Competition time – enter to win a wonderful collection of historical mystery books including The Custard Corpses

There’s still time to enter the competition to win a set of historical fiction novels, including The Custard Corpses.

For full details, hop on over to The History Quill. (Open to UK and US entrants – please read full T & Cs).

You have until 3pm GMT on 16th December to enter. Good luck:)

It’s History Writers Day on Twitter this weekend (so 2 days:))

HistoryBookChat over on twitter has organised a monumental weekend of promotions from history writers and publishers over the weekend 27th and 28th November 2021, and I’m taking part too.

As part of the weekend, I will be offering the chance to buy paperbacks directly from me, which I can sign and dedicate as desired. I have a good collection of many of my books – and particularly The Ninth Century and The Erdington Mysteries, as well as Lady Estrid, available. (If you would like a different title, do just send me an email or a tweet and I will see what I have for you.)

I won’t be charging tonnes for these – just enough to cover postage and production costs. If you’re in the UK, every book will be £10.00 including postage – if your order is for more than one book, I will offer a postage discount. If you’re further afield, I will calculate the cheapest and securest way of getting the books to you.

If you don’t want a book, but would like something signed, I also have some postcards, admittedly showing the old Ninth Century covers, which I can pop in the post for minimal cost. (I will accept payments via my Paypal account so nothing too complicated there, and I believe I will be able to send invoices for purchases.)

And now, I’d like to share with my readers, not one new book, but instead two (well one is a short story in a larger collection.)


Firstly, The Automobile Assassination.

If you want to see my inspiration for writing the book, then click here. If you would like to enter a competition to be in with a chance of winning a signed paperback of The Automobile Assassination, then please enter via rafflecopter here.

Erdington, September 1944

As events in Europe begin to turn in favour of the Allies, Chief Inspector Mason of Erdington Police Station is once more prevailed upon to solve a seemingly impossible case.

Called to the local mortuary where a man’s body lies, shockingly bent double and lacking any form of identification, Mason and O’Rourke find themselves at Castle Bromwich aerodrome seeking answers that seem out of reach to them. The men and women of the royal air force stationed there are their prime suspects. Or are they? Was the man a spy, killed on the orders of some higher authority, or is the place his body was found irrelevant? And why do none of the men and women at the aerodrome recognise the dead man?

Mason, fearing a repeat of the cold case that dogged his career for two decades and that he’s only just solved, is determined to do all he can to uncover the identity of the dead man, and to find out why he was killed and abandoned in such a bizarre way, even as Smythe demands he spends his time solving the counterfeiting case that is leaving local shopkeepers out of pocket.

Join Mason and O’Rourke as they once more attempt to solve the impossible in 1940s Erdington.

You can find The Automobile Assassination on Amazon, here and book 1 in the series, The Custard Corpses, is currently 99p and equivalent if you want to start at the beginning.


And now to my second book, or rather, short story collection, and the perfect way to get a taste of the Aspects of History authors, Iron and Gold, newly released on 25th November in ebook format on Amazon. Do please visit the website to find a whole swathe of author interviews and short stories, as well as book reviews from the Aspects of History authors.

‘A veritable medieval banquet… An array of accomplished authors, covering an array of stories, which should introduce different readerships to each other.’ Richard Foreman

Aspects of History, the new hub for history and historical fiction, are proud to publish Iron & Gold.

The collection covers tales from both the medieval era and the medieval world, written by a number of bestselling authors in the genre – including Theodore Brun, Philip Gooden and Anne O’Brien.

Many of the stories include famous characters from popular series, as well as famous and infamous figures from history including Chaucer, King Edward and the Merovingian dynasty.

Read your favourite authors or be introduced to new ones.

Beware the Storm, by Paul Bernardi

The Tale of Fredegar’s Bane, by Theodore Brun

The Eyrie, by Paula de Fougerolles

The Miracle, by Philip Gooden

The Quality of Mercy, by Anne O’Brien

To be a King, by MJ Porter

Another Blackbird Field, by Peter Sandham

Iron and Gold is currently available as an ebook and can be read free with #KindleUnlimited. The paperback will be released in the coming weeks.

My story, is an Earls of Mercia short, told from a character’s viewpoint I’ve never explored before. I hope you enjoy it.


I hope you enjoy all the links here, and find something new to read. And, do consider signing up for my newsletter if you want to keep up to date with new releases and other developments. Enjoy the rest of History Writers Day and thank you to @Books2cover for organising such a great event.

It’s release day for The Automobile Assassination

Today is the release day for The Automobile Assassination, the sequel to The Custard Corpses, and just like The Custard Corpses, my inspiration for writing book 2 in my Erdington Mysteries was a little strange.

Where to start? Well, I think with a few images of one of the main inspirations behind the book – just check the cover.

And then a few more, which also feature on the cover.

And also, with a little video, found over on YouTube, which is wonderful to watch, and so very ‘British’ and of it’s time.

I don’t think I ever knew about the AA sentry boxes before I was pointed in their direction having watched a TV show about the AA motorbikes and sidecars which were made in Small Heath, Birmingham. I was amazed to discover that I lived close to one of the few remaining sentry boxes, in the care of Historic England, which I then had to visit. These bastions of a by-gone age, and there are only 19 of them still in the ‘wild’ throughout the UK, mostly in the north of England, Scotland, and the south-west of England, speak of a time before mobile phones made them just about obsolete.

Having used the wonderful Bird’s Custard adverts as a basis for book 1, I decided that these AA sentry boxes, and their motorbikes and sidecars (known as RSOs, or Roadside Service Outfits) would have to feature strongly in the new book. To find out how I did that, you’ll have to read The Automobile Assassination because I don’t want to give anything away about the story.

I also invested in some period maps in an attempt to not make any monumental mistakes as after World War 2, the road network expanded and a new system of road classification was developed. I have to say, the font was very small on the maps and made it quite hard to read them. I would also say that eBay is a wonderful resource for such items.

Period maps and ration books used in writing The Automobile Assassination

To celebrate the release, I am giving away 2 signed paperback copies of The Automobile Assassination (INT). To enter, please visit Rafflecopter.

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/d2e7f7ef4/?

(Competition entry rules – competition runs from 25th November to 1st December 2021. Open internationally. Simply follow my twitter account to be entered for a chance with a win. I will contact winners for postage details via twitter, and will also announce the winners on my twitter feed. Good luck.)

I really hope you enjoy The Automobile Assassination, and for the audiobook fan, I can assure you that the audio is complete and just going through some final checks before being released.

Welcome to today’s stop on the blog tour for A Mystery of Murder by Helen Hollick

Today, I’m delighted to welcome Helen Hollick to the blog with a post about her new 1970s murder mystery, A Mystery of Murder.

Thank you so much for inviting me onto your blog – I think my Coffee Pot Book Club tour for A Mystery Of Murder has gone well so far!

So, what is the hardest thing about writing a cozy mystery series? They are usually short, novella length stories (between 40 – 70 thousand words) with an amateur sleuth protagonist (often female) and a ‘light-hearted’ feel to them. They should not contain anything too explicit for language, sex or situations – and must be an enjoyable read of course. (Even though there’s a murder involved, not necessarily an ‘enjoyable’ topic!) I won’t say ‘easy-peasy’ to all that but as I was having fun writing the first in the Jan Christopher Mysteries (A Mirror Murder) and this second instalment, A Mystery Of Murder,  everything fell nicely into place.

The difficult bits were ensuring the period detail was correct.

The series is set in the 1970s, which is when I worked in a north London public library as a fairly shy, latter-end teenager. And I was amazed to realise how much I had forgotten about the early ’70s – either that, or I was more naïve than I realised back then! I remember the three-day week here in England, caused by strikes which then led to scheduled power cuts, but I don’t remember evenings without TV or using candles to light the house. Mind you, we only had one black and white TV back then, no additional sets in the bedroom or kitchen. Only one phone as well – a landline mobile, cell phones were only a gadget on Star Trek. MacDonald’s was still a novelty, package holiday trips were only just becoming popular, and my monthly wage was about £100. £25 a week. That doesn’t sound much now, but back then, I felt rich.

South Chingford Library Photo © A Morton

I‘m finding that I have to be as diligent researching my facts for this series as I am with my ‘serious’ historical fiction or for my nautical Sea Witch pirate adventures. Get the facts wrong and there’s bound to be at least one reader who spots it. 

I did make one blooper in A Mirror Murder, but I’ve let it be, as the person who mentioned the error also said ‘I doubt anyone else will know, I only do because I worked for the company.’ Flash floor cleaner. The original cleaner that is. I put ‘lavender’ as the aroma. Apparently they only had pine in 1971. Who’d have thought!

Taw Valley

I like putting a few little titbits of information in these books as a sideline of flavour for the period, or just for interest. For this second episode, for instance, do you know where the term ‘bonfire’ comes from? Or why you see so many daffodils in the hedgerows in the Devon and Cornwall countryside? No? Well, I’m going to be mean – you’ll have to read (and enjoy, I hope) the book to find out the answers!

So it only goes to show that memory is not always a reliable research tool. Where to go for ‘fact checking’ though? I was lucky enough to track down a few people who remembered enough to at last set me on the right path. I needed to know when our nearest railway station became ‘unmanned’ and a ‘request’ stop, (yes, today you have to request the train to stop at Umberleigh.) I browsed the internet, found some 1960s footage of the station, from there, contacted a lovely chap whose father used to be the station master. Then my chimney sweep happened to be a local policeman in the 1970s, and several people in my village recalled various bits of information. Off to the library for any books that had photographs of Barnstaple and South Molton (two North Devon towns).  I’ll be chatting to our next-door farmer soon for background information for my planned book four of the series – while haymaking this summer he happened to mention that he bought a new tractor in 1969 (information duly squirrelled away for possible use…!) 

Google for ‘1970s’ and lots of things pop up, but I specifically looked for fashion, kitchens, living rooms, and furniture. A lot of it was very ‘modern’ back then (very old fashioned now!) and much of it was plastic or vinyl. Bright colours, too, especially orange, which was something my cover designer, Cathy Helms of www.avalongraphics.org researched. 1970s popular colours. Hence the orange on the cover.

Flared trousers, fake fur hats. Plastic handbags… Thank goodness for the internet! 

If anyone has any specific memories of everyday life in the 1970s I’d love to hear from you! I can be contacted on author@helenhollick.net.

Thank you so much for sharing. Yes, I think memory can be a bit hazy sometimes, but it can also bring the delightful little details. My Dad was keen to inform me about the payment ‘shoots’ in the 1940s, whereby there was no til on the shop floor. Who knew? Good luck with the new book. I do like a good mystery.

Here’s the blurb:

‘Had I known what was to happen soon after we arrived at Mr and Mrs Walker’s lovely old West Country house, my apprehension about spending Christmas in Devon would have dwindled to nothing.’

Library Assistant Jan Christopher is to spend Christmas with her boyfriend, DS Laurie Walker and his family, but when a murder is discovered, followed by a not very accidental accident, the traditional Christmas spirit is somewhat marred… 

What happened to Laurie’s ex-girlfriend? Where is the vicar’s wife? Who took those old photographs? And will the farmer up the lane ever mend those broken fences? 

Set in 1971, this is the second Jan Christopher Cosy Mystery. Join her (and an owl and a teddy bear) in Devon for a Christmas to remember. 

Will the discovery of a murder spoil Christmas for Jan Christopher and her boyfriend DS Laurie Walker – or will it bring them closer together?

Buy Links:

Read for free with #KindleUnlimited subscription.

Universal Link:  

Amazon UKAmazon USAmazon CAAmazon AU: 

Goodreads

Meet the author

Helen Hollick and her family moved from north-east London in January 2013 after finding an eighteenth-century North Devon farm house through being a ‘victim’ on BBC TV’s popular Escape To The Country show. The thirteen-acre property was the first one she was shown – and it was love at first sight. She enjoys her new rural life, and has a variety of animals on the farm, including Exmoor ponies and her daughter’s string of show jumpers.

First accepted for publication by William Heinemann in 1993 – a week after her fortieth birthday – Helen then became a USA Today Bestseller with her historical novel, The Forever Queen (titled A Hollow Crown in the UK) with the sequel, Harold the King (US: I Am The Chosen King) being novels that explore the events that led to the Battle of Hastings in 1066. Her Pendragon’s Banner Trilogy is a fifth-century version of the Arthurian legend, and she also writes a pirate-based nautical adventure/fantasy series, The Sea Witch Voyages. Despite being impaired by the visual disorder of Glaucoma, she is also branching out into the quick read novella, ‘Cosy Mystery’ genre with the Jan Christopher Mysteries, set in the 1970s, with the first in the series, A Mirror Murder incorporating her, often hilarious, memories of working for thirteen years as a library assistant.

Her non-fiction books are Pirates: Truth and Tales and Life of A Smuggler. She also runs Discovering Diamonds, a review blog for historical fiction, a news and events blog for her village and the Community Shop, assists as ‘secretary for the day’ at her daughter’s regular showjumping shows – and occasionally gets time to write…

Connect with Helen

Website: TwitterFacebook

Amazon Author Page:  GoodreadsBlog

Newsletter Subscription

Don’t forget to check out the other stops on the A Mystery of Murder blog tour with The Coffee Pot Book Club

The Custard Corpses is on blog tour with Rachel’s Random Resources

I’m taking The Custard Corpses on blog tour with Rachel’s Random Resources. 30 bloggers over 10 days will share their thoughts and reviews on the ebook, paperback and audiobook. Massive thanks to Rachel for organising such a huge tour. I’m really excited to find out what people think of my slightly twisty 1940s mystery.

And, there’s a competition to win one of two copies of The Custard Corpses. Good luck. https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/33c69494455/

For those who’ve not read The Custard Corpses yet, here’s the blurb;

A delicious 1940s mystery.

Birmingham, England, 1943.

While the whine of the air raid sirens might no longer be rousing him from bed every night, a two-decade-old unsolved murder case will ensure that Chief Inspector Mason of Erdington Police Station is about to suffer more sleepless nights.

Young Robert McFarlane’s body was found outside the local church hall on 30th September 1923. But, his cause of death was drowning, and he’d been missing for three days before his body was found. No one was ever arrested for the crime. No answers could ever be given to the grieving family. The unsolved case has haunted Mason ever since.

But, the chance discovery of another victim, with worrying parallels, sets Mason, and his constable, O’Rourke, on a journey that will take them back over twenty-five years, the chance to finally solve the case, while all around them the uncertainty of war continues, impossible to ignore.

The Custard Corpses is available as an ebook, paperback, hardback and audiobook (Thank you to Matt Coles for doing such a fabulous job with the narration). And, I’ve written a sequel to. The Automobile Assassination which will release on 25th November 2021.

I’ll be adding links here as the tour progresses, and I want to say thank you to all the bloggers for taking a chance on The Custard Corpses.

Tuesday 16th November

https://whatcathyreadnext.wordpress.com

https://norwayellesea.blogspot.com/2021/11/book-blog-tour-stop-with-author-guest.html

Wednesday 17th November 2021

https://fourmoonreviews.blogspot.com/2021/11/the-custard-corpses-by-mj-porter-review.html

Thursday 18th November 2021

http://pettywitter.blogspot.com/2021/11/the-custard-corpses.html

Friday November 19th 2021

https://nickislifeofcrime.blogspot.com/2021/11/blogtour-book-excerpt-giveaway-custard.html

http://pettywitter.blogspot.com/2021/11/the-custard-corpses.html

Saturday 20th November 2021

https://chezmaximka.blogspot.com/2021/11/the-custard-corpses-by-mj-porter.html

http://www.booksarecool.com/2021/custard-corpses-delicious/

Sunday 21st November 2021

https://dogsmomvisits.blogspot.com/2021/11/the-custard-corpses-by-m-j-porter.html

https://www.jazzybookreviews.com/2021/11/the-custard-corpses-by-mj-porter-book.html

Monday 22nd November 2021

https://www.instagram.com/mickysbookworm/

https://www.jazzybookreviews.com/2021/11/the-custard-corpses-by-mj-porter-book.html

Tuesday 23rd November 2021

Wednesday 24th November 2021

https://wordpress.com/post/mjporterauthor.blog/3701

Thursday 25th November 2021

Huge thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for organising such a fantastic tour, and to all the tour hosts and reviewers for welcoming The Custard Corpses to their blogs.

Cover reveal for The Automobile Assassination (The Erdington Mysteries, book 2)

Today, I’m really excited to share the cover for my next 1940s mystery, The Automobile Assassination.

As ever, huge thanks to my fantastic cover designer, Shaun at Flintlock Covers, for making it looks so amazing.

The Automobile Assassination will be released on 25th November, and you can preorder it here. Or, if you’ve not yet caught up with book 1, The Custard Corpses, it’s just 99p/99c (US, Canada, Australia) and equivalent right now.

Book Review – The Man Who Died Twice by Richard Osman – Mystery

Here’s the blurb;

It’s the following Thursday.

Elizabeth has received a letter from an old colleague, a man with whom she has a long history. He’s made a big mistake, and he needs her help. His story involves stolen diamonds, a violent mobster, and a very real threat to his life.

As bodies start piling up, Elizabeth enlists Joyce, Ibrahim and Ron in the hunt for a ruthless murderer. And if they find the diamonds too? Well, wouldn’t that be a bonus?

But this time they are up against an enemy who wouldn’t bat an eyelid at knocking off four septuagenarians. Can the Thursday Murder Club find the killer (and the diamonds) before the killer finds them?

First things first, I’ve not read book 1, but I was curious to see what all the hype was about. It didn’t disappoint, but I did struggle to ‘get into’ the book. There’s some funny tenses and I don’t like books that haven’t decided what tense to write in:) I did get used to it, eventually, but I am curious to know if anyone else felt the same way I did.

The Man Who Died Twice is a well-told modern-day mystery featuring four friends in their 70s as they try and solve three interlinked mysteries surrounding some missing diamonds.

It is a good tale with characters that are well-drawn, although, on occasion, it is the ‘bit’ part players that speak more to the reader. (This may be because it’s a second book and everyone already knows them from book 1).

It is filled with twists and turns, although the reader does get to a part of the mystery long before the characters do, but with a nice little twist at the end.

An engaging story, which I read very quickly

Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for my review copy.

The Man Who Died Twice is out now in hardback, audio and ebook. You will enjoy it if you like a modern day, light hearted mystery.

Wolf at the Door by Sarah Hawkswood review and release day tour – historical mystery

Here’s the blurb:

1144. The body of Durand Wuduweard, the unpopular keeper of the King’s Forest of Feckenham, is discovered beside his hearth, his corpse rendered barely identifiable by sharp teeth. Hushed whispers of a man-wolf spread swiftly and Sheriff William de Beauchamp’s men, Bradecote and Catchpoll, have to find out who killed Durand and why, amidst superstitious villagers, raids upon manors and further grim deaths. Who commands the wolf, and where will its fangs strike next?

Wolf at the Door is my second Bradecote and Catchpoll book, and I was excited to receive an advanced copy of it. (I’m starting to collect the ‘back’ catalogue’ as well.)

This time, the pair, well the three of them including Wakelin, are sent to discover the truth about a particularly gruesome murder, where a wolf is suspected (hence the title). What follows is a tightly constructed story where the three follow leads, some dead ends, and interact with a deliciously mixed group of people living in Worcester and the environs in the 1100s.

I love the historical elements of the story, deeply rooted in the time, with King Stephen a spectre who could appear at any time, although he hasn’t, not yet. There is more from the Sheriff of Worcester, rather than the undersheriff than in the previous book I read, and he too is an excellent character. Hats off for the mixture of Old English and Norman names, aptly highlighting the split in society, and for deciding that ‘Foreign’ cursing isn’t quite as colourful as a bit of English cursing – (well, Catchpoll makes that observation).

An intriguing story, the mystery kept me intrigued and the ending was excellent. I look forward to the next in the series.

Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for my review copy. A firm 5/5 from me.

Wolf at the Door is released today, 19th August and can be purchased here. And the publisher are running a fantastic giveaway which can be entered here to win a set of signed Bradecote and Catchpoll books.

The Custard Corpses is now available as an audiobook

I’m really pleased to be able to share with you that the audio version of The Custard Corpses is now available from Audible and Amazon, and can be read as part of an Audible membership subscription. If you don’t have one yet, you can sign up here, or it is available to purchase without a subscription

Matt Coles has produced a fantastic narration for Mason, O’Rourke, Smythe and Hamish. I hope you enjoy it. There’s a sample below the cover image.

Here’s the blurb:

A delicious 1940s mystery.

Birmingham, England, 1943.

While the whine of the air raid sirens might no longer be rousing him from bed every night, a two-decade-old unsolved murder case will ensure that Chief Inspector Mason of Erdington Police Station is about to suffer more sleepless nights.

Young Robert McFarlane’s body was found outside the local church hall on 30th September 1923. But, his cause of death was drowning, and he’d been missing for three days before his body was found. No one was ever arrested for the crime. No answers could ever be given to the grieving family. The unsolved case has haunted Mason ever since.

But, the chance discovery of another victim, with worrying parallels, sets Mason, and his constable, O’Rourke, on a journey that will take them back over twenty-five years, the chance to finally solve the case, while all around them the uncertainty of war continues, impossible to ignore.

And don’t forget, it’s also available as an ebook, paperback and hardback from Amazon.

New Release alert and book review – Death at the Mint by Christine Hancock – historical mystery (tenth century)

Today, I’m really excited to spotlight Death at the Mint by Christine Hancock. Christine writes the Byrhtnoth Chronicles set in the middle of the tenth century, but in Death at the Mint, she has taken one of our favourite characters and allowed him to solve an intriguing mystery.

Here’s the blurb:

“When Wulfstan swore revenge on his enemy, he expected to die. Now that man is dead.
Far to the south, another body is found in an Essex wood.
Abbot Dunstan of Glastonbury is concerned. The victim ran the mint. Is the king’s coinage in danger of corruption?
Dunstan sends Wulfstan to Maldon to investigate.
Can Wulfstan discover the truth? Is there a connection with his own past?
Having lost everything he held dear; can he learn to live again?”

“Finally, Wulfstan – my favourite character in the Byrhtnoth Chronicles – has been given his own story. Read and enjoy!”
Ruth Downie, author of the Gaius Petreius Ruso Mysteries.

(The cover is fantastic)

I was lucky enough to get to read an early draft of Death at the Mint, and also the finished product. Firstly, an assurance, yes, Wulfstan is a character from the previous books but if you haven’t read them (which you might want to do after this one) it won’t detract from your enjoyment. Not at all. This is an excellent standalone Saxon mystery.

Wulfstan, his hound and his horse, make an intriguing team and what I particularly enjoyed was the reimagining of life in a Saxon settlement. This is something I’ve always been a bit terrified of doing in my own books, and Christine Hancock does it incredibly well. Added to which, the mystery will really draw you in.

This was a wonderful book, the mystery has a satisfying ending, which I don’t think readers will guess.

Death at the Mint is released today, 1st July, in ebook, and it’s well worth a read if you enjoy the time period and a good old mystery.