The Lawns bunch are still my favourites and always will be. Until I can find that illustrator who can bring their faces to life (call me) I’ve borrowed some appropriate faces from some very famous actors to introduce the family pretty much as I see them. I couldn’t find anyone with the right hair for Edge, thank goodness we all have imaginations. Edge’s hair is shoulder-length and usually twisted casually up out of the way on top of her head, but I’m sure Ann-Margaret had her reasons for not adopting such a convenient hairstyle.
ABOUT THE BOOKS
Each novella in the series is a stand-alone adventure, they don’t have to be read in strict order. Certain red herrings in early books do somewhat lose their impact if you know they can’t possibly have been the murderer since you’ve seen them still doing the social in a later book. The books are cheerful and based as much on the interaction of the characters as on the murders, they are gore / porn / obscenity free (hey! come back!) and although the plotting and revealing of the murders was a deadly serious business to me, if I did the job halfway right it should all happen effortlessly in the reading.
Each Lawns book has its own clickable cover in the margin which will take you to the closest sale point but they are described in brief outline below, with clickable links. The first three Lawns books are also available in a $3 bundle on this link Omnibus (1 2, 3 4, 5 6)
ONE TWO BUCKLE MY SHOE is a breezy whodunit set in a slightly eccentric retirement home after the murder of an unpopular resident. The police could do with a little inside help at Grasshopper Lawns, and fortunately Sergeant Kirsty Cameron’s semi-retired Aunt Edge is right on the spot. She and her friends hadn’t any intention of interfering in the solving of the case. Piecing together scraps of information was intriguing, though. And they did keep coming across facts that no-one had given to the police –
THREE FOUR KNOCK ON MY DOOR – living within easy distance of Edinburgh as they do, the residents of the Lawns inevitably find themselves very popular with family and friends from abroad around Festival time. But the Festival is in August. Here it is, only February, and all sorts of visitors are coming knocking. A devoted handsome nephew for Sylvia, the enigmatic Dallas from Louisiana with life-changing news for Vivian; Death, complete with scythe, was certainly the most startling.
FIVE SIX PICK UP STICKS – Edge is unofficially and temporarily brought onto the Force to help smoke out a ruthless killer preying on wealthy widows through the singles websites. She’ll be monitored at all times, so absolutely nothing can go wrong … this has proved the most popular book so far, and it was the obvious interest in second-timer websites which first sparked A Second Rainbow.
SEVEN EIGHT PLAY IT STRAIGHT Edge’s actress stepdaughter is performing in a successful Fringe show during the Edinburgh Festival, which attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors and is always a busy family time at Grasshopper Lawns. Long-standing hostilities are set aside when a violent and bloody killing strikes all too close to home, but the temporary truce doesn’t last after Fiona accuses Edge of the murder.
NINE TEN BEGIN AGAIN there are, unsurprisingly, murky goings-on at the Grasshopper Lawns retirement village, but for once they’re not getting the attention they deserve. Between Edge, to her own astonishment, falling head over heels in love, and Vivian terrifying her friends by nearly dying of pneumonia, they’ve definitely taken their eyes off the ball. Can they settle down and get on with the job in hand in time? Well of course they can, they’re old hands at this by now. But it’s a close-run thing.
ELEVEN TWELVE DIG AND DELVE (the Halloween edition) is a cross-genre mystery which has delighted some readers and horrified others. There’s a newcomer at the Grasshopper Lawns retirement village, and she’s an absolute battle-axe. One requirement of residency is to have an interesting past and Beulah Quinn’s past has been interesting to the point of scandalous. Now nearly eighty, she was notorious for her lovers and her political machinations and has been described variously as the most beautiful woman of her day, a widow-maker, and a full-blown witch. Now, though, someone is trying to kill her; and family is family. To Edge’s horror, her aunt is moving in.
THIRTEEN FOURTEEN MAIDS A’COURTING Kirsty, Edge’s lovely young niece, is taking a brief holiday break from her job with Police Scotland to be wooed in the romantic surroundings of the beautiful island of Tenerife. Instead Drew vanishes, leaving her alone in the Canaries, unable to speak a word of Spanish and finding little professional cooperation being offered by the multiple policing services on the island. Edge and her friends are quick to the rescue but was Drew the real target, or just the bait?
FIFTEEN SIXTEEN MAIDS IN THE KITCHEN is the first of the series in the classic format, a country house, a houseful of guests, even a body in the library, and it all happens because William inherits a somewhat baronial shooting lodge from his decidedly eccentric uncle. Uncle was an illusionist, something of a genius in creating optical and mechanical illusions, and the attempts of William, Vivian, Donald and Edge to solve the case are definitely hampered by Robertson Manor’s peculiarities.
SEVENTEEN EIGHT PAST LIES WAITING , as the title implies, has its roots in the past. The main one is an old friend who killed a man accidentally in her early twenties and has now killed one deliberately and needs help. Not for herself, she has always been fiercely independent, but for Donald’s biological son . . .
NINETEEN TWENTY MY PLATE IS EMPTY Life has always piled generous helpings on Edge’s plate and she doesn’t cope at all well when she’s the victim of an embezzler. Even worse, the man the police were tracking turns up dead, and the trail goes cold – until a friend travelling in Europe spots the wrong person in the wrong place and the hunt is back on. The last book in the series deals with relationships, the baggage we all carry, our hopes, our fears – and a series of murders which only the most experienced armchair detective could solve before the friends do. You have been challenged.
There’s been something of a pause since then, as in 2017 I went a little mad and moved to Spain. In retrospect it was signalled a long time ago, Spain was mentioned in the very first book, although at the time I had visited once and been underwhelmed. Life can be very strange.
I found Spain hard going at first. If only there had been a book to teach me not only some basic Spanish but also a guide to settling in… in the end I wrote one and at some point Pidgin Spanish will be joining the stable – it is with beta readers now (both English and Spanish-speaking) and is pencilled in for publication in late summer, around the anniversary of my own arrival.