killed again.

Is Cassie right, or was Garfield murdered by one of his political cronies? It’s in Cassie’s interest to skew the investigation so that it looks like the latter and she seems to be succeeding.

Until someone else is killed…

The Postscript Murders

PS: thanks for the murders.

The death of a ninety-year-old woman with a heart condition should absolutely not be suspicious. DS Harbinder Kaur certainly sees nothing to concern her in carer Natalka’s account of Peggy Smith’s death.

But when Natalka reveals that Peggy lied about her heart condition and that she had been sure someone was following her…

And that Peggy Smith had been a ‘murder consultant’ who plotted deaths for authors, and knew more about murder than anyone has any right to…

And when clearing out Peggy’s flat ends in Natalka being held at gunpoint by a masked figure…

Well then DS Harbinder Kaur thinks that maybe there is no such thing as an unsuspicious death after all.

The Stranger Diaries

A dark story has been brought to terrifying life. Can the ending be rewritten in time?

This is what the police know:
 English teacher Clare Cassidy’s friend Ella has just been murdered. Clare and Ella had recently fallen out. Found beside the body was a line from The Stranger, a story by the Gothic writer Clare teaches, and the murder scene is identical to one of the deaths in the story.

This is what Clare knows: No one else was aware of her fight with Ella. Few others have even read The Stranger. Someone has wormed their way into her life and her work. They know her darkest secrets. And they don’t mean well.

This is what the killer knows: Who will be next to die.

A Girl Called Justice Series

A Girl Called Justice (#1)

Missing maids, suspicious teachers and a snow storm to die for… For a fearless girl called Justice Jones, super-smart super-sleuth, it’s just the start of a spine-tingling first term at Highbury House Boarding School for the Daughters of Gentlefolk. For fans of Robin Stevens, Katherine Woodfine and Enid Blyton.

When Justice’s mother dies, her father packs her off to Highbury House Boarding School for the Daughters of Gentlefolk. He’s a barrister – specialising in murder trials – and he’s just too busy to look after her alone.

Having previously been home-schooled, the transition is a shock. Can it really be the case that blondes rule the corridors? Are all uniforms such a charming shade of brown? And do schools normally hide dangerous secrets about the murder of a chamber maid?

Justice takes it upon herself to uncover the truth. (Mainly about the murder, but perhaps she can figure out her new nemesis – the angelic Rose – at the same time.) But when a storm cuts the school off from the real world, the body count starts to rise and Justice realises she’ll need help from her new friends if she’s going to find the killer before it’s too late …

The Smugglers Secret (#2)

When Justice returns for spring term at Highbury House, it’s not long before murder is back on her mind. Assigned to look after the elderly Mr Arthur in Smugglers’ Lodge on the other side of the marshes from school, Justice is initially dismayed. But dismay quickly gives way to intrigue as she finds herself drawn to Mr Arthur and his stories of piloting in the First World War – and especially when Dorothy, who lives nearby, tells her that the lodge is haunted.

But when Mr Arthur dies in mysterious circumstances, Justice soon has a list of questions in her journal: why hasn’t he been given a proper military funeral? Why does the new Matron not seem to know much about First Aid? And what secrets does Smugglers’ Lodge really hold?

The Ghost in the Garden (#3)

Justice and her friends are third years now and there’s an intriguing new girl in Barnowls. Letitia has never been to school before and doesn’t care for the rules – and the teachers don’t seem to mind! She decides that Justice is her particular friend, much to Stella and Dorothy’s distress. But Letitia just isn’t the kind of girl you say no to.

Then, after a midnight feast in the barn, and a terrifying ghost-sighting in the garden, a girl disappears. Soon ransom notes appear, and they’re torn from the pages of a crime novel.

Where is the schoolgirl and who has taken her? It will take all of Justice’s sleuthing to unravel this mystery!

The Spy at the Window (#4)

It’s 1939 and war has broken out. Everything has changed at Highbury House school. The pupils have to help cook, clean and wash up, for a start! Then a boys’ school is evacuated to Highbury House, and the girls have to share the building. Justice and her friends are delighted that there are still mysteries to solve, however. Like: why can they hear voices coming from an empty room? And how can there be a face at the window two storeys up?

Then Justice faces her biggest challenge yet. Could there be a spy in their midst?

Writing as Domenica de Rosa

The Secret of Villa Serena

A heartfelt, witty story of one woman’s journey from heartbreak to adventure, full of gorgeous Italian flavour.

Emily Robertson looks like the woman who has it all: the lovingly restored Tuscan farmhouse, the three beautiful children, the successful, attentive husband. But when her husband dumps her by text message, she has to face up to some stark home truths. How will Emily cope, stranded in the countryside with no man, no money, dodgy phrasebook Italian and a psychotic cleaner? Her eldest girl is out of her depth with the local seducer, her middle daughter is dangerously underweight, and her darling baby is fast becoming a brat. But soon Emily finds herself being drawn into the village of Monte Albano, and discovering a more genuine Italy, darker and more intriguing than she had ever imagined.  She and her children are outsiders no more – and if she can get over a slightly embarrasing obsession with her youthful first love, an attractive stranger might be about to show her the time of her life…

One Summer in Tuscany

Patricia Wilson’s carefully composed ads for the writers’ retreat she runs at her thirteenth-century Italian castle promise so much. But while the splendour of their surroundings and chef Aldo’s melanzane never fail to wow the guests, huge maintenance bills and bad news from the bank threaten to close Patricia down. It’s make or break time for the Castello.

Each of her seven aspiring authors arrives with the inevitable baggage alongside their unpublished manuscripts. But this August something is different, and soon lifelong spinster Mary is riding on the back of Aldo’s vespa, and smouldering odd-job man Fabio has set more than one heart racing.

As temperatures rise, the writers gossip, flirt and gently polish their prose by the pool. But with ghosts, scorpions, and some unexpected visitors to contend with, one thing’s for sure: neither the Castello, nor Patricia, has ever seen a summer like this.

The Eternal City

Gaby, the youngest of the de Angelis sisters, always secretly knew she was her father Enzo’s favourite; so when Enzo dies on the day her own daughter is born, her life is turned upside down.

In the emotional aftermath of the funeral, it emerges that her father has asked that his ashes be taken back his native city, Rome. Suddenly, Gaby and her new family are thrown headfirst into the wider de Angelis clan, and all of their conflicting ideas and opinions.

As the family journeys to Rome to say a final goodbye to Enzo, emotions run high; but none higher than Gaby’s, as she comes face to face with the man she once thought she would marry, and is forced to question everything of which, until now, she was so sure.

Return to the Italian Quarter

Sophie is only a quarter Italian. But that quarter is her charismatic grandfather Cesare, and he has instilled in her a great love of her Italian heritage. So when a journalist starts to investigate Cesare’s war record, Sophie reluctantly questions just how proud she should really be. She embarks upon a journey into the past which takes her from nineteenth-century Naples to London’s Italian quarter and one of the war’s forgotten tragedies. And along the way she also learns something very important about herself…

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