It’s a real pleasure today to be part of the blog tour for Old Cases, New Colours (A Dudley Green Investigation) by Madalyn Morgan: it was published for kindle on 25th March and is available via Amazon in the UK (currently just 99p – and free via Kindle Unlimited) and the US, and I’m sure it won’t be too long until it’s also available in paperback. My thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for the invitation and support.
Madalyn’s books aren’t entirely what I usually choose to read, but I’ve thoroughly enjoyed a few of them now. Having really liked her first book, Foxden Acres (you’ll find a short review here – along with a 2018 interview), I then went on to read Chasing Ghosts, and enjoyed it even more (you’ll find my review here).
Old Cases, New Colours is technically the ninth book in the Dudley Sisters saga, but don’t let that put you off for an instant – each book is complete in itself, and can be read as a stand-alone. The last book of Madalyn’s that I read was There Is No Going Home (it was excellent, and you’ll find my review here), a sequel to The 9.45 to Bletchley, but not having read the earlier book didn’t matter one bit.
It looks as if this book brings some changes to Ena’s life…
Sick of working in a world of spies and bureaucracy, Ena Green, nee Dudley, leaves the Home Office and starts her own investigating agency.
Working for herself she can choose which investigations to take and, more importantly, which to turn down.
While working on two investigations, Ena is called as a prosecution witness in the Old Bailey trial of a cold-blooded killer who she exposed as a spy the year before.
I’m so sorry I couldn’t read this book in time for the blog tour – but I’ve purchased my e-copy and will look forward to sharing a review (hopefully) in April. Until then, it’s a delight to welcome the author as my guest, with a post she’s called “A Sense of Place and Family”.
When I began writing The Dudley Sisters Saga, I decided to set the first novel Foxden Acres, which introduces the Dudley sisters, in a place that I knew. So, I based the story in Misterton and Walcote, where I was born and where my late grandfather had been Head Groom on the Cromwell Estate after the First World War. Twenty years later, in World War Two, there were two Commonwealth Aerodromes – Bruntingthorpe and Bitteswell. I felt the local setting would give the stories a sense of place and reality.
I set the second book Applause in London where I had lived for thirty years and, like Margot Dudley, had worked as an actress in West End theatres. The fictional theatre, The Prince Albert Theatre on the Strand, is a combination of two theatres where I worked in the 1980s – The Vaudeville Theatre and the Adelphi. To my knowledge, there has never been a Prince Albert Theatre in London.
I made some minor changes to the names of local towns and villages in case there was someone, or a relative of someone, with the same name as one of my characters. I called the village of Walcote, the fictional village in Foxden Acres, Woodcote. The market town of Lutterworth, where I was brought up and where in the novel, The 9:45 To Bletchley, Ena Dudley works in an engineering factory is called, Lowarth. St. Leonard’s church at Misterton, where Margot Dudley is married – and where the Dudley family worship on Sundays – is Misterton church. Misterton Hall became Foxden Hall, and the Misterton Estate, Foxden Acres.
Foxden Hall, the fictional hall in Foxden Acres, is owned by Mrs Heather Craven. Heather’s husband bought Misterton Hall and its extensive acreage in the mid-1960s. I was unable to find a photograph of the hall for the cover of Foxden Hotel, the sequel to Foxden Acres, so I telephoned Heather and asked if she had a photograph of the hall that she’d be willing to sell me. She invited me to tea and showed me lots of photographs, some of which seemed familiar. There was nothing quite right so she suggested I took my own photograph, which I did. When I had finished taking pictures, Heather joined me by the lake. Walking back to the hall I reminded her that when I was a Saturday girl in a hairdressing salon in 1965, I used to wash her hair. We laughed and chatted about all the things that had happened to us since then.
That day, walking around the grounds of Misterton Hall, I had a feeling of déjà vu. The house, the lake, the steps leading from the French windows to the tailored lawn, where in the last Century peacocks strutted, was just as I had described it in Foxden Acres. When I told Heather, she was as amazed as I was. She then took me to see where my grandfather, who had died before I was born, worked as the head groom from 1918 to 1939. Flats had been built above the stables, where, in Grandad’s day, the grooms and lads slept, but the stables were still there. She showed me a foaling stable and then took me to the main stables where my grandfather would have groomed his horse. I stood where he had once stood. The experience was very moving.
Thank you, Maddie – and what a lovely story. I’ll look forward to reading about Ena’s latest adventures as soon as I possibly can…
About the author
I was bought up in a pub in a small market town called Lutterworth. For as long as I can remember, my dream was to be an actress and a writer. The pub was a great place for an aspiring actress and writer to live with so many characters to study and accents to learn. I was offered Crossroads the first time around. However, my mother wanted me to have a ‘proper’ job that I could fall back on if I needed to, so I did a hairdressing apprenticeship. Eight years later, aged twenty-four, I gave up a successful salon and wig-hire business in the theatre for a place at East 15 Drama College and a career as an actress, working in Repertory theatre, the West End, film and television.
In 1995, with fewer parts for older actresses, I gave up acting. I taught myself to touch-type, completed a two-year correspondence course with The Writer’s Bureau and began writing articles and presenting radio.
In 2010, after living in London for thirty-six years, I moved back to Lutterworth. I swapped two window boxes and a mortgage for a garden and the freedom to write. Since then, I have written nine novels. The first four, The Dudley Sisters’ Saga, tell the stories of four sisters in World War 2. My current novel, Old Cases, New Colours, is a thriller/detective story set in 1960. I am writing a Christmas book – Christmas Applause – and a Memoir; a collection of short stories, articles, poems, photographs and character breakdowns from my days as an actress.
My earlier books are all available on Amazon – in paperback and for kindle.