Adult Fiction, Blog Tour, Fiction, Mystery, Thriller

The Cairo Brief by Fiona Veitch Smith

Poppy Denby is intrigued when she is invited to attend the auction for the Death Mask of Nefertiti. Held on the country estate of Sir James Maddox, a famous explorer, the auction promises to be a controversial and newsworthy affair.

Representatives from the world’s leading museums are gathering to bid on the mask, which was discovered in Egypt. Poppy quickly sniffs out that the mask was not the only thing found that night: the underground chamber also contained a dead body.

Poppy and her colleagues from The Daily Globe, who are trying to stay one step ahead of their rivals from The London Courier, dismiss rumours about the mask’s ancient curse. But when one of the auction party is murdered, and someone starts stalking Poppy, the race is on to find the killer before “the curse” can strike again…

1-6The Cairo Brief is the fourth in the POPPY DENBY INVESTIGATES series but it is the first that I have read. Although some references are made to previous storylines I in no way felt that I was missing vital information so please don’t worry if you’re starting here too. Of course like me, once you’ve read The Cairo Brief, you’ll probably be itching to read the previous three novels too!

I’ve always been a fan of an Agatha Christie type of thriller. I love the gentle (yet deadly), old fashioned mystery that has a host of characters and circumstances expertly woven into the story with many motives and possibilities. I adore trying to work out who the guilty party is and this novel by Fiona Veitch Smith ticks all the boxes for me.

So what’s right about it? Firstly, the time and setting.  It has that brilliant 1920’s atmosphere and style.  Secondly I love the historical element of the story.  Based around antiquities theft, Fiona has drawn on this interesting, controversial and emotive subject to create an intriguing storyline.  Do check out her guest article below about Poppy Denby and the murky world of antiquities theft.  It makes fascinating reading.

Another important element of this story is how Fiona combines a mixture of fictional and real characters into the story.  Bringing authenticity and a sense of the time in which is set.   Of course the main protagonist is Poppy herself, our amateur sleuth/journalist who has ‘a nose for murder’.  Just like Agatha Christie’s  Hercule Poirot or Miss Marple, you know the killer is in trouble if she is around.   She’s feisty, courageous and smart, and definitely a woman who knows her own mind. The police are also well written and though we see their own investigation from afar, they aren’t made out to be bumbling fools and but part of a collaboration between journalists and law enforcement to get to the bottom of the crime. I love the way the plot gradually unfolds, with the mystery thickening throughout the novel until it finally reaches it’s climax.  Can you work out who did it?  If you’re anything like me you may well change your mind several times before the end.

For me this is the perfect novel to curl up on a winters afternoon/evening, perhaps with  a glass of mulled wine (or like Poppy, a glass of Sherry) by your side and lose yourself in a little escapism and mystery.

Now read on for some an insight into antiquities theft from author, Fiona Veitch Smith…

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Guest Article by Fiona Veitch Smith

Poppy Denby and the Murky World of Antiquities Theft

Think back to the last time you were in the British Museum. Or any national museum in a European or North American country. Did you stand in awe of ancient artefacts from Africa, Asia or South America? Did you wonder how they managed to travel so far from their native lands? Most of these artefacts were collected by European adventurers and archaelogists during the 19th and early 20th centuries, but not all of them were legally acquired.

This is the backdrop to my new Poppy Denby Investigates book: The Cairo Brief. An ancient death mask of the Egyptian queen Nefertiti is up for auction in London. Representatives from some of the world’s leading museums are there to bid for the mask, but so are two people from the Cairo Museum, claiming the mask was stolen and should not be up for sale at all. When one of the auction party is murdered, our intrepid sleuth sets about finding out not only who dunnit, but also how the mask came to be in London in the first place.

As part of my research for writing the book I did a short online course in art and antiquities theft, with the University of Glasgow (Future Learn). I learned about subsistence looting where local people consider ancient artefacts fair game to earn a living. I also learned about some of the convoluted routes that were taken to ‘launder’ artefacts so that when they got to the West they appeared to have come through legitimate channels.

I then went on to do further reading into some of the more controversial antiquities held in Western museums. One of these is the Bust of Nefertiti at the Egyptian Museum of Berlin. This was found by a German archaeologist called Ludwig Borchardt in 1912 and was the springboard for my story in The Cairo Brief. The mask in my story is fictional, but the Borchardt bust of Nefertiti is the real thing. However, up until this day, it is said that the bust was stolen by the Germans and the Egyptians want it back.

Just last year there was a high profile case in America of a Christian arts and crafts chain called Hobby Lobby that was found to have illegally acquired Iraqi artefacts (over 5,000 of them!). They were fined $3million and had to return all the artefacts. The company claimed they were unaware of all the regulations and procedures, but the US Department of Justice said that they had gone ahead with the purchase despite being warned that it may not all be above board.

And then today, just as I was preparing to write this article, I read that a delegation from Easter Island have come to London to beg the British Museum to return one of their statues that was stolen in 1868. It’s a heartrending tale in which the leader of the delegation tearfully told the director of the British Museum: ‘you have our soul’. They have offered to make a replica of the statue, free of charge, in return for the original that is not to the people of the island simply a piece of art, but a part of their national psyche. I will watch this case with interest.

“Twenty thousand pounds! Is that the final offer from New York? Dr Mortimer? Herr Stein? No? All right then, for twenty thousand pounds the death mask of Nefertiti is going… going… gone!” Albert Carnaby, auctioneer in The Cairo Brief.

1-5Fiona Veitch Smith is a writer and university lecturer, based in Newcastle upon Tyne. Her 1920s mystery novel The Jazz Files, the first in the Poppy Denby Investigates Series (Lion Fiction), was shortlisted for the CWA Historical Dagger award in 2016. The second book, The Kill Fee, was a finalist for the Foreword Review mystery novel of the year 2016/17. Book four in the series, The Cairo Brief, has been shortlisted for the People’s Book Prize. For more on the series visit www.poppydenby.com

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Many thanks to Fiona for such an interesting article and some great links.

Thank you so much also to Rhoda Hardie for inviting me to take part in this blog tour.  I can’t wait to catch up on the previous three Poppy Denby mysteries.

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Adult Fiction, Blog Tour, Crime, Fiction, Thriller

Coming Soon…#BlogTour for The Cairo Brief by Fiona Veitch Smith

I am delighted to be taking part in the #blogtour for The Cairo Brief by Fiona Veitch Smith on Tuesday.

Not only will I be chatting about the book but I also have a guest post from the author herself on the shady world of antiquities theft.

Don’t miss it!

Adult Fiction, Blog Tour, Crime, Fiction, Thriller

Good Samaritans by Will Carver

Two women have been murdered. Some time apart but it’s undoubtedly the same killer, yet nothing ties them together.

Seth is an insomniac. He feels frustrated, lonely and spends his nights drinking coffee and talking to strangers on the phone.

Maeve is his wife. She drinks too much and spends her nights alone in the marital bed listening to the murmurs of her husband as he talks and waiting for him to make yet another mistake so that he’ll need her again.

Hadley is depressed. She’s tried killing herself and still thinks about it constantly until one night she decides to call the Samaritans. Finally she finds someone she can talk to, someone who understands. At least that what she thinks…

Wowser, this is one that will stay with me for some time. Brutal, thrilling with no holds barred, this is an extraordinary novel; gradually building pace so you’re literally unable to put the book down until you arrive breathlessly at the end. It is somewhat disturbing right from the start but I found myself unable to look away. The characters are brilliantly constructed and each view point gradually adds to the story until the puzzle is complete.

This is the first novel I have read by Will Carver and I absolutely love his writing style. His short, punchy chapters are brilliant, each told from a different viewpoint. Great characterisation and a knack for picking up on the minute details of ordinary life, make this an extraordinary piece of crime fiction. He highlights society, the use of social media, the monotony of life when lived through technology; the things we miss and the sheer loneliness that we feel despite being surrounded by people, either in reality or virtually. The way we constantly suffer an overflow of information; it messes with our minds causing insomnia, depression and pushes us to spend our lives judging people, shutting out those ones that are close and yet never really knowing what is going on beneath the surface. Always comparing and never satisfied with our own reality.

‘….And he was sick of the way social media had made people less sociable and how the great art of conversation had seemingly been lost somewhere between your latest faux-bragging status and your next hashtag.’

I’m not sure that I particularly warmed to any of the characters but each one held me spellbound as I tried to work out how the dead women fitted in to their stories… and if another was about to join them. Who was the killer? There are clues dropped along the way but my mind kept changing as I explored every possibility. The end didn’t disappoint and already I’m flicking back through to look over the clues.

Good Samaritans is quite hard hitting. There are elements that we can all relate to – some of the references to Facebook certainly made me think and there were many parts that I found quite shocking and yet unable to stop reading. This is not a read for the easily shocked so be aware there are some hard-hitting scenes but oh my it’s good. I, for one, could not put it down.

One crossed wire, three dead bodies and six bottles of bleach

Seth Beauman can’t sleep. He stays up late, calling strangers from his
phonebook, hoping to make a connection, while his wife, Maeve, sleeps
upstairs. A crossed wire finds a suicidal Hadley Serf on the phone to Seth, thinking she is talking to The Samaritans. But a seemingly harmless, late-night hobby turns into something more for Seth and for Hadley, and soon their late-night talks are turning into day-time meet-ups. And then this dysfunctional love story turns into something altogether darker, when Seth brings Hadley home…

And someone is watching…

Dark, sexy, dangerous and wildly readable, Good Samaritans marks the
scorching return of one of crime fiction’s most exceptional voices.

About the author

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Will Carver is the international bestselling author of the JanuaryDavid series (Arrow). He spent his early years in Germany, but returned to the UK at age 11, when his sporting career took off. He turned down a professional rugby contract to study theatre and
television at King Alfred’s, Winchester, where he set up a successful theatre company.

He currently runs his own fitness and nutrition company, while working on his next thriller. He lives in Reading with his two children.

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Thank you so much to Anne Cater for my review copy and for inviting me to take part in this blog tour with #RandomThingsTours This is another awesome novel from the good people at Orenda Books.

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Adult Fiction, Blog Tour, Ghost Stories, Thriller

The Lingering by S.J.I Holliday – Blog Tour

51pwBO4B-VL._SY346_Jack and Ali are looking for a fresh start and a new home at Rosalind House, a self-sufficient commune established in a former psychiatric hospital.  But the couple are clearly not all they seem, and their arrival sparks a chain of unexpected and unexplained incidents.

As the disturbing history of Rosalind House and the nearby village come to light, events from the past return to haunt the residents, and someone is seeking retribution…

Atmospheric, chilling, the tension masterfully built as the true horror of the story is revealed.  Today I’m delighted to be hosting the blog tour for The Lingering by SJI Holliday and this one, dear reader, is a cracker of a novel.

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Something lingers at Rosalind House. The place has a reputation with the locals and certainly the commune that is currently based there is only adding kindling to the flames. Yet all they seek is to live in peace and remove themselves from the excess of modern life. They simply seek an escape.

Jack and Ali arrive in what appears to be a last ditch attempt to save their marriage, their sanity and themselves.  They have left everything behind and yet there is the sense they are running away from something, something that isn’t quite ready to let them go.  Their circumstances are revealed gradually through the story and I have to say that parts of their backstory gave me more chills than the events at Rosalind House. Not everyone is suited to the life of a commune and Ali struggles to adapt. Strange things start to happen and it’s not long before she begins to doubt her decision to go there. Their past however, doesn’t seem to want to leave them and it creeps slowly into the day to day life of the commune.  Their arrival causes Rosalind House to stir.  It’s dark history leaving them unable to find any peace until the icy, chill of its touch reaches out and grabs them. Evil has been lingering in the shadows of Rosalind House and it seems that Jack and Ali’s arrival only helps bring it out into the light.

A fantastic mix of psychological thriller, murder mystery and ghost story, The Lingering is simply wonderful.  It pulls you in right from the get-go and consumes your thoughts long after the final page is turned.  Even now, several weeks later, it still send shivers down my spine and creeps into my dreams.  I do love a creepy, story but just one word of advice… perhaps don’t read this in the bath.

The Lingering by S J I Holliday is another fantastic offering from the wonderful Orenda Books

You can follow Susi on Twitter @SJIHolliday or visit her website: sjiholliday.com.

Thank you so much to Anne at and Orenda Books for my review copy and for inviting me to be a part of this blog tour.  This is a book I will definitely be recommending and I now look forward to reading more from S J I Holliday.

There is a fantastic promotional video on Facebook which I very much urge you to take a peek at here.

Adult Fiction, Children's Fiction, Poetry, Short Stories

Books for Remembrance

100 years ago today the guns fell silent. After four years of fighting, loss and destruction the war to end all wars was finally over. And for 100 years we have been honouring those who fell, those who survived and those who continue to fight ever since. War is an incredibly devisive subject but no matter your view it is important to remember what has been lost in the name of freedom.

For those of us in the UK, November 11th is a day for us to pay tribute to all those affected by War.  There is a wealth of material out there to help us remember, to commemorate and appreciate what has been lost for our future and the future of our children.   It is also a way for us to teach our children and younger generation empathy and compassion.  Below is a small selection of both adult and children’s books that I personally recommend.  There are of course many more so please do add your own personal recommendations in the comments section below.

My first selection are four books by author Hilary Robinson and illustrator Martin Impey.  I first discovered Where The Poppies Now Grow several years ago when I worked on the editorial team at Lovereading4kids.  It is an incredibly beautifully illustrated book with a moving story about two friends who went to war told in Hilary’s memorable verse.  As soon as I saw it I knew that it would be an important book and would help raise discussion and understanding with young children about the First World War . Since then Hilary and Martin have gone on to produce three more tales taking us right through to the end of the War and each story encouraging empathy and hope through difficult times.

51qibYPp5iL._SX399_BO1,204,203,200_Where The Poppies Now Grow by Hilary Robinson and Martin Impey

This moving poetic text matched with warm-hearted illustrations captures the lives of two friends and the parts they played in the enormous military campaign of the First World War. From their early days playing together through to their old age they shared everything. Above all, as young men they courageously shared the danger and devastation of the war which took place on their very own land. The result is a book that reflects the lasting importance of both friendship and place and how they can help to heal the tragedy of war.

61whh1wzICL._SX394_BO1,204,203,200_The Christmas Truce by Hilary Robinson and Martin Impey

It’s Christmas Eve 1914. A group of tired soldiers start singing Stille Nacht. Soldiers the other side of No Man’s Land respond with Silent Night. The next day, soldiers on both sides put down their weapons and celebrate the spirit of Christmas Day with a friendly football match. In the sequel to the hugely popular Where The Poppies Now Grow, The Christmas Truce finds soldiers Ben and Ray shaking hands in friendship with Karl and Lars, a tribute to that remarkable moment in history when, for one day, peace found a place.

UnknownFlo of the Somme by Hilary Robinson and Martin Impey

Following on from Where The Poppies Now Grow and The Christmas Truce, Flo of the Somme pays tribute to the remarkable bravery of the animals who risked their lives during World War 1. Set in a bygone age, Mercy Dog Flo has more to contend with than racing across dangerous battlefields. Can she reach the injured in time with her medical kit, and can she lead Ray and the ambulance unit to the injured? With poignant poetic text sensitively written for a young audience, the rich illustration detail significant landmarksof a battle which is recognised as one of the most costliest engagements of World War 1.

51IZD0oyORL._SX387_BO1,204,203,200_Peace Lily by Hilary Robinson and Martin Impey

Peace Lily follows on from Where The Poppies Now Grow, The Christmas Truce and Flo Of The Somme and finds childhood friend, Lily, follow Ben and Ray to the battlefields. Peace Lily marks the contribution made by women to the First World War and celebrates the common humanity shown by all, on all sides.

51hWZswsm4L-1._SX355_BO1,204,203,200_A Song For Will by Hilary Robinson and Martin Impey

When World War One is declared on 4th August 1914, errand boy, Alfie, is disappointed that he is too young to sign up. But his frustration turns to despair as he begins to realise the brutal consequences of battle. During the four year conflict, Alfie’s exchange of letters with Heligan stone mason, Fred Paynter, and the visits home of gardener, William Guy, paint a poignant picture of life at the front. Reading them in a peaceful corner of England, the sanctuary of Heligan, Alfie realises just how different his life could have been. Can Fred and Will survive the horrors of the Somme in 1916? And what worrying news might Alfie receive about other battles? Published in partnership with the Lost Gardens of Heligan and drawing on facts from their archives A Song For Will is a beautiful story of longing and loss, of discovery and hope.

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Recently I’ve added a few titles to my school library.  There is of course a wealth of choices available but I felt these in particular earned a space there.  Each of these books are beautifully produced and I hope will inspire the children to pick them up and read them.

519jdOIZjyL._AC_US218_Poppy Field by Michael Morpurgo

Michael Morpurgo and Michael Foreman have teamed up with the Royal British Legion to tell an original story that explains the meaning behind the poppy.

In Flanders’ fields, young Martens knows his family’s story, for it is as precious as the faded poem hanging in their home. From a poor girl comforting a grieving soldier, to an unexpected meeting of strangers, to a father’s tragic death many decades after treaties were signed, war has shaped Martens’s family in profound ways – it is their history as much as any nation’s.

This is an absolutely beautifully produced book and is perfect to share with younger reader or equally a special read for any age.  It is incredibly moving and shows us the effect the war had on the generations since it began over a hundred years ago.  Truly special and a small donation goes to the British legion for every copy sold.

Unknown-2The Great War: Stories Inspired by Objects from the First World War

The Great War is a powerful collection of stories by bestselling authors, each inspired by a different object from the First World War. From a soldier’s writing case to the nose of a Zeppelin bomb, each object illuminates an aspect of life during the war, and each story reminds us of the millions of individual lives that were changed forever by the four years of fighting. This remarkable book is illustrated by the Kate Greenaway Medal-winning Jim Kay. Featuring new work from: AL Kennedy, Tracy Chevalier, Michael Morpurgo, David Almond, Marcus Sedgwick, Adele Geras, Ursula Dubosarsky, John Boyne,  Timothée de Fombelle, Sheena Wilkinson, Tanya Lee Stone.

61WX0d987oL._SX326_BO1,204,203,200_Poems from the First World War: Published in Association with Imperial War Museum

Poems from the First World War is a moving and powerful collection of poems written by soldiers, nurses, mothers, sweethearts and family and friends who experienced WWI from different standpoints. It records the early excitement and patriotism, the bravery, friendship and loyalty of the soldiers, and the heartbreak, disillusionment and regret as the war went on to damage a generation. It includes poems from Wilfred Owen, Rupert Brooke, Vera Brittain, Eleanor Farjeon, Edward Thomas, Laurence Binyon, John McCrae, Siegfried Sassoon and many more.

The Imperial War Museum was founded in 1917 to collect and display material relating to the ‘Great War’, which was still being fought. Today IWM is unique in its coverage of conflicts, especially those involving Britain and the Commonwealth, from the First World War to the present. They seek to provide for, and to encourage, the study and understanding of the history of modern war and wartime experience.

51C1m+mzjUL._SX323_BO1,204,203,200_The Penguin Book of First World War Poetry (Penguin Classics)

Reflecting the voices of poets, soldiers, the families they left behind and their comrades who would never return, The Penguin Book of First World War Poetry, previously published as In Flanders Fields, is edited with an introduction by George Walter in Penguin Classics.

Unrivalled for its range and intensity, the poetry of the First World War continues to have a powerful effect on readers. This anthology reflects the diverse experience of those who lived through the war – bringing together the words of poets, soldiers and civilians affected by the conflict. Including famous verses from Rupert Brooke, Siegfried Sassoon and Wilfred Owen; pieces by less well-known writers such as Gilbert Frankau and Osbert Sitwell; works by women describing the emotions of those at home; and the anonymous lyrics of soldiers’ songs, The Penguin Book of First World War Poetry offers a blend of voices that is both unique and profoundly moving.

This collection has been arranged thematically, moving through the war’s different stages from conscription through to its aftermath, to offer the reader a variety of perspectives on the same common experiences. George Walter’s introduction discusses the role and scope of First World War poetry anthologies, and how the canon has changed over the years. This edition also contains notes and biographies.

51l4Mv7E0ML._SX310_BO1,204,203,200_The Skylarks’ War by Hilary McKay – 9yrs +

The Skylarks’ War is a beautiful story following the loves and losses of a family growing up against the harsh backdrop of World War One, from the award-winning Hilary McKay.

Clarry and her older brother Peter live for their summers in Cornwall, staying with their grandparents and running free with their charismatic cousin, Rupert. But normal life resumes each September – boarding school for Peter and Rupert, and a boring life for Clarry at home with her absent father, as the shadow of a terrible war looms ever closer.

When Rupert goes off to fight at the front, Clarry feels their skylark summers are finally slipping away from them. Can their family survive this fearful war?

The next title is for YA readers and adults.  I have to admit that I saw the BBC adaptation of this before I read the book but both were incredibly moving.  It has been some years since I first read Birdsong, but it has always stayed with me.

Unknown-3Bird Song by Sebastian Faulks

Birdsong is a mesmerising story of love and war spanning three generations between WW1 and present day

1910. Amiens, Northern France. Stephen Wraysford, a young Englishman, arrives in the French city to stay with the Azaire family. He falls in love with unhappily married Isabelle and the two enter a tempestuous love affair. But, with the world on the brink of war, the relationship falters. With his love for Isabelle forever engraved on his heart, Stephen volunteers to fight on the Western Front and enters the unimaginable dark world beneath the trenches of No Man’s Land. From award-winning writer Sebastian Faulks, Birdsong is an exceptionally moving and unforgettable portrait of the ruthlessness of war and the indestructibility of love.

51ubu3F+gCL._SX324_BO1,204,203,200_Regeneration by Pat Barker

The modern classic of contemporary war fiction – a Man Booker Prize-nominated examination of World War I and its deep legacy of human traumas.

‘A brilliant novel. Intense and subtle’ Peter Kemp, Sunday Times

Craiglockhart War Hospital, Scotland, 1917, and army psychiatrist William Rivers is treating shell-shocked soldiers. Under his care are the poets Siegfried Sassoon and Wilfred Owen, as well as mute Billy Prior, who is only able to communicate by means of pencil and paper. Rivers’s job is to make the men in his charge healthy enough to fight. Yet the closer he gets to mending his patients’ minds the harder becomes every decision to send them back to the horrors of the front. Pat Barker’s Regenerationis the classic exploration of how the traumas of war brutalised a generation of young men.

This is the first novel in Pat Barkers Regeneration Trilogy.  It is followed by The Eye in the Door and Man Booker Prize winner, The Ghost Road.

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In the world we live in today there can be times when it is easy to question the sacrifice that so many made and continue to make.  There seems to be so little peace within the world. I know there have been moments when I have wondered if all those who died would have believed it worthwhile if they saw the hate that continues to permeate through our world today. Not one single person should have to die in the name of peace but it is not peace that kills, it is hate. Every person and animal who has fought for peace shall be remembered; those who lost their lives and those who survived such horrors. I hope this continues for another 100 years, and then another, and another. I hope that remembrance reminds us that real people lie at the heart of conflict. Real lives. I worry that our young especially an be desensitised to the horror of war by the constant barrage of violent games, film and tv. So these occasions when we actually connect the atrocities to real people, when we make it relatable, are incredibly important.

 

 

Children's Fiction, Christmas 2018

Book Launch – The Night I Met Father Christmas by Ben Miller

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It was a damp and mild November evening when the Fallows family headed up to London.  Nature is giving a wonderful display of autumnal colour; golden brown, fiery reds and burnt orange underfoot with sticky, mushy leaves wet from the rain earlier in the day. This last week we’ve gained an hour and darker evenings for sparkly lights and magical time to curl up with a good book.  Winter is well and truly on its way… and with it comes Christmas. The most wonderful time of the year. Never shy of taking an opportunity to get into the Christmas spirit as early as possible, I was delighted to have been invited to join in celebrating the launch of a bright and sparkling new, Christmas story.

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Flash back to summer.  The days were long, the sun was shining and people were already beginning to panic about ever seeing rain again. I however,  was settling down to read my first Christmas book of the year.  The Night I met Father Christmas by Ben Miller.

There are so many wonderful children’s authors bringing books to our young readers that will inspire and encourage a life-long love of reading.  So when someone we admire for their other work gives us a novel, I always feel a little apprehensive.  I expect it to be good enough to share a place on the shelves of those whose main body of work is children’s fiction.  Children’s books are important, they matter.  As Meg Ryan said in You Got Mail “When you read a book as a child, it becomes a part of your identity in a way that no other reading in your whole life does.” With so many other distractions it’s important that we can grab their attention with stories that will fill them with wonder and let them love books rather than see them as a chore and bore.

I very much enjoy watching Ben on the screen.  We’re big fans of Death in Paradise in our household and grew to love his grumpy, yet brilliant Inspector Richard Poole and even more recently his role as Angus Bough, the ever patient side-kick to Rowen Atkinson’s, Johnny English. So I was excited to hear that he had written a Christmas story and keen for him to have done it well. It’s encouraging to know that Ben is not new to the written word, he has already published two non-fiction titles, It’s Not Rocket Science and The Aliens Are Coming!: The Exciting Science Behind Our Search For Life in the Universe.   The Night I Met Father Christmas is his first fictional title and trust me when I say, it is wonderful and very much deserves its place on any child’s (or adult’s) bookshelf.

It was an absolute treat to attend his launch party and Ben Miller is as funny and warm in the flesh as he comes across on the screen.  With a room full of people vying for his attention he took the time to sign copies of his book and my own young Ben was thrilled to meet him (as was I).  We also chatted and mingled with some lovely people and was finally able to say hello to some familiar faces including children’s author, Philip Ardagh.

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When Ben met Ben

The team at Simon and Schuster did Ben proud and the event was lovely.   We had the opportunity to meet the wonderfully talented illustrator Daniela Jaglenka Terrazzini, whose stunning illustrations bring the story to life.  Simon and Schuster’s design team have produced a stunning book complementing both story and illustrations. It truly is beautiful and will make a wonderful early Christmas present or perhaps be the perfect book to share with your little ones in the run up to the big event itself.

 

The Night I Met Father Christmas is available to buy now.  It is already generating wonderful reviews and much excitement.  At the beginning of December I’ll be running a series of festive posts about this delightful book that will culminate with a giveaway on Monday the 3rd as I kick off the blog tour.  Do come back and take a look or even better, why not hit the follow button. 🙂

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