Covering it

It’s so nearly got to the time I can be thinking about a publication date for my next book, Earthquake, that it is about now that I should begin to seriously think about a cover for it… I don’t want to give too much away, except to say that although an earthquake does feature in my new Thomas Radwinter novel, it is as much about a metaphorical earthquake as a real one.

I did once experience an earthquake – a very minor one; I was teaching in Oldham, head of department and I had a student teacher. He was a very nice lad but really he was not that good – I can’t remember why now. I took him to my office to review his lessons and he was sitting rather dispiritedly as I – as gently as I could, went through what had gone wrong. Suddenly there was a most curious sensation, as if I was on a giant jelly and being wobbled. It was an earthquake!! Good grief! as Thomas Radwinter would say.

So trying to think of an image for the cover of my book, I’m wondering about fallen masonry, tumbled bricks and blocks, maybe in a faded sort of colour, with perhaps another picture on top. This other picture would have a relevance once the book has been read – I hope.

Even when I have the images I have to think of the font, and then whether to add anything else apart from title and author…

I’ll keep you up to date!

Meanwhile, if you haven’t read any of my Thomas Radwinter novels, or any of my other e-books, here is a link:


A haunted hotel?

In my next Radwinter novel, Earthquake, which I am just editing now, there are several threads of storyline… and one is about a hotel which is supposedly haunted… My main character, Thomas is asked to investigate.

This is what some of the guests have reported:

Thomas writes “I’d made a little list with the salient points… salient… not sure I’ve ever used that before…

  • My wife and I were reading in bed when she said to me in a whisper that the mirror on the dressing table was shaking… we both saw this, and there was no reason for it to be moving because we were the only people in this part of the hotel… it disturbed my wife a great deal and we had to sleep with the light on, but had a very poor night… we didn’t feel the management dealt with this very satisfactorily
  • My boyfriend and I could hardly sleep after we were woken in the night with a lot of noise from the next room in the end my boyfriend went and knocked on the door, and then he went downstairs, but they said no-one was in that room we kept hearing noises though and the next day asked for another room
  • The wardrobe door kept opening by itself, no matter how many times I shut it and there was a knocking in the night
  • I saw an actual ghost standing by my bed staring at me… I screamed so loud the man from the next room came and checked if I was alright. I kept my light on all night and checked out early the next day
  • We are convinced our room was haunted. The wardrobe door kept opening on its own, and when I shut it and stood waiting it was quite secure until I got back in bed.
  • my son woke me up and said there was a woman in his room he said she sat on his bed and watched him
  • There was a ghostly old man with grey hair and a light coloured jacket on
  • I turned out the light and got in bed, no reason to feel any alarm. Then suddenly the speaker button on the room phone turned on and a dial tone filled the room. I immediately felt afraid and turned on the light. I turned the phone off and turned the lights off and it happened again. I prayed out loud for God’s help and then it was alright.
  • I was on my own in a twin room and In the middle of the night, I heard someone in the other bed. I looked over and saw the shadow of a head on the pillow.
  • I was in a double bed and I heard something; I put my hand out on the other pillow and it was as cold as ice. I manged to get to sleep but then I heard footsteps in the bathroom.

If you haven’t read any of Thomas’s other adventures or my other novels, here is a link:

Exciting news! I’m nearly there!

It has been a long struggle… a much longer struggle than I expected, but I am delighted to share the news, that apart from a summing up sort of chapter when everything is explained – at a tea party in a Tudorbethan house, the first draft of my next novel Earthquake is finished! Yay! Hurrah!

I first wrote about the Radwinter family in 2013, published as an e-book for Kindle in February 2014; I had intended it as a stand alone novel about a family of four brothers. All my other books are without sequels, and I had no intention of writing one for any of my stories… however the Radwinter tales turned out somewhat differently.

The first novel, the eponymous ‘Radwinter’ followed a genealogical investigation into the paternal line of the Radwinter family and having come to a satisfactory conclusion with the main character tracing their roots back to the beginning of the nineteenth century in what is now the Ukraine, I thought that was the end of that…

Except there was a maternal line… and so it seemed necessary to have follow-up to the story, but this time an exploration of their maternal line, the Magicks. The main character Thomas, was asked by a friend to help find her missing daughter… he had some success in his mission – he found all about the history of the Magick family, and helped his friend too… ‘Magick’ was published in the autumn of 2014 so surely that was it now…

Well it would have been… except Thomas had found all about the distant family, the Radwinters in eastern Europe, the Magicks in Cornwall and Australia but there was a bit of a puzzle about the more recent generations… his friend’s missing daughter had still not been found, other people needed his help to solve odd little non-criminal mysteries… and so ‘Raddy and Syl’ got written and published in spring 2015.

The final part of the Radwinter story, Beyond Hope completed what had been discovered about Raddy and Syl – Edward and Sylvia and that came out in January last year. The final story…

I did a lot of writing last year and completed and published other things, but the Radwinters were still very active… and the next (I daren’t say final) story of their lives has taken up my time for the last few months. I have been very busy with all sorts of other things, including being away in Tasmania and Australia for over six weeks, but now, tonight, I can finally say… the first draft is done! Yes, there is the summing up chapter and the tea party, but I have to go through the rest of the story before I write that. If I am honest, then I think publication day will be in April… possibly before… watch this space!

I hope to have some other exciting news about my books soon too… just looking at the details of a new venture!

If you have missed my Radwinter stories, or any of my others, here is a link:

… oh and now I have to think about a cover…

A little excerpt

Here is a little excerpt from my next Radwinter novel, ‘Earthquake’… the main character, Thomas, is working at home when he gets a phone call:

I was concentrating completely on the ins and outs of some legal papers for a client and didn’t register my phone was ringing. I answered it rather more loudly than I meant to and there was silence then the sound of laboured breathing…
Good grief, don’t say I’ve got a heavy-breather… Hello? I said rather firmly and sternly ready to finish the call and block the number.
“Good morning… is that Mr. Radwinter….” And the voice, man or woman I couldn’t tell, faded away, then started again. “My name is Shsh Shshsher…”
“I’m sorry, you are?”
“Shsh Shshsher… A friend at the golf club suggested you might be able to help me…”
When I was working as a proper solicitor in a practice in Strand, I had a dear old gentleman who always asked for me to assist in his matters and business, usually changing his will which was a bit of a hobby of his. When our firm amalgamated with another and moved their head office to Castair,  I was effectively given the sack; however my kindly old gentleman insisted that I continue to handle his affairs and more than that, recommended me to a lot of his friends at the golf club. The golf club gang, as I call them, are my best clients, and are nearly all nice people and also quite wealthy.
As well as the usual conveyancing, enduring powers of attorney, wills and even a couple of divorces, they have asked me to help them on several intriguing ‘investigations’, for example a missing woman, a mysterious Moroccan and a sinister Tibetan Lama.
“I will try my best Mr. Shshsher…” I couldn’t ask him again for his name, having tried to work it out three times. “Perhaps we could arrange a time where we could meet, or maybe I could call on you… what sort of business do you wish to conduct?”
There was another yawning pause before Mr. Shshsher replied that he would have to discuss that with me… he wasn’t sure I could help, he wasn’t sure anyone could help, but his friends had recommended me highly… He gave me his address, a place I didn’t know over on the other side of Strand, and we agreed I should call the next day at eleven.

The house was quite gloomy with dark red bricks and dark wooden beams; there was a great big chimney on the tiled roof, almost out of proportion with the size of the house and I remembered reading about Tudorbethan when I was looking up about this area. Something to do with the Arts and Crafts Movement… and as I was thinking this I pulled on the bell which was like a metal rod thing and there was a clang inside. The door was large and studded with nails and had black iron hinges…
It was actually a bit creepy; the bay windows were heavily netted and there seemed to be no lights on to illuminate the dimness… what was I letting myself in for? I expected the door to open with a creak and a wrinkled retainer to be standing there… well, the old chap was certainly wrinkly but I guess he was Mr. Shshsher, because he said ‘Ah, Mr. Radwinter do come mumblemumblemumble…”
We shook hands and I was relieved his skin was normal and not cold and slimy as I’d somehow feared… honestly… I shouldn’t think so much, really I shouldn’t…
He led the way through with a shuffling gate into the back part of the house. The old place was very dusty and a bit untidy, but not in a desperate way; I was led into a study which had French windows leading into the garden. It was a room full of light and it looked like something out of a film set for a mad professor; there were piles of books and papers everywhere and the walls were lined with bookcases containing more books and the occasional odd object. A stuffed owl stared at me.
“I seem to be in a bit of a muddle here, Mr. Radwinter, I’m afraid murmurmurmurmurmur…”
He was a nice old chap and now we were in a room which was a bit brighter I could see him better. He had long white hair flowing down over his collar which looked as if it was velvet. The jacket itself was buttoned up the front and looked really, really old-fashioned. He looked like someone dressed for a part in the latest TV adaptation of a Dickens’ novel.
He found a chair for me to sit on which seemed a little wobbly, I’d have to keep still, I didn’t want to break what appeared to be an antique piece of furniture.  He sat behind the desk and told me he no longer played golf, his legs had given up, but he often went to the club for lunch, and several of his acquaintances had mentioned me when he had told them about his muttermuttermutter… he was looking in a drawer of the desk, and his voice disappeared into it.
I was going to have to invent a hearing problem if he didn’t speak a little more clearly!
He eventually drew out an old box file very battered and worn. He put it on the desk and then began to look through, all the time giving a sort of burbled conversation which I wasn’t sure was addressed to me so I just gave a hmm-hmm sort of noise every so often.
He pulled out a small scrapbook which he passed to me, opened at a page; I thought at first it was a contact sheet of pictures like we used to get at school when the photographer came in and took pictures of us in our uniform.
Mr. Mumble had passed me this book and there were twelve separate pictures of girls in a school uniform. None of the girls was smiling, although some had a sort of happy expression, or at least a pleasant expression, others of them were totally impassive, one looked slightly cross and a couple looked rather sad…  They all looked the same age, probably about fourteen or fifteen, and they all looked very similar… they were all Chinese or Japanese or Korean… I couldn’t tell, and they all had short black hair with a fringe.
“Who are these girls, sir?”
I didn’t like to turn the page to see what was next in the book and I was definitely a little mystified by it all.
“One of them is my mother, can you guess which?”
Crikey! What a question!

If you haven’t yet read any of my four Radwinter novels, or my other books, here is a link:

So near the end!

It seems a long time since I began writing my latest Radwinter story, which I’m pretty sure is going to be called ‘Earthquake’. I started writing it last year while I was working on editing the last book I published which was ‘Lucky Portbraddon’. I had finished LP as I called it, about ten years ago, but had never got around to properly editing it – I was still working, my children were still at school, and life was very busy. Once I stopped working and could concentrate on writing full-time, I began to work through what you might call my back catalogue – completed novels which needed re-editing and tidying up so I could publish them as e-books on Kindle.

All was going very well until one autumn, I decided to accept the write-a-novel-in-a-month challenge – the National Novel Writing Month, NaNoWriMo; the idea is to start a new novel and write 50,000 words of it in the month of November. I started and wrote the first 70,000 words of a completely new book, Radwinter. I completed and published it, and my first ever sequel began to formulate in my mind, and that is what I moved onto next… to my utter surprise, four books have now been written in the series!

Although I had more Radwinter ideas, I decided I really ought to get ‘Lucky Portbraddon’ off my virtual bookshelf, so I began work on it; it was a monster book, nearly 300,000 words – far, far to long even though it was a complex story. Editing is actually quite tedious, so I began the fifth Radwinter book as a little light relief. LP, much much abreviated and much better for it I hope, was published last autumn and now I am so nearly finishing Earthquake… the first draft… then will come a period of editing, checking, rewriting.

Earthquake is a genealogical mystery, but as well as investigating the past, Thomas Radwinter, my main character also accepts present day mysteries to unravel. This time he is trying to find out who killed a little girl in 1931 – he has twelve suspects, the child’s classmates! he is also trying to explain who or what is responsible for the supposed haunting of his ex-wife’s hotel, as well as having to deal with an unexpected addition to his family. I just have one plot line to finish unravelling, and a few unexpected twists, and then it will be to work getting it ready to publish!

Here is a link to the first Radwinter book:

Thomas Radwinter goes in search of his family roots; using the internet he traces his family back to war-torn eastern Europe, and follows their journey from arriving in England in the 1830’s, across southern England. However, the more he finds out about his family’s past, the more he sees his own family, his brothers and his wife differently. His relationship with them changes… and he begins to understand his own character, and to find out as much about his present life as his family’s history.

… and its sequel:

Encouraged by his success in discovering his Radwinter ancestors, Thomas Radwinter sets out to investigate his maternal line, starting with the mysterious and alcoholic Sylvia. His life has been somewhat dysfunctional, but now, gaining confidence through his new loving relationship with a beautiful young woman and her son, he is able to confront his own past.
His genealogical searches take him into the tragic histories of his family and other ordinary people who lived and worked under the appalling conditions of the Victorian age. His skills in finding people from the past encourage a friend to beg him to try and trace her long-lost daughter, a woman, who, it seems does not want to be found. He accepts her request, little realising this will lead him into danger.  Then the father of his partner’s son arrives; he’s come for his boy…

… book 3:

Thomas Radwinter continues his journey into his ancestor’s history; he has followed his paternal line of the Radwinters, “and what an interesting journey that was. I mean journey for me in a non-literal way, but it was an interesting journey for the Radwinters, literally”.
He traced his maternal ancestry, the Magicks, “I followed that side of our family… and it led me to some very dark places I can tell you”. Now he has to find the history of those closest to him, “in my Radwinter story I found some amazing truths about myself. My childhood was difficult to say the least, and when I started to follow the Magick story, I had to begin to face my past, and confront some of my fears and nightmares. To finish my story I have to look at Sylvia Magick and her husband Edward Radwinter, the people who brought me up… sort of… I think of them now as Syl and Raddy, because it’s easier and less painful.” During his search Thomas also seeks a woman who vanished seemingly into thin air from a car stopped at a road junction, and he tries to solve the mystery of Badruddin, the Moroccan an elderly female client brought back from a cruise…  Thomas little thinks that he may be risking his life to find these different truths.

… and book 4:

Beyond Hope is the fourth in the series of books following the life and genealogical investigations of Thomas Radwinter; in previous stories he has followed family’s history back several centuries and also found some uncomfortable and very painful truths in more recent times. In ‘Beyond Hope’, Thomas decides to share with his three brothers what he has learned about their mother and father… but telling the truth can be damaging, the truth can hurt, and as Thomas later reflects, “I know at first hand, a very, very painful first hand, how old secrets have the power to wound and how sometimes those dogs snoozing away should be left doing exactly that, sleeping dogs should sometimes just be let lie.” His revelations cause the close family ties to be tested which doesn’t help Thomas as he struggles with the other commissions he is being paid to undertake; he has been asked by a very elderly lady to find out who leaves lilies on a grave she visits, he has undertaken to investigate a mysterious lama who has a dangerous power over a hard-working teacher and devoted father, and he continues his search for the daughter of a friend who has become involved with a very dangerous man… And all the while his own little family has to face difficult decisions. The fall-out between Thomas and his brothers may only be healed if he can find out what happened to their father who disappeared thirty years ago.

… and Lucky Portbraddon:

“Lucky Portbraddon… a rather rascally ancestor of my late husband, or so family legend has it, was a favourite friend of the Prince Regent, apparently, but Lucky made, not lost, his fortune…”
A few days before Christmas, as the Portbraddon family gathers at their grandmother’s big house up on the moors, the last of the cousins drives through a blizzard to join them:
…There was a severed dog’s head stuck on the gatepost. There’d been a few seconds pause in the driving snow and in those few seconds, lit by their headlights, she glimpsed the wolf-like creature, maw gaping, tongue lolling, teeth bared in one final gory snarl. Then the blizzard obliterated the stone beast and everything else in a seething maelstrom…  A near-death experience does not seem an auspicious start to their family get together, but the cousins determine to celebrate as they always do.  However as the old year ends and the new begins it seems their good fortune is about to run out. An unexpected death, a descent into madness, betrayal… and as the year progresses other things befall them, a stalker, attempted murder, a patently dodgy scheme for selling holiday homes in a dangerous part of the Caucasus… Maybe the Portbraddons are not so lucky… except there is also love, a new home, reconciliation, a spiritual journey, music… One thing remains true, whatever difficulties arise between them, whatever happens, family is family, family first… “They’re like a big bunch of musketeers, all for one and one for all!”

Radwinter… 1-4, book 4

Over the last two weeks I have been sharing excerpts from my novels about Thomas Radwinter; he starts by tracing his own family history, and then later investigates other people’s stories, and not just genealogical ones, but mysteries in their everyday lives.

Each of the four novels starts with an introduction from Thomas which is amended in each novel as his personal life changes.

His story started in the autumn of 2013 but two years later his world had changed completely, for the better. However, in his search for his family roots Thomas has discovered some uncomfortable truths, and now wants to share them with his brothers:

Beyond Hope

Actually it was a bad idea… I decided I really ought to tell my brothers about what happened to Raddy and Sylvia… They had a right to know, and it was a burden on me to have that knowledge alone… also Kylie, who is never wrong, kept nagging me… not nagging me in a nagging way I don’t mean but… well… anyway…
I don’t think it would have happened the way it did, except Marcus sort of precipitated it… and somehow or another, I agreed to meet him on the anniversary of Sylvia’s birthday at the cemetery where her ashes are scattered.
It was the first time I’d been there since her funeral… um… seventeen years ago. I can’t really remember it, for many reasons. I guess the main one is that she was a spectacularly useless mother, a drunk, and one by one, us four boys left her – I was rescued by Marcus when I was in my teens and lived with him until I married for the first time.
I don’t remember John or Paul at her funeral, but I guess they must have been there… anyway, I’d agreed to meet Marcus at the cemetery, ‘…and you can tell me the story about her and Dad, the true story… it will be rather fitting, don’t you think?’ he said.
Fitting… maybe not, but I agreed, reverting in a way to how I was BK, Before Kylie, when I was childish and submissive…

I shouldn’t have been surprised, but Paul and John were there too. None of us knew there was a particular spot where her ashes had been put, but Marcus led us to it, a small plaque with her name on beneath an azalea full of blooms despite the vile weather. He was quite snappy with Paul that he’d never been here.
We hadn’t said anything very much apart from greetings and bro-hugs, but I thought how serious we all looked, not at all like our usual selves.
I don’t mean we’re always grinning like Cheshire cats or laughing our heads off, but Marcus these days always looks calmly benign, Paul looks positively smug, and John has a gentle, contented expression, reflecting his new found happiness. Like me he has recently married, his lovely Polish wife is Justyna, and he has a baby daughter, Julia.
Today, Marcus looked distant and severe as I remember him from my childhood, Paul looked grim and ready for anything, as if flexing his muscles under his black leather jacket, and John looked distracted and almost gloomy.
I guess it’s the memories of our different childhoods with Sylvia Mae Radwinter, née Magick… And today I have the horrible task of telling my boys the truth about her, the dreadful truth… It’s been a great burden, shared only with Kylie, and she reckons telling them will lift it from my mental shoulders… I deviate and try and be amused by ‘mental shoulders’.
“Thomas, I know you have something to tell us about Mum and Dad,” Marcus looked like a disapproving headmaster.
“I do,” I replied somewhat more forcefully than I meant to. I was nervous, I guess, and felt awkward holding an umbrella. Marcus had one too, Paul had a beany hat which must be soaked by now, and John had a hoody, darkened by the downpour. It would have been better to be indoors somewhere, sitting round a table with a cup of coffee or a pint of beer. “And I have to say that I’m not sure I should tell you… some things are better unsaid, unknown…”
Paul made a little impatient noise, John was staring at the ground and Marcus was looking at me with his icy blue eyes.
I took a deep breath and told them a story, a story of a young woman with a brutal husband who had three children, and then a beautiful daughter by another man. The other man was a distant cousin, and they had loved each other as long as they’d known each other.
The husband, a monster, not only abused his wife, but, I believed, abused the little girl… I don’t think he knew that another man was her father, I think he was just a vile rapist…
My brothers were staring at me now, staring as if they didn’t know me, had never seen me before… They had never seen me like this; this was my lawyer persona… cool, cold almost…
That little girl was Sylvia, Sylvia Mae…
“You can’t know that Thomas… it would have been before the war… eighty years ago…” Marcus protested. He had adored Sylvia as the three of us hadn’t… and he had always been her favourite. “You have no way of knowing that,” Marcus was icily disapproving and suddenly very, very angry. In the past I would have made a blustering, embarrassed and ashamed apology and immediately backed down.
“I do know it, Marcus, and I have evidence to support it.”
Paul glanced at me and moved his shoulders slightly, encouraging me to continue. John was staring fixedly at the rose bush, but I felt that his thoughts were elsewhere, and wherever they were it was not a happy place.
I didn’t rush to answer Marcus, how I have changed!
“On a December evening in 1956,” I began at last, “Sylvia was alone at the lodgings where she lived in Castair. She had somehow managed to leave home, leave the man who had abused her. I think the person who saved and liberated her was Raddy, your father Edward. He was an amazing young man and we should be very proud of him.”
Paul made a little noise, a little emotional coughing sound.
“Earlier that year Sylvia had been attacked in the street and when Raddy went to her defences he ended up with the head wound which left that scar across his forehead… he nearly died, and the brain damage he suffered affected his life… the headaches, the hangovers that weren’t hangovers…”
“No… God, no!” Paul exclaimed. He snatched the sodden beanie hat from his head and rubbed his hand over his short spiky silver hair. “No… Poor Dad…”
I continued; one evening the vile man who had brought Sylvia up went to her lodgings and forced his way in… I didn’t know exactly what happened but there was an incident… he was hit over the head with an iron umbrella stand and killed.
Fucking hell, Paul murmured, John was staring at me now, his blue Radwinter eyes like icy sapphires. Marcus was pale and his eyes were burning into me. I had a mental gulp but straightened my mental shoulders and continued.
Sylvia had run to her mother, Grace who had called Raddy. Leaving Sylvia safe, Grace and Raddy had gone back to the lodging house and arranged the body so it looked as if he had drunkenly fallen downstairs… the inquest’s verdict was exactly that.
Sylvia’s true father had taken her mother away to the Isle of Wight, the four of them agreeing to stay apart…
I looked at Marcus; he’d told me several months ago that he’d overheard a conversation between Sylvia and her mother brokenheartedly agreeing that they should keep away from each other… Marcus was only a child at the time but had been very disturbed by it…
Now he looked as if he’d seen a ghost….
“You mean mum killed her own father?” John spoke for the first time, staring at the azalea again.
“Yes, I do mean that.”
Apart for the sound of the rain pattering on the umbrellas and leaves of the plants, there was silence.
“I don’t believe it,” Marcus said at last.
“I do,” said Paul, and seemed to mean something else. He’d told me he hated her, he’d told me she used to hit John… not smack, not slap, but hit he’d said.
I looked at John now and he was staring at me. Suddenly he turned away and stood with his back to us.
“Fuck!” exclaimed Paul, too loudly for this place. I think Marcus would have reprimanded him except he looked in shock.
I suddenly felt really, really angry… I don’t know why… or maybe I did deep down…

If you would like to find out what happens to Thomas, here is a link to my book:

… and here is a link to my other e-books:


My next Radwinter novel which should be published in late spring early summer 2017, is called ‘Earthquake’; it won’t spoil anything to tell you that the main character Thomas Radwinter has been commissioned to find out about the deaths of two young girls, Marjory and Florence, in 1931 – yes, almost ninety years ago. Thomas has a diary written by Cynthia, a friend of the girls and has come across a reference to earthquakes which seems to have some relevance to the deaths. Thomas begins to investigate earthquakes in 1931:

Oh well… back to Marjorie and Florence, they’re not going anywhere… we were thirteen in the summer the earthquake came and we were eleven  What on earth did it mean?

The earthquake must have been metaphorical, the deaths of two girls, little Marjorie, and Florence… Florence Baxter was fourteen when she died, in the ghastly accident with the window. I had a shiver of memory… I had remembered this when I was researching my family history – John and I had been locked in a room by Sylvia, it was really hot and there were flies in the room which I didn’t like. John tried to open the window, one of those sash windows like the one which had killed Florence and it had fallen on his hand. I had screamed and screamed Mummy! Mummy! Mummy!’ but of course she didn’t come. John cried silently but didn’t say a word, I tried to comfort him… he would have been about eleven, I would have been about four…

I don’t believe in God, but thank God our children will never suffer as we did…

So… the earthquake… two deaths of their friends, that must have been pretty much like an earthquake in the lives of these children. So 1931… what else happened in 1931?

I looked through the events Wikipedia outlined for 1931…

  • in January, I was informed, the National Committee for Modification of the Volstead Act is formed to work for the repeal of prohibition in the United States… prohibition… that was when alcohol was illegal. I know it’s still illegal for people under twenty-one to drink or even go into a bar that serves alcohol, my brother Pauls’ sons had a problem when they went over to visit their mother; I remember Django aged eighteen complaining that American kids can buy guns but they can’t buy a beer! Oh well, I guess each country is different…
  • Ernest Lawrence invented the cyclotron, Albert Einstein worked with Edwin Hubble – he of the Hubble telescope I guess. Did he invent it? I have a vague memory that it was named after him and I wander off to look it up, and yes, the Hubble telescope is named after him… he died in 1953…
  • In 1931 Elly Beinhorn began her flight to Africa. I have no idea who she is, but she crashed on the way home and was rescued by Tuareg tribesmen
  • Gandhi
  • Charlie Chaplin
  • Earthquake! There’s an earthquake in February in Hawkes Bay, New Zealand!

The earthquake destroyed Napier and Hastings and killing 256 people… Were any of the thirteen girls orphaned by the earthquake? Can I find out who died?

  • Joseph Stalin
  • New Delhi
  • the first Dracula film is released!
  • Oswald Mosley… he was a fascist, wasn’t he? He founded the New Party but was that when he became anti-Semitic, was he racist against other people, against Chinese people? I have no idea…
  • Good grief on March 3rd The Star-Spangled Banner is adopted as the United States’ National anthem…
  • Oh good old Mr. Spock – Leonard Nimoyis born in 1931! Is he still alive?
  • Arnold Bennett– not sure I’ve ever heard of him, he was a writer apparently and he died of typhoid after  drinking local water in Paris to prove it was safe… well, silly him…
  • Another earthquake!

 In Nicaragua, this time, tragically it kills two thousand people… Was Nicaragua part of the British Empire, were any of the girls parents there? There certainly seems a lot of earthquake activity going on in 1931… but maybe it goes on all the time and isn’t mentioned much on the news…

  • Severino Digiovanni was executed in Argentina for being an anarchist… never heard of him but what a name…
  • Porsche is founded… I’ve heard of Porsche, obviously…
  • And another earthquake in the Dogger Bank but no-one injured…
  • Empire State Building…
  • The magnificently named Wiley Post and Harold Gatty become the first people to  complete a round the world flight in a single-engine plane… at least they didn’t crash and have to be rescued by Tuareg…
  • And in November the Panama Canal was closed for a couple of weeks because it was damaged by earthquakes
  • Haile Selassie…
  • And on August 10th a massive earthquake Xinjiang province… 10,000 die… good grief
  • And also in China, the Yangtze River floods and 4,000,000, that’s four million people drown…

Did the girls somehow find out that their real families had died in the earthquake or had drowned… or were safe? Oh goodness… maybe as many as four million Chinese people died…

1931 was a real year for earthquakes, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Panama Canal, and China… but has this anything to do with the comment Cynthia makes? I must find out more about earthquakes, but of course this might be a complete and utter red herring…

If you want to read my other Radwinter books, genealogical and family mysteries, here are the links:

Book 1: Radwinter –


Book 2: Magick –

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Book 3: Raddy and Syl –

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Book 4: Earthquake –

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