Monday, 6 February 2017

Get ready for adventure in a new thrilling detective series for young readers. Meet Rose Raventhorpe!

We love a fantastic and original detective yarn or two here on the blog, as you've probably noticed.

Doubly so if the detective in question is a mighty young lady who knows her own mind.

We're happy to share with you the new cover with art by super-talented Lisa Horton for "Rose Raventhorpe Investigates: Black Cats and Butlers" by Janine Beacham!

In the story, young Rose is drawn into a mystery as several butlers - including her own faithful man friday - are mysteriously murdered.

Rose must try and untangle a densely woven plot or two against the atmospheric backdrop of Yorke.

Can Rose get to the bottom of the mystery, before she too ends up like Argyle?

This stunning debut by Australian author Janine Beacham is definitely one for the curious, who love stories that are a little dark and a little different.

In Janine's own words, here's the story behind Rose Raventhorpe's debut adventure...

The story behind Rose Raventhorpe

When I was a kid I found a competition on the back of a cereal box. WIN A BUTLER FOR A WEEK, it said. ‘Tell us why you would like a butler!’

It sounded fun. I asked my mum if I could enter. ‘A butler would never come here!’ she said.

We lived on a dairy farm in Western Australia. We had haybales, cows, chickens, swooping magpies, and poisonous snakes. It was great, but it was not butler-like territory. The idea of a butler cleaning our house, serving a posh dinner, and saying ‘yes, Madam,’ appealed to me. We didn’t have a lot of posh things.

So I entered the competition. I wrote about the butler being able to help my mother. It wasn’t a very good entry. I didn’t win.

But the idea stayed with me. What if a butler did come to a house like ours? What would he do? What would my ideal butler be like?

I imagined a butler called Heddsworth. He would be English, because all the butlers in books and TV and movies were English. He would be very polite. He would call me Miss. He would polish the ute, and feed the farm dog from a silver bowl. And, I decided, he would be an excellent swordsman and shot.

I tried to write a story about this, but it lacked something. What I liked most about Heddsworth was his duelling skills. And he had nobody to duel on a farm. So I put the story aside.

Many, many years later, I read the Harry Potter books. They were inspiring. If JK Rowling could make such a success of a book about wizards, maybe I could write about duelling butlers!

So I tried a new version of the story. This time I set it in Victorian England. I needed a plot, and a young protagonist. A murder mystery would do. A butler would be killed – the heroine’s butler.

I had a new story, but it STILL wasn’t all that good. What was missing?

I went on holidays to the UK, and a friend told me I should visit York. I did. As soon as I stepped off the bus into the city, I saw a cat statue on a wall. And I had an epiphany. This was where I would set the book! My heroine would be called Rose, because she was from York. The butlers would live in an alternative version of York. Yorke with an E!

I added grave-robbers, and a magician, and underground tunnels and cat statues with eerie powers. I rewrote and polished and thought and wrote. And the story that came out of a cereal box became my first published book.

"Black Cats and Butlers" - Book one in the "Rose Raventhorpe Investigates" series is out on the 9th March 2017, published by Little, Brown.