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The Sapphire black and white My friend who writes stories set in the ancient kingdom of Rheged has just sent me a list of typos and suggestions for The Sapphire, which I’ve implemented. They should come through on the edition on Amazon.com (etc.) shortly. However, I have left the Wattpad version as it is — none of these are major changes, just minor tweaks. (Readers, let me know if you want me to update Wattpad too.) She also said some nice things about the book, but you’ll have to read it for yourself.

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After much tearing of hair and headaches I have at last brought the most recent ‘Just Woman’ story to a conclusion. This one has involved a bit of research as most of the action takes place in Spain, and when I started this story my knowledge of Spain in 1924 was approximately zilch. I now know a bit more about it (not a lot, but a bit).

The story is now on Wattpad, and here’s the blub and the current cover:

The Man from Barcelona 2nd draftMirabelle Leicester has always known that her husband Leon Gonsalez is the ‘possessor of innumerable coats of arms, quarterings, family mottoes direct and affiliated’ (in the words of Edgar Wallace), but since their marriage she has  discovered that he also has a real family, including a revolutionary cousin from Barcelona and an aristocratic aunt. When the cousin asks for Leon’s and Mirabelle’s assistance in clearing his name, the investigation takes them to Spain: trailing kidnappers, dodging gunmen, encountering old friends, and accumulating innumerable pieces of evidence in their battered suitcases. Is the Man from Barcelona innocent, or has he been lying all along?

Readers may remember that I don’t usually do research when I’m writing fiction, ‘The Star’ and the ‘Gray’ stories don’t need research (much), as they’re fantasy; ‘The Just Woman’ is set in Edgar Wallace’s world so follows the guidelines sent out in his stories as far as possible.

Edgar Wallace’s stories are striking for their timelessness. Although he referred generally to telephones, telegrams, motorbikes, cars, taxis, ships, trains and planes, his stories hardly ever contain any specific description of technology that would fix them to a particular time between 1905 and 1965. I usually try to follow his lead, but as the current ‘Just Woman’ story is set very early in Europe’s airline history, and the characters take a journey by air from Spain to Britain, I had to do a little research. The internet wasn’t much help for the history of Spanish airlines, but various webpages sent me to R.E.G. Davies, A History of the World’s Airlines (London: Oxford University Press, 1964).

So the plane that makes a brief appearance in the current story (working title:  The Man from Barcelona’, set in late 1924) is a Junkers F.13, also known as a Ju 13. These metal-bodied, single –engined planes could carry two crew and four passengers and had a range of 746 miles (1200km) at speeds of up to 106 miles per hour. As it is around 390 miles from Madrid to Toulouse along the most direct viable route (i.e., to Barcelona and then following the already-established route flown by Latécoère and the C.G.E.A via Perpignan) the journey would take around six hours without needing to stop to refuel, but as there would have been no toilet facilities on the plane, it would be necessary to have toilet stops along the way: hence our travellers will stop at Barcelona.

I selected this plane  because in 1925 Union Aerea Espanola was set up with a fleet of Ju 13s: so our pilots is testing these planes.

Wikipedia provides some information and pictures of these planes: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Junkers_F.13

I’ve uploaded the fifth Mirabelle Leicester (a.k.a. the Just Woman) book to Amazon Kindle. It should be available for purchase within 72 hours; or you can get the beta version for free on Wattpad.

The cover picture shows Isola Koskina: Wallace fans have met her before in Again the Three, in the story of the ‘Happy Travellers’. In The Sapphire the events of ‘The Happy Travellers’ occurred last year, and somehow or other Isola has escaped prison and is back in Italy, still plotting against the government.

The Sapphire black and whiteAnd here’s the blurb:

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)

And a cover

The Sapphire black and whiteAnd here’s a cover for The Sapphire. Slightly sketchy but the black and white gives it just a touch of appropriate menace — what do you think?

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: