The Sapphire

I have put a new draft ‘Just Woman’ story on to Wattpad: https://www.wattpad.com/myworks/106008959-the-sapphire

And here’s a description:

London, 1924. After the dramatic events of Four Days in October and the exciting General Election, the Three Just Men and One Woman intend to return to solving some of the other criminal cases crying out for their attention. Mirabelle and Leon have an Italian banking case to investigate which would take them away from England and the influence of the irrational and disruptive Maria of Gratz. It’s time to return to the sort of cases that made them famous! But Europe in 1924 is a dangerous place; perhaps they should stay in London and investigate a missing jewel — a valuable sapphire brooch that was given away to a notorious criminal. But as it happens, Mirabelle and Leon know the criminal …
The Sapphire continues the story of Four Days in October and The Woman of Gratz. It is based on the characters in Edgar Wallace’s thriller The Three Just Men (1924)


Maria of Gratz[3c]It’s Mother’s Day, a.k.a. Mothering Sunday, in the UK this weekend. In honour of this day — and as a mother — I’m making two of my ‘Just Woman’ books free for the weekend.

Find them at: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B06XDXBB53

And at:


Brother Jan dropped in for a chat.
‘Miss you.’
‘Miss you.’
‘What are you doing at the moment?’ I asked. ‘Still viceroy-ing?’
He nodded. ‘Probably forever.’ He paused. ‘At least — until this body wears out.’ He sighed heavily. ‘There’s no peace for the efficient.’
‘I know,’ I said. ‘Any fool can wield a sword, but hardly anyone can run a government department efficiently.’
He nodded. ‘I always thought that fame and glory went to the warrior. Now I find — what everyone needs is managers who can manage.’ (Another pause.) ‘Apparently I’m good at it.’
‘What a waste of a glorious knight!’ I said, smiling in sympathy.
He almost managed a Jan-ish mischievous grin. ‘The only sword I’m allowed to wield now is the ceremonial one. And that’s blunt — so even when I’d love to slice the Sved envoy in two, I can’t.’
‘You could bewitch him,’ I suggested.
This time he managed the grin. ‘His horse tripped and he fell off.’
‘So what is going on in Our Lady’s Land?’ I asked.
He sighed. ‘No doubt Adelheide will fill you in soon. Let’s not talk about it. What are you writing now?’
I showed him the current Just Woman story, and he shrugged: ‘Light-weight stuff. Not worthy of your pen, Helen.’
‘I needed something light-weight after the Retrogradus.’
‘It was pretty grim, wasn’t it?’ He sighed. ‘Too late, now.’
‘You got Karlot back.’
‘Yes — eventually.’ He shook his head as if to shake the thought away. ‘I’m still recovering. How’s the day job?’
‘Pretty grim. As you say — the glory and honour goes one way, but what everyone actually wants is managers who can manage. So I get the managing when my real skills are in wielding a pen.’
‘When you’ve finished with young Mirabelle’s current adventure,’ said Jan, ‘you must come back to us. We miss you and Adelheide wants you to see how well Jurgis is growing. And we’ve got plenty to report on the Rus and our other neighbours.’
‘I promise,’ I said. ‘Meanwhile: sing us a song, Jan. Something to hum when I’m far away.’
So he sang me a song, but it was too sad to write it down here. Poor Jan. He does hate being viceroy.
‘Even if you can’t get yourself out of the managing,’ I said, ‘you could see what you can do for me.’
He gave me a very Jan-ish look. ‘You be careful! You’ll end up as a “viceroy” too!’
Please, no …

Busby and Pearce 2I’ve just uploaded the fourth of the ‘Just woman’ stories on to Amazon Kindle: it should be available to read within 72 hours. This book continues the story from where The Woman of Gratz broke off: Maria is lying wounded at Thorney Manor, while Mirabelle, Leon and Raymond are on their way back to Curzon Street. But it will shortly become clear that they need to get back to Thorney Manor to rescue Maria from even more enemies.

Here’s the blurb:

October, 1924: it’s just four days before the General Election which will decide the fate of Britain. As Socialist, Communists, Liberals and Conservatives prepare to battle for the hearts and minds of the electorate, the beautiful Maria of Gratz is fighting for her life. It seems that every anarchist in Europe is conspiring to destroy the woman who was once their leader, and every European nation has a warrant out for her arrest. … with so many enemies after her blood, how can Maria survive the four days until the election?

Mirabelle Leicester and her husband Leon, aided by their friends Lucy Baines and the policewomen Busby and Pearce, take on the task of protecting Maria for four days in October: Shoot-outs, ambushes, attempted kidnap and daring escapes will be their daily life while they struggle to ensure justice for Maria and her past victims.


The second book in my ‘Just Woman’ parody-0f-Edgar-Wallace series will be free to download for Amazon Kindle this weekend, Friday to Sunday.
Mirabelle5 London, 1924: Europe is still reeling in the aftermath of the First World War. The birth of cinema, dance music, fashion and motor cars for the masses is opening up a brave new world of opportunity, where old barriers of privilege crumble and anything seems possible.
But across the continent, Fascism and Communism confront each other, while working men and women struggle to keep a roof over their heads.
When bold, sassy young Mirabelle Leicester left her bankrupt little farm in Gloucestershire to seek work in the great metropolis of London, she met the Three Just Men and swopped a life of rural tranquillity for high adventure.
Every day now brings new surprises and fresh challenges for Mirabelle as she and the Just Men strive to impose justice where the law has failed.
On a quiet morning when only Mirabelle is at home, a client arrives with a tale of attempted poisoning – but is she hiding an attempt at blackmail? Is a discarded cufflink enough to connect a man with murder – and when a suspected murderer is murdered, should Mirabelle intervene? A factory owner asks for help in identifying saboteurs – but when it turns out that his factory is really a sweatshop, does he have some darker plan in mind? A romantic moonlit walk becomes a criminal investigation when Mirabelle and her husband Leon witness a building accident, and reveal a network of local council corruption, forgery and blackmail.
In her battle against injustice, Mirabelle finds many allies: the resourceful and fearless housemaid Lucy Baines, the policewomen WPCs Busby and Pearce, and the redoubtable Nurse Wilson. But when the mysterious Maria of Gratz threatens the Just Men at their very heart, even Mirabelle is baffled.


After some problems following Amazon’s Cloud failure earlier this week, I’ve uploaded books 2 and 3 of ‘The Just Woman’ series to Amazon Kindle: these are the sequels to The Flat in Doughty Court. With echoes of the golden age of crime and thriller fiction, they don’t set out to be great literature. I wrote them as a fun read for myself, friends and family, and hope that other readers will enjoy them too.


The Flat at Doughty Court is free this weekend! Find it on Amazon at: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B06XBNPSBD (Amazon UK) and https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06XBNPSBD (Amazon UK), etc.

Sassy young Mirabelle Leicester drives in fast cars, shoots at bad guys and brings criminals to justice — every young girl’s dream!

The Flat cover 2.


Whatever happened to the brave, sassy Mirabelle Leicester after she escaped from the clutches of the evil Doctor Oberzohn at the end of Edgar Wallace’s 1924 novel The Three Just Men? Where did she and Leon Gonsalez go after they drove off in Leon’s big fast car? A girl as resourceful as Mirabelle was certainly not going to let her hero get away from her … Edgar Wallace never told his readers what Mirabelle Did Next, so this story sets out to follow her and Leon to her aunt’s flat at Doughty Court in Bloomsbury to find out. More than eighty years after the great mystery writer’s death, we explore where this indefatigable pair might have travelled after they left Edgar Wallace’s pages.