My 2017: November

November for me over the past five years has meant one thing… the National Novel Writing Month challenge – 50,000 words to be written during the month of November. I chronicled this pretty fully as I was writing, sharing my story, my anxiety about getting behind, my thoughts that this year I might fail, the growing sense that maybe I could push on and do it and then hurrah! 50,053 words!!

So how did that compare to previous years:

  • 2013: ‘Radwinter’  genealogical mystery. 73026 words
  • 2014: ‘Raddy and Syl’ – genealogical mystery: Thomas has traced his paternal ancestors to 1830’s war-torn Europe; he has followed his maternal line and found murder and betrayal. Now he needs to look closer to home, to discover the truth about the people who brought him up, Edward and Sylvia Radwinter, Raddy and Syl, in order to find out who he really is. 50,092 words
  • 2015: ‘Earthquake’  – genealogical mystery:  stalker stalked… maybe… 53030 words
  • 2016: ‘And the river’ – memoir: This is a meander, not sure where it is going or what will be seen, from it or in it… This began as a story of my life and that of my family, told through the rivers I have been connected with… as with real rivers, it went its own way and covered a lot of ground… and it hasn’t yet reached its end! 51282 words

And this is what I wrote on day 1 this year:

It’s November, and for some writers the  first day of the month is greeted with a mixture of excitement, dread and a sort of paralysing creative nervousness. This is the month that many of us challenge ourselves to write fifty thousand words, yes, 50,000 words in the thirty days of November.

It sounds at the outset as impossible… 1,667 words a day? Is anyone able to do that? Yes, yes they are, and yes, yes they do.  It is an on-line challenge, there are no prizes, only the satisfaction of knowing you’ve completed it – and if you don’t manage, well at least you tried, and if you don’t manage to write a single word, well at least you thought about it and probably ran through a few ideas in your head before dismissing them all. Those ideas might come back to you one day!

The challenge is called The National Novel Writing Month – the original idea was to write the first fifty thousand words of a new novel; however because there are so many different forms of writing, and the whole point is to inspire people to write and not put them off, it has been somewhat relaxed, and now it is fifty thousand new words.

The idea is that once you start writing,. Like in a timed exam, you just don’t have the time to worry about detail, you just have to get those words on the age – so if the main character’s eyes are blue or brown, or the farm is called Greenvale or High Trees it really doesn’t matter, all those little things can be sorted later, and with the challenge completed the decision-making may have been made without you noticing.

I have taken the challenge four times, plus a ‘Camp Nano’ and I am going to try again… I don’t know if I will make it this time… but I am going to try!

I really recommend it as an exciting challenge – have a go, you might surprise yourself – I certainly surprised myself!

 

My 2017: April

April was a busy month, and an exciting month this year! First of all my novel ‘Earthquake’ was published – this is the fifth in the Radwinter series –

Thomas Radwinter’s life seems settled and content as he juggles working as a free-lance solicitor, genealogist and house husband. However a new arrival in the family puts extra pressure on him as he has to balance looking after them and earning some money. A commission from an elderly gentleman to investigate a mysterious death at a little boarding school in 1931 seems intriguing and harmless; a haunted hotel he’s asked to visit seems just to be over-imaginative guests and maybe a less than honest manager. However, during his investigations he has to confront a violent verger, an unbalanced conchologist and a very strange friend from the past… 
Thomas took on his commissions, little realising when he began his investigation that he would be putting his life and that of a friend in serious danger… “I tried to work out what was going on, and what to do, and what might happen to us – trying my hardest to keep my thoughts well away from a terminal conclusion to events… ”
http://amzn.eu/9gJuqtq

… and also it was the annual family holiday. My four cousins and their family and our family go away together for a week around Easter. We have stayed in brilliant houses across the country, Kent, Norfolk, Cumbria. Shropshire, Devon and this year we were in Ross-on Wye. There weren’t so many of us, only twenty-six, but we had such a wonderful time – as usual. We travelled around and looked at different places in the area, but I fell in love with Monmouth:

While we were away we went to Monmouth, and there is a great deli there, The Marches Delicatessen, with a very friendly and helpful young man working there – maybe he’s the owner, I’m not sure, but he was very helpful and cheery. There were so many delightful things on the shelves, I could have spent a fortune! There was a wide range of Welsh cheeses and other local produce, but because we wouldn’t be coming straight home, we were limited with what we could buy. We did buy some cheese, and we also bought some olives, and tried some seaweed gin (not me, I like seaweed, I don’t like gin).

I was intrigued by an attractive collection of dried seaweed in little bottles, like you would have dried herbs. There were five different weeds, wrack, gutweed, laver, dulse and kelp… Now I’d heard of lava and dulse as edible seaweeds, and I’d heard of wrack and kelp as marine plants, but gutweed? Curious! I didn’t buy the set, produced by The Pembrokeshire Beach Food Company… until the following day when we went back to Monmouth, and having had seaweed on my mind, I went back and treated myself!

So now we’re home and I decided to follow the gutweed…

Gutweed fish

  • white fish of your choice
  • Dove’s gluten-free flour (for coating the fish)
  • dried flaked gutweed
  • sea-salt crystals
  • lemon juice
  • milk (I guess you could use fish stock if you have some! Or maybe wine!)
  1. mix the flour, seaweed and salt – I was cooking 1 filet of fish and used 2 tsp – next time i will use a little more
  2. melt the butter in the pan, and when it is foaming, cook the fish until it is done
  3. remove from pan and keep warm
  4. add the left over flour/salt/seaweed to the pan – and more butter if you need
  5. stir until it makes a roux – because it is not ordinary flour it does go a little lumpy, but you can soon get rid of that
  6. add the liquid – enough to make a sauce, taste and adjust the seasoning
  7. put the sauce to the side of the fish so it doesn’t lose its crunchy coating
  8. eat with bread and butter (or whatever you like!)

Here is a link to the deli:

http://www.marchesdeli.co.uk/

…and where you too can get the seaweed if you can’t get to Monmouth:

https://welshgiftshop.com/products/mermaids-larder-laver-seaweed-collection

…and the company who produce it – and a whole load of other things which you can buy on line:

http://www.beachfood.co.uk

My 2017: March

After the travels and excitement of January and February, March was a quieter month – although we did travel to Portsmouth for a college reunion which was great fun. On that weekend we took several taxis, and each driver was an interesting person with great stories to tell, a Syrian who seemed to make it rain wherever he went on holiday, an Albanian who was passionate about Charles Dickens, a bloke who had a great interest in the art and life of L.S.Lowery and another who told us about the history of Gosport. We had our usual classes (creative writing, family history writing, French, modern art, ukulele, rock band, book clubs etc) and our usual little trips out and about to different places, including National Trust properties.

From a writing point of view, March was when I finished my latest Radwinter novel, and although I didn’t publish it until April, I wrote this about the series:

I’m not sure when I first thought I might write about a family of brothers, but I know why I did. I’m forever saying about strangers in the pub, people in the street, faces on the TV, ‘gosh doesn’t s/he look just like so-and-so‘; I thought I identified a similarity in the faces of a TV baker, a famous chef, and a bloke who works in our local bookshop; mostly it was something about the eyes, and the unnerving stare (although bookshop bloke has a friendly stare) The thought of writing about them came and went until I was out with my cousin and we were driving through Essex, not far from the pretty town of Saffron Walden when we saw a sign to the village of Radwinter – and I had my name!

This was some time ago, and over several years I played about with ideas and thoughts and then in 2013 began to write what became the first book in an unexpected series, about the Radwinter family. The narrator was a new arrival, a fourth brother who looked nothing like them, When I started writing, I little knew that there would be a whole series of books, and now I’m just doing the final editing of number 5!

  1. Radwinter – 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. https://www.amazon.co.uk/RADWINTER-Lois-Elsden-ebook/dp/B00IFG1SNO/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1490867200&sr=8-2&keywords=lois+elsden
  2. Magick – 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…       https://www.amazon.co.uk/MAGICK-RADWINTER-Book-LOIS-ELSDEN-ebook/dp/B00OHV4MR0/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1490867200&sr=8-3&keywords=lois+elsden
  3. Raddy and Syl – 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.   https://www.amazon.co.uk/RADDY-SYL-RADWINTER-Book-3-ebook/dp/B00WAN0YD8/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&qid=1490867200&sr=8-6&keywords=lois+elsden
  4. Beyond Hope – 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. https://www.amazon.co.uk/Beyond-Hope-Radwinter-Book-4-ebook/dp/B01AKU9XMK/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1490867200&sr=8-4&keywords=lois+elsden
  5. Earthquake – (published April 2017) Thomas Radwinter’s life seems settled and content as he juggles working as a free-lance solicitor, genealogist and house husband. However a new arrival in the family puts extra pressure on him as he has to balance looking after them and earning some money. A commission from an elderly gentleman to investigate a mysterious death at a little boarding school in 1931 seems intriguing and harmless; a haunted hotel he’s asked to visit seems just to be over-imaginative guests and maybe a less than honest manager. However, during his investigations he has to confront a violent verger, an unbalanced conchologist and a very strange friend from the past… Thomas took on his commissions, little realising when he began his investigation that he would be putting his life and that of a friend in serious danger… “I tried to work out what was going on, and what to do, and what might happen to us – trying my hardest to keep my thoughts well away from a terminal conclusion to events… ” https://www.amazon.co.uk/EARTHQUAKE-RADWINTER-Book-LOIS-ELSDEN-ebook/dp/B06Y18H8JR/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1514650978&sr=8-3&keywords=lois+elsden

…and here is a link to my other books, Farholm, Flipside, Loving Judah, Lucky Portbraddon, Night Vision, The Double Act and The Stalking of Rosa Czekov

https://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=lois+elsdenkov:

 

Lots of words, lots and lots of words

So far I am keeping up with my aim to complete the 50,000 word challenge for the month of November. I abandoned any plans I had and started something new, and because at the moment I have literally no idea where the story is going, I am finding the only way to get it done is literally meet the target of 1667 words a day – not exactly limping along, but not flying either.

Each year I have taken the challenge the writing has happened in a different way; the first year, 2013, the words poured out of me and I wrote 20,000 beyond the challenge! In fact I wrote my words by November 19th! Other years I struggled to make the deadline, with one heroic effort of over 11,000 words on the last day!

Here are some stats on my previous four years:

 Radwinter – 2013

  • Your Average Per Day – 2,434
  • Total Words Written – 73,026

Raddy and Syl – 2014

  • Your Average Per Day – 1,669
  • Total Words Written – 50,092

Earthquake – 2015

  • Your Average Per Day – 1,767
  • Total Words Written – 53,030

And the River – 2016

  • Your Average Per Day – 1,709
  • Total Words Written – 51,28

Mille – 2017

  • Your Average Per Day – 2,057
  • Total Words Written – 10287

About the books:

  • November 2017: Milla – mainstream – A woman with no history moves to a tiny bedsit in the seaside town of Easthope
  • November 2016: And the River – mainstream – This is a meander, not sure where it is going or what will be seen, from it or in it… This began as a story of my life and that of my family, told through the rivers I have been connected with… as with real rivers, it went its own way and covered a lot of ground… and it hasn’t yet reached its end!
  • November 2015: Earthquake – mystery – a stalker stalked… maybe…
  • November 2014:  Raddy And Syl – genealogical mystery – Thomas has traced his paternal ancestors to 1830’s war-torn Europe; he has followed his maternal line and found murder and betrayal. Now he needs to look closer to home, to discover the truth about the people who brought him up, Edward and Sylvia Radwinter, Raddy and Syl, in order to find out who he really is.
  • November 2013:  Radwinter – genealogical mystery

And just some extra stats:

  • lifetime word count 237,717
  • wordiest novel Radwinter, 2013, 73,026 words
  • wordiest day 11,588 words on November 30, 2014
  • average writing pace 1,886 words per day
  • longest NaNo streak 5 years, 2013 – 2017

Three out of my previous four attempts have become books – yo can read them, and my other e-books and paperbacks here:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_2?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=lois+elsden

 

 

What a lot of words

One more day of freedom before the tyranny of the National Novel Writing Month takes over! The idea is simple, you challenge yourself to write 50,000 words in the month of November; the original idea was fifty thousand words of a new novel, but that has modified slightly – I guess because people have so many and varied writing projects, so now it is 50,000 new words!

I’d thought about doing it for a couple of years, but had jibbed, thinking it impossible. However, in 2013 I took the plunge – and to my amazement was successful! I’ve done it every year since, but I think this may be my last; I have so many projects, I don’t think I can do them and NaNo as well, but we will see.

  • 2013: ‘Radwinter’  genealogical mystery. 73026 words
  • 2014: ‘Raddy and Syl’ – genealogical mystery: Thomas has traced his paternal ancestors to 1830’s war-torn Europe; he has followed his maternal line and found murder and betrayal. Now he needs to look closer to home, to discover the truth about the people who brought him up, Edward and Sylvia Radwinter, Raddy and Syl, in order to find out who he really is. 50,092 words
  • 2015: ‘Earthquake’  – genealogical mystery:  stalker stalked… maybe… 53030 words
  • 2016: ‘And the river’ – memoir: This is a meander, not sure where it is going or what will be seen, from it or in it… This began as a story of my life and that of my family, told through the rivers I have been connected with… as with real rivers, it went its own way and covered a lot of ground… and it hasn’t yet reached its end! 51282 words

I plan to continue my story of Gus, the mysterious lonely man who wanders the salt marshes, but I also have the story of Theo, the Danish singer who ends up in my fictitious town of Easthope… I will have to wait until November 1st to see what happens!

If you want to read my genealogical mysteries, plus Magick which I worked on through Camp NaNo in 2014, here is a link:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/RADWINTER-5-Book-Series/dp/B072HTG366/ref=sr_1_7?ie=UTF8&qid=1509408292&sr=8-7&keywords=lois+elsden

A nifty bit of footwork

‘ve mentioned I have a new project about to come to fruition – an anthology of work from two writing friends and me which, we hope, will soon be available!! Exciting!! It has been a busy year; in April I published ‘Earthquake’, my most recent Radwinter story (I’m working on the next which may arrive before Christmas, but is more likely to appear in January) and I also published my little writing guide ‘So You Want To Write’. As well as that this year I have been very involved with my writing groups, leading and being part of, and have had lots of exciting things in my own life, not least a six-week trip to Tasmania, and my daughter coming back to live at home after five years away!!

For some reason I thought I had also published a book which I first started writing about ten years ago or more, Lucky Portbraddon. However, that was just over a yea ago, September 2016! The idea for the Portbraddon story went back much further, had been in my mind for many years, and was inspired by – but definitely not based on, two strands of inspiration:

  • bands – having loved rock music just about all my life, and having seen at close quarters what it’s like to be in a band (my husband has been a drummer and in bands since he was about fourteen) I was fascinated by the dynamic in such groups. There is a closeness because of playing music together, rehearsing and live, and for some bands who go on the road sometimes for months at a time, there is an extra bond. However there are fall-outs and splits, and people leaving and new people arriving
  • family – I am so fortunate to be part of a great, loving and faithful family, and i must say here that the Portraddons are not remotely like my own cousins and are not based on them in any way except one – the one way that there is a similarity is the loyalty a family feel, a bond which can never be broken even if the family is broken. With my fictional Portbraddons there are major upheavals and betrayals, but even so at the end, as they constantly say ‘family is family’ and ‘family first’.

Here is an extract from Lucky Portbraddon. Ismene was the girlfriend and, she hope, fiancée to be, of one of the cousins. She went to meet the rest of the family and to spend Christmas with them in their grandma’s large but isolated  house up on the moors. They were snowed in for several days during which time Isméne’s boyfriend decided he didn’t love her and as soon as escape was possible he left to return to town.

In the following extract, Isméne has been brought home to her flat by a cousin, Nick; he is also giving a lift to his nephew, Noah, who is shy and awkward and always seems on the outside of everything. An unexpected reception awaits  Isméne.

They got out of Nick’s rickety car, stepping into slush. The night was damp and had a fusty town smell after the clear air up on the tops. The thaw had set in but there were still mounds of snow, semi-frozen piles of mush, speckled with dirty grey and black.
Noah stayed in the back and she waved at him through the side window; he managed a weak smile but looked away shiftily.
“You will stay in touch, won’t you Ismène?” Nick asked as she keyed in the code on the security pad.
“I sure will, as long as you want me to,” she held the door with her shoulder so he could come in with her bags.
He made a facetious response and she replied with a joke but she had the tiniest suspicion that Nick might want to do a little more than flirt. He was lovely but she had not the slightest interest in him even if she’d wanted another relationship.
Someone grabbed her and shoved her to the floor and a man jumped at Nick and began hitting him in the face. Nick was unable to defend himself, encumbered by her bags.
Ismène jumped up and grabbed the attacker’s arm, he spun round and it was Jaco.
“You leave her alone, you bastard, she’s my wife!” Jaco bellowed and shoved her aside to continue his attack on Nick.
Ismène tumbled backwards, falling over one of her bags, and sprawled across the floor again – And then there was a figure in black between Nick and Jaco. It was Noah and he grabbed Jaco, punched him straight in the face, before pushing him out of the door. He hurled him down the couple of steps then stood blocking the doorway.
“Fuck off shithead!” he bellowed.
Nick was on his knees, blood streaming through his fingers cupped over his face and Ismène tried to get him upright, appalled by the sudden violence.
“I’m so sorry, Nick, I’m really sorry.”
“What are you apologising for?” Nick staggered as if dizzy.
He called a muffled thank you to Noah, who cast a baleful look over his shoulder and went out, the door banging shut behind him.
Nick was wiping his arm on his sleeve, his moustache and beard a gory mess. The light in the hall was garish, Nick’s face was grey and he was certainly in pain. There were splashes of blood on the blue and green floor tiles, as if the seascape they showed had been the place of a dreadful battle.
“I didn’t realise he knew where I lived – I guess he thought you were James.”
She gathered her bags and other things, and hoping Noah was safe, she pushed Nick to the lift.  It pinged open and they hurried into its apple-scented interior.
“Long time since I’ve been in a fight,” Nick looked at himself in the mirror, touching his nose experimentally. “I don’t think it’s broken.”
“Well, it wasn’t really a fight. He hit you then Noah threw him out.”
“Oh, that’s right, spoil my moment of fantasy! In my mind I decked him with a quick one-two and some nifty footwork!”
As they stepped out of the lift Ismène’s neighbour was waiting; he cast a horrified look at Nick and hurried down the corridor to the stairs.

I hope you are intrigued and want to find out more! here is a link:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/LUCKY-PORTBRADDON-LOIS-ELSDEN-ebook/dp/B01LWTVURP/ref=sr_1_6?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1507879718&sr=1-6&keywords=lois+elsden

… and here are links to my other books I mentioned:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/EARTHQUAKE-RADWINTER-Book-LOIS-ELSDEN-ebook/dp/B06Y18H8JR/ref=sr_1_4?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1507879718&sr=1-4&keywords=lois+elsden

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Want-Write-Telling-Tales-Book-ebook/dp/B074W19JK3/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1507879718&sr=1-3&keywords=lois+elsden

The third woman

Today I’m sharing an excerpt from my most recently published Radwinter book, ‘Earthquake’. Thomas Radwinter has been consulted about a mystery – in 1931 thirteen Chinese girls were at a summer school, and several of them died in mysterious circumstances; at the time they were thought to be accidents, but Thomas has been asked to investigate by the son of one of the surviving girls.

In this excerpt, he is meeting Edward Foxley, the son of another ‘girl’ who died some twenty years later in 1952, drowned in a boating ‘accident’ with a school-friend, Cissie.

Edward Foxley was a very thin but quite handsome man; he had wire rimmed glasses which gave him an old fashioned appearance, and he reminded me a little of the politician Jacob Rees Mogg. I had my sensible, serious head on, and didn’t try and act dumb. I passed him details of the history of the old school, the photo of the girls and the school then and now. There was nothing personal about the girls, and no mention of their deaths.
“Your mother was very beautiful, sir,” I said as I handed him a larger copy of her photo. He nodded but said nothing and gazed at it… ‘Chinese crackers…
He looked again at the pictures of all the girls.
“Which one is Aunt Cissie? “
I pointed to her as she stared coolly and sadly out of the photo.
“Do you know how they died?” he asked.
I replied that I’d come across a newspaper report so yes, I did, and I offered my condolences for her passing sixty years ago.
“I have been to the place where she and Aunty Cissie died, I cannot imagine how it happened… The river is so slow, sluggish, how could two fit, not old women have died? It is shallow enough for them to have stood up… They both could swim, how did it happen!” he asked looking at me severely through his wire rimmed glasses. I felt a little uncomfortable, he reminded me of someone else who wore glasses who had done his best to kill me…
“Could you describe it to me, sir?”
He described the sluggish river, the water a greeny brown with a particular smell. There were meadows on either side, and when he was there the water was quite busy with punts and canoes. He’d walked there and then gone back and hired a punt, as his mother and Cissy had in 1953.
“I have thought about it a lot, Mr Radwinter. All the reports describe it as a tragic accident, but how? As I mentioned, mother was a good swimmer, a very good swimmer. She and my aunt went away on holiday together often, and they always went somewhere they could swim. Father and I would stay at home while they went off gallivanting…” He gave a little laugh. “That’s what father called it, I’d quite forgotten, gallivanting…” He drank his coffee.
I asked him if he knew anything about any of his mother’s school friends although he was very young when she died. He said nothing and I wondered whether he’d heard me and if I should repeat it.
Instead I said that I’d noticed in a couple of the newspaper reports of the accident a mention of a third person in the punt, another woman, but that it wasn’t referred to in the coroner’s report. I expected him to be suspicious of my interest – this wasn’t anything to do with writing a monograph on the Academy.
“Do you know who she is?” he asked eagerly… No I didn’t, I replied. I also didn’t say that if she existed, she may have been responsible for other deaths too.
There was something I didn’t like about him, I don’t know what, or why I felt like this.
“Was she one of my mother’s school friends? For some reason I always thought she might be…” and he lapsed into silence staring at his coffee. Now this was very interesting; he knew about the third woman, and he believed she’d been in the punt… So who could it be? I didn’t say anything to him but mentally ran through who was left, Frieda, Alma, Bertha or Frances…

© Lois Elsden 2017

If you want to find out whether these accidents were murder, and whether Thomas finds the answer to the eighty year-old mystery, then here is a link:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/EARTHQUAKE-RADWINTER-Book-LOIS-ELSDEN-ebook/dp/B06Y18H8JR/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1504942625&sr=8-2&keywords=lois+elsden

…and another link to my other e-books, and my recently published paperbacks:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=lois+elsden