The Troutbeck Testimony
by Rebecca Tope
on Tour October 24 – November 23, 2016
A huge funeral for Windermere’s popular resident, Barbara Dodge, is taking place and florist Persimmon ‘Simmy’ Brown and her new assistant, Bonnie Lawson are busy compiling wreaths in preparation. There’s word of a series of sinister dognappings occurring in nearby Troutbeck and whilst taking a walk up Wansfell Pike, Simmy and her father, Russell, stumble on a dog, strangled to death – it’s not long before Simmy reluctantly finds herself caught up in a murder investigation…
I recently read THE CONISTON CASE, 2nd in this series, so was delighted that I had the chance to read the sequel, THE TROUTBECK TESTIMONY, #3 in this series. And I was not disappointed.
Persimmon Brown, florist, finds herself unwillingly in the midst of another murder mystery. Plus having her father go missing and the kidnapping of dogs.
Ms. Tope’s writing is fluid, as is the suspense, which made this reader not wanting to put this book down to see how it was all related. And was quite surprised when it was all pulled together with an ending I never saw coming.
Rebecca Tope is now on my cozy mystery “authors to read” list. Totally enjoyable and highly recommend this author if you enjoy Cozy Mysteries! An entertaining read!!
Genre: Mystery & Detective, Cozy
Published by: Morrow/Witness Impulse
Publication Date: October 2016
Number of Pages: 384
Series: Persimmon Brown #4
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Read an excerpt:
Rebecca Tope is the author of four murder mystery series, featuring Den Cooper, Devon police detective, Drew Slocombe, Undertaker; Thea Osborne, house sitter in the Cotswolds and now Persimmon Brown, Lake District florist. She is also a “ghost writer” of the novels based on the ITV series Rosemary and Thyme.
Q&A with Rebecca Tope
Do you draw from personal experiences and/or current events?
To some extent, yes I do. In ‘The Troutbeck Testimony’ I describe a walk up Wansfell that a friend and I did shortly before I started writing the book. We did get slightly lost in boggy ground, just as Simmy and her father do. In other stories, I have included occasional references to current events, but they can sometimes be a bad idea. It makes the novel quickly seem dated, and I prefer to keep the precise chronological time rather vague.
Do you start with the conclusion and plot in reverse or start from the beginning and see where the storyline brings you?
Almost always, the latter. Only three or four times (out of over thirty) do I have any idea of the ending. In ‘The Troutbeck Testimony’ I simply started with the walk, and told myself the story. The theme of ‘dognapping’ was there from the outset, but that’s all.
Are any of your characters based on your or people you know?
A complex and basically unanswerable question. All the characters come from my imagination, and that surely means that aspects of myself appear in them, in one way or another. I’m a very ‘instinctive’ writer, which is really saying I don’t think very hard about this sort of matter. The characters are thoroughly fictional, which is to say they’re not very similar to living breathing human beings.
The great majority of my working days follow the same pattern. I get up at first light, walk the dogs around my fields, and then settle down to write 1000-2000 words. This generally takes under an hour. I might check emails once or twice during this time, as well. The rest of the morning, I am generally still at my computer, dealing with ‘business’ aspects of the job, as well as contacting friends, organising trips, buying books, playing games.
In the afternoon I go outside for ‘gardening’. This is often cutting down thistles, lopping trees, cutting firewood or mowing grass.
Tell us why we should read this book.
Simmy Brown is an appealing character, and her young friends Ben, Bonnie and Melanie are every bit as enjoyable to read about. Anyone who likes dogs will be engaged with the story. There is added interest from Simmy’s parents, who are rather quirky. The local landscape forms a beautiful backdrop – the English Lake District is the setting for all the Simmy Brown books.
Some of your favourite authors?
Lee Child is firmly number one. Lesser-known Victorian writers are much loved by me. George Gissing, Arthur Morrison, Sabine Baring-Gould, Eden Philpotts, Fanny Trollope – and more.
Contemporary favourites are Kate Atkinson, C.J.Sansom, Donna Tartt.
What are you reading now?
‘The Whirlpool’ by George Gissing. Written in the 1890s, it gives a comprehensive picture of a group of very well-rounded characters and their concerns.
Are you working on your next novel?
Yes, I am over a third of the way through ‘Peril in the Cotswolds’. This is the 15th in my very popular series set in this small and highly individual region of England. Thea Osborne, house-sitter, is now Thea Slocombe, married to an alternative undertaker. She hopes her new life will see an end to the violent and mysterious crimes she has so often encountered. But her hopes are unfounded…
I have recently become very enthusiastic about antique auctions, and go as often as I can. As a result, I also find myself selling items at car boot sales. Another spin-off has been a return to stamp collecting, which was a great passion for me over 50 years ago.
Thank you for stopping by CMash Reads and spending time with us.
Catch Up with Ms. Tope on rebeccatope.com 🔗 or on twitter at @RebeccaTope 🔗.
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