Murder at a London Finishing School Release Day and a Giveaway!

Jessie: In New Hampshire where the skies are blue and the breezes are sweet.

Launch day for any novel is always a treat. It is such a gratifying thing to see so many hours of creation and months of waiting come to fruition. From the earliest inklings of an idea for a plot to the final pass through before the manuscript heads to the printer there is so much attention and emotion invested in the outcome. It really is a bit like seeing one’s child face to face for the first time.

This novel was particularly pleasurable to write. I have known since the beginning of the series that my protagonists, Beryl and Edwina, met at Miss Dupont’s Finishing School for Young Ladies. I discovered as I got to know them better over time that Beryl had first taken notice of Edwina when she raised her usually soft voice to defend a student from the school bully.

This installment in the series takes the pair of friends back to where it all began and even brings the bully back into their orbit. As I wrote it I got to know more about how both of my sleuths felt about their time at boarding school, some things they had each believed about themselves, and even how their perceptions of their teachers who had seemed ancient to them so many years before had become more understandable and perhaps even likable. I ended up well pleased with how it all turned out and hope that my readers will enjoy it as well.

Here’s the teaser from the back of the book:

American adventuress Beryl Helliwell and prim and proper Brit Edwina Davenport team up once again as enquiry agents to solve a mystery at their alma mater in this historical English village mystery set just after World War I.Neither Beryl nor Edwina are the least bit interested in attending events at their alma mater, Miss Dupont’s Finishing School. Their lives are very full indeed in the village of Walmsley Parva. However, when a letter arrives from Miss Dupont herself requesting their help in a professional capacity, they reluctantly pack their bags for London.Upon arrival, they learn from Miss Dupont that her business has seen a steep decline since the days before World War I and that now she is concerned a saboteur is attempting to damage the school’s reputation. Students have reported items missing, damaged possessions, and strange noises in the night. Some of the girls even insist ghostly forces are at play.Then a former classmate of theirs and mother of a prospective student is found dead on the school grounds. The roll call of suspects is long, and if Beryl and Edwina are to have a ghost of a chance of solving the murder, they can’t rule out the possibility that Miss Dupont herself may have finished off the victim…

If you are interested in acquiring a copy of your own in hardcover, ebook or audiobook, it is available at local bookstores or from a host of online sources linked here. You can also take your chance at winning one of three hardcover copies by leaving a comment on this post by midnight on Sunday, July 31. Good luck!

Readers, do you remember when you first noticed someone who became an important part of your life? Or, did you have a favorite teacher?

80 Thoughts

  1. I did have a favorite teacher– several, actually over the duration of my education. Each brought something special to my life.

  2. I did have a favorite teacher, Mr. Woods, he was the Dept Head of the Business Classes. I knew I was going to be a secretary and I was the best typist at the time. He would have me called out of my boring classes to type up whatever he needed typing. We are talking in the 70’s, pre-computers. He was also my drivers ed teacher and I had fallen at work on a wet floor and I learned how to drive with a cast on. I met him again a few years later and it was a great reunion. I am still friends with his son and daughter to this day. We were in school together. Thank you for this chance at you giveaway. pgenest57 at aol dot com

  3. A neighbor would babysit my younger brother and I on Saturday nights while my mom worked a second job. They would feed us dinner, then we’d play with our two best friends (their daughters). Later on, we’d struggle to stay awake to watch Love Boat, Fantasy Island and Saturday Night Live, rarely making it past Fantasy Island. She was really kind to us and helped my mom so much. I was able to reconnect with her later on in life and she always remembered me despite having Alzheimers. Thank you for the chance to win. aprilbluetx at yahoo dot com

  4. My favorite teacher was my grade school English teacher, Mrs. Herrick! She seemed shy to me, as was I, so that’s probably why I took to her so well. I’d follow her around like a puppy dog when she was on playground duty and really paid attention to her during class. I’m sure she’s why I love reading, words, grammar and spelling!

  5. My favorite high school teacher was my English teacher. She really broadened the types of books I like to read.

  6. I had a favorite teacher and I was lucky enough to have her for both kindergarten and 1st grade. Mrs. White was gentle and fun and she certainly set my academic life in the right direction! adriennechasteensnow at gmail dot com

  7. Mr. Weinstien, my 6th grade teacher back in ‘72 was my fave. He was young and hip and challenged the norms. Another student and I won a spelling contest and our prize was seeing a Bruins game. The best part of that? Going into his apartment in Somerville, and having cheese and crackers and juice in a small living room and being treated like an adult by him and his wife and two of their friends. Such a window into another world!

  8. My favorite teacher was my high school English teacher. I’ll always remember her favorite sentence for teaching us sentence structure was – Dead birds don’t eat cookies. How could you for get that.

  9. Congratulations, Jessie! I had several good teachers, but I think my favorite was my chemistry teacher, Mr. Eggleston. He’s the one who taught me I really could do anything if I worked hard enough.

  10. Happy book birthday, Jessie! I had two favorite teachers. Mrs. Frierman in the third grade – we became good friends and kept in touch through my college years, and Sr. Marie-Therese my high school English teacher. She gave me the confidence to write.

  11. Congratulations on the new book! I still remember being in chorus in ninth grade and looking across the room to see a girl laughing. We’ve been laughing together ever since.

  12. congrats on the new book.

    I can’t say i ever had a favorite teacher – now a few that were definitely not favorites but that is something entirely different.

  13. Congratulations, Jessie. A woman my size and age and I started a doctoral program in linguistics 46 years ago next month, both of us having done some world traveling since undergrad days, so we were a little older. We became fast friends almost instantly. And we’re still besties, with our kids as if siblings with each other!

  14. Wohoo!!!! Congratulations Jessie! One more Beryl and Edwina adventure! I vividly remember the occasion when I met my wife of 54 1/2 years 🙂 I also very fondly remember my art teacher in High School…but…what did I have for dinner last night? 🙂 I love your brilliant writing and wish that many, many more intriguing plots will invade your mind. Thank you so much! Luis at ole dot travel

  15. My Mom. She became an important part of my life since birth and has been my favorite Teacher. You see my is a Retired Teacher and I have been learning from her for 55 1/2 years and look forward to learning more stuff from her. Even though she has been Retired for a while I love I can learn so much from her.

  16. Remember as if it was yesterday meeting what turned out to be my sister by choice. Total strangers both attending a function because of our mutual love for one old man – Emmett Kelly Jr., world famous clown – in a small rural town in MO, which was the hometown of Emmett’s father.

    It was through several meetings around town during the festival at different events and signings that we began to talk about our mutual interest and a friendship bloomed. Over the years of correspondence and phone calls and meeting at out Emmett functions throughout the country, it led to a great time for the two couples (spouses it it off too).

    Even as strong as that friendship grew and I already considered her my sister by choice, it was when my Mom came to live with us after cancer surgery and the onset of Alzheimer, that the true meaning of friends to family came to mean so much in my heart. While others faded into the background when we could no longer go and do like before, she was faithful there encouraging me, lifting me up and just being there allowing me to cry, vent, or just to be distracted. Other than hubby, she has been the most important person outside of my immediate family for now going on almost 35 years. We still talk at least once a week, and with our living in different states, we even manage to hook up somewhere (home or a meeting place mutually agreed upon) at least twice a year. She’s the one that I know if I need to talk to someone, she’s there putting aside whatever is going on in her life and giving me her full attention – whether it’s for a funny or a serious talk. I know I can depend on her to be there, to have my back and willing to lend a hand. There’s no greatly love than when we know we can always know someone will be there for you – through thick and thin.

    Thank you for the fabulous chance to win a hardcover copy of “Murder at a London Finishing School”! Absolutely LOVE the Beryl and Edwina stories and can’t wait for the opportunity to read and review this one.
    2clowns at arkansas dot net

  17. My favorite teacher was exceptional and special. She devoted a great deal of time and effort when I had any difficulties. I think of her often and I hope that she had a long and successful career and enjoyable life. She was an actor too and participated in theatre.

  18. It was my favorite teacher I had in seventh grade Mrs.Megan. She touch my heart. She always was very dynamic in her teaching . I will always remember her.

  19. Many years ago I was fortunate to meet a girl my age whom I befriended. She was trustworthy, fun, and we had a great deal in common. I regret losing touch with her as we moved away and grew older. I think of her frequently and would love to meet her once again.

  20. Congratulations, Jessie! I cannot wait to read Murder at a London Finishing School. I have a number of favorite teachers from first grade to college, and I often look back on what I learned from them fondly.

  21. JESSIE: Congratulations on the latest book!
    I had several influential teachers. Mr. Preece was my geography teacher from grades 7-9. He encouraged my passion for learning about other places & was a big supporter in my decision to study geography/environmental studies at university. Mrs. Shields was my English teacher from grades 7-9. She encouraged my love of reading mysteries & taught me the importance of writing good book reviews from a young age.

  22. Congratulations on the new book! I had lots of wonderful teachers. I especially remember my eighth grade teacher. She was so nice and let me borrow her very own copy of O. Henry stories because our school library was small and I’d read pretty much everything in there by the eighth grade. It made me feel very special that she would trust me like that.

  23. In the eighth grade, I met a new classmate named Becky. She started off being a casual friend, but, over the years, she became more and more important to me. Looking back now, I see that she has always been my best friend, although I did not begin calling her my best friend until later on in our lives. She is still my best friend today! I thank God for blessing me with such a wonderful friendship.

  24. Congratulations on your new book! My favorite teacher was my high school English teacher! Thanks so much for the chance!

  25. When I was in 8th grade we went on a bus trip to attend a Shakespeare play. I wanted to sit with my friend Amy, but she sat with someone else and I ended up sitting with Susan, the younger sister of a classmate. I have no memory of which play we saw, but almost 60 years later Susan’s still one of my closest friends!

    I’ve had a number of wonderful teachers, but my chorus teacher, Mr. Arnold, has to have been my favorite. He was honored at the school last year over 50 years after my graduation and I was pleased to attend a celebratory dinner and the tribute at the school.

    I love Edwina and Beryl, can’t wait to read the new book!

  26. What a delight it is to have another Edwina and Beryl book to read! I have a friend that I first met in 7th Grade and we are still Dear Friends through all the years since that time!

  27. Congratulations, Jessie! I love this series, and look forward to this.

    When I moved to Maryland, I was going into 9th grade. Not a great time to upend my life. In homeroom I noticed a very cool girl putting on lipstick. She smiled and said “hey”. I think we even had lunch that first day. Cut to over 40 years later and she’s still my best friend.

  28. Since I had preordered the audio book of this, it was a nice surprise to have it on my phone this morning! Just in time to listen on the way to work. I always enjoy time spent with Berle and Edwina!

  29. I did have 2 teachers that I thought more of than any others. I truly liked my math teacher when I was a freshman even though math was not my best subject. But I thought the world of my American History teacher that same year. I’m not sure if my love of history came because of her or if my fondness for her came because she was my history teacher. Maybe a little bit of both. I would really like to read your series because I truly think I would thoroughly enjoy it. I hope I win a copy because that will be the catalyst to get me to read one of the books. I have received a book as a gift or won a giveaway before and I ended up buying all the previous books in the series more often than not. I just needed that little push I got when I got one given to me. I was bullied when I was in school because I was fat. Having been the overweight target of more than one bully who liked making themselves feel better by tearing someone else down I think I’d like a story with a school bully. Congratulations on yet another release. My fingers are crossed for your giveaway!

  30. My first grade teacher – she took the class on a trip to the newly opened branch library. With my new library card, I checked out my first book. Since then, I visit the library 2-3 times/month.

  31. My favorite teacher was Mrs. Campbell. If it hadn’t been for her I wouldn’t be the reader I am today.

  32. I was fortunate enough to be an early reader of this book. I love it!! Think I read it in one sitting.
    I had two fantastic teachers. In third grade, I had Mrs. App who was the first lay teacher I ever had. She was so kind and understanding to this nerdy, insecure, inferior feeling me. I loved her. The other was my Sophomore English teacher who was a former disc jockey, and was the cause of me meeting my eventual husband (many years later.) He was just such an excellent teacher. No other teacher could live up to his standards.

  33. Congratulations on the new book! I was fortunate to have many wonderful teachers but it all started with Mrs. Montgomery. She was my kindergarten teacher and a pioneer in teaching young children and introducing them to school (before so many children went to daycare). Since we lived in a college town she helped train many student teachers. It was a delight for this freckle-faced youngster to be told that freckles were kisses from the sun. She was so kind and all the children loved her, even the ones who weren’t in her class. I will never forget how kindly she treated my neighbors (a pair of brothers) and consoled them at their mom’s funeral when we were in junior high school. Gladys Montgomery was one in a million!

  34. My favorite teacher was my English teacher in high school. She really made literature come alive for me.

  35. Happy book birthday! Yes. I have a favorite teacher. She was Mrs. Peters. She taught 5-6 grade. Since I excelled in school, she would give me some additional work that was on the 6th grade level. I was in 5th grade during the bicentennial (1976). We made a cross stitch quilt that year that was used by the PTA as a raffle prize. I even was able to help quilt some of it. Thank you so much for sharing. God bless you.

  36. I did have a favorite teacher, Miss Deeb. I remember that her classes were always fun.

  37. My favorite teacher was in 4th grade (Miss Liston)…she recognized I had a talent for Math & encouraged me to “keep at it” (I became an accountant so she was right)…

  38. My two favorite teachers were both English teachers at my high school. No surprise I guess that I, too, became a high school English teacher! I loved every subject from mythology to Shakespeare! Both Ms. M. and Mrs. S brought every book and play to life for me.

  39. I enrolled as a journalism major at the University of Maine when I was seventeen. I took a class in Direct Communications that made me realize I would never be a journalist but I also took creative writing that same semester. The professor would pick one student’s essay per class and hand it out to everyone. One day she picked mine. It was about the study habits of college students…one I named Helen Highlighter”…the professor gave me a “B” on the paper and I loved the class. At the end of the semester, she met with me privately and suggested I might consider writing…alas I became a social worker…who now in her 50s is back into writing…and wishing her seventeen year old self had listened better..

  40. I just finished the first book in the series, although I do have other books in the series acquired from my library’s sale rack. I greatly enjoyed the book and look forward to working my way through the other books.

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