Well that’s what I have been doing. I’ve been talking at a whole host of events and visits to all sorts of groups and at lots of different locations from libraries to bookshop to housing complexes. Anywhere that people want to hear about the ‘Disappeared Department Stores of Edinburgh’ and my inadvertent wandering into this area of social history I’ll be rabbiting on. Its been a two way street too: I’ve heard fascinating reminiscences of people’s experiences on both sides of the counter in these wonderful old stores. I’d never have guessed that my novels would lead to this interesting new facet to life.
A few more events coming up. Hello Leith Rotary tonight and Morningside Library next week. Already lots of bookings for the autumn and next spring too. Just have to get this next knee replacement out of the way. Oh well. I’ll have lots to think about during my enforced convalescence.
(The rabbit featured is a carnelian netsuke that I’m very fond of.)
The attentive reader will have noted that the first book in this series: ‘Our Best Attention’ featured a variety of animals: an embarrassing dog, a quiet cat, some cheeky monkeys (always the best!), chinchillas, quail and a Mynah bird. The little monkey draped over the title was a clue to the inclusion of animals.
In Book 2 ‘Assured Attention’, there are cats again, one, Bluebell, is Miss Murray’s own pet but a new visitor to Murrays ‘Department Store of Distinction’ has a chapter of her own. This time it is she who adorns the title of the new book. Look out for the little Birman. Not all the staff at Murrays will have only two legs by the end of the book.
A dog features too. This time a rather depressed collie. Sad you might think, however, he has a starring and unexpected role in a staff selection dilemma. Warning- its not what you might expect!
‘Assured Attention’ is available for pre order on Amazon Kindle and will be released to coincide with the official launch on 31st July.
Its all go at Murray’s -department store of distinction. Book 2 is well under way. For readers keen to find out how our various friends among the staff and customers are getting on here’s a wee peep into the future.
Miss Murray and Mrs Pegram go on holiday: will it turn out to be a busman’s one? Difficult Mr Da Costa from Model Gowns finds a fine romance. The Tea Room ladies get up to more (barely legal) tricks and Barry Hughes, head of security, continues much as usual and struggles to get to the bottom of another crime potentially affecting the entire future of the shop.
Some new characters turn up in different departments and we meet the first winner of the “Margaret Murray Prize for Staff Initiative.” There’s an afternoon at the staff garden party at Rosehill and a few surprising arrivals- not all two legged ones.
The store itself is under scrutiny by a documentary crew. The final outcome is a surprise for someone: Murrays serves a good helping of ‘come uppance’ for one deserving person.
Until Book 2 is published there will be the occasional short story here to keep people up to date with developments in the best store in Edinburgh.
Crackers about animals? Well yes I am. Just as I can’t imagine life without them, I couldn’t imagine not writing some animal characters into the book: “Our Best Attention.”
In Chapter 1 Bluebell, Miss Murray’s cat, already displays behaviour familiar to all cat lovers: affection and dignity, as well as a determination to outwit Mrs Glen the housekeeper (not a cat fan!)
Sabre, the diminutive security dog , written about in Chapter 8 is a particular favourite.He’s an uneasy mixture of Dachshund and Corgi who happily accompanies his timid master through the dark of night at Murray’s. He doesn’t mind Stan having to sing hymns loudly to stave off terrors. Undoubtedly he’s that poor man’s best friend.
Meanwhile in Chapter 15, Henry the Mynah bird, while not strictly speaking an animal, is a big personality. He delights in whistling and singing “Scotland the Brave” while also terrifying pensioners by his extremely accurate impressions of an elderly person swearing floridly. A bird in a million.
Of the other animals I’ll say no more but will leave them for readers to discover for themselves.
Already in Book 2 currently in production, I have included several animals: a little Birman cat called Yum Yum and a black and white collie with depression. More will undoubtedly follow.