Friday, May 27, 2016

"A Killer Ball at Honeychurch Hall"

Hannah Dennison is the author of The Vicky Hill Mysteries (Little, Brown) and the Honeychurch Hall Mysteries (Minotaur), both set in the wilds of the Devonshire countryside. Dennison originally moved to Los Angeles to pursue screenwriting. She has been an obituary reporter, antique dealer, private jet flight attendant and Hollywood story analyst. Now living in Portland, Oregon, she still continues to teach mystery writing workshops at the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program in Los Angeles, California. Dennison has served on numerous judging committees for Mystery Writers of America and is serving on the MWA board for 2016-2018.

Although she spends most of her time in Oregon with her husband and two insane Vizsla dogs, Dennison’s heart remains in England. She is a passionate supporter of the Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings, the Historic Houses Association, and the National Trust. She enjoys all country pursuits, movies, theater and seriously good chocolate.

Dennison applied the Page 69 Test to her  new novel, A Killer Ball at Honeychurch Hall, and reported the following:
From page 69:
It occurred to me that when I’d mentioned the name Bryan Laney, my mother had given no indication that she remembered him at all. If Mum had broken all the boys’ hearts across the countryside, maybe Bryan had just been one of her many suitors. Electra! I couldn’t wait to have that conversation with her.

“So you must have remembered the summer balls at the Hall?” I asked.

Bryan nodded, obviously still trying to take in the fact that my mother was close by.

“What about Pandora Haslam-Grimley,” I said. “She was American. Do you remember her?”

Bryan frowned. “I remember her alright,” he said darkly. “She was a friend of Lady Edith’s. Much older than us lads but she liked a bit of rough.”

“A what?” I exclaimed.

“Bit of rough.” Bryan winked at Eric. “You know, a bit of the other with the local lads. Course, I only had eyes for Iris and that drove Miss High-and-Mighty mad. She couldn’t stand Iris but then a lot of the girls here couldn’t stand Iris, either. They were a bit afraid of her.”

“Afraid of my mother?” I said with disbelief.

“Not only was she Electra, she was Madame Z—Madame Z’s Psychic Touch.” Bryan chuckled. “All the girls went to Iris to have their fortunes told.”

“Did Pandora?”

Bryan shrugged. “No idea. When Pandora wasn’t hanging about the stables she was messing around with the lads at the boxing emporium. I often wondered what happened to her, too.”

“She’s dead,” Eric said bluntly.

“That wouldn’t surprise me,” said Bryan. “She would have been pushing ninety by now.”

“Kat and I found her body in a priest hole,” said Eric.

Bryan’s jaw dropped. All the color drained out of his face, I thought he was going to pass out.
By luck this excerpt illustrates a crucial plot element and provides a vital clue to the murder. On page 69 we learn about the victim’s (Pandora) character, her taste in men and why she loathed Iris (Kat’s mother). We also wonder how involved Bryan Laney was in Pandora’s demise as well as discovering that he knew more about Iris’s past with the traveling fair and boxing emporium than Kat did.

One of the ongoing themes in the series is Kat realizing that her mother was not who she thought she was at all. Iris’s secret writing life as Krystalle Storm, the international bestselling author of racy romances, would appear to be just the tip of the iceberg.

The question is—was Iris capable of murder?

I’m afraid you’re going to have to read A Killer Ball at Honeychurch Hall to find out!
Visit Hannah Dennison's website and Facebook page.

The Page 69 Test: Murder at Honeychurch Hall.

My Book, The Movie: Murder at Honeychurch Hall.

My Book, The Movie: Deadly Desires at Honeychurch Hall.

The Page 69 Test: Deadly Desires at Honeychurch Hall.

Writers Read: Hannah Dennison.

--Marshal Zeringue