I’m thrilled to announce that my new ghost story,

DIE FOR LOVE is on Pre-order on Amazon.

Release date is 1st November 2021

What happened to Edward Wallingford?

His great-great nephew William is determined to find out.

England 1935. 

Edward Wallingford, an artist, is on a solitary walking tour of the West Country. To recuperate from pneumonia, he wants to walk, paint and enjoy the countryside. When he stops at Claeg, a village in Dorset, he visits Marston Castle on the outskirts of the town. He becomes fascinated by Rose Marston who, with her two sisters, owns and lives in their family’s castle.

England Present Day. 

William Wallingford has always heard tales of his great-great uncle Edward who disappeared on his walking tour in 1935. When Will’s mother discovers a letter written in Edward’s hand telling his family that he was in Claeg and intended staying at the castle, both Will and his mother are intrigued.

William, a professional photographer, has some free time between assignments, and determines to discover what happened to Uncle Edward. Why, when he went missing, could no one find any trace of him?

Will travels to Claeg and stays at the Clay Cutters Arms where he meets the owners, Natalie Pickering and her father. 

Will soon hears local rumours that young men visiting Claeg disappear from time to time.

With Natalie’s help, Will meets a local witch, uncovers an unbelievable truth and nearly dies for love.







“Murder on the High Seas.” Thomas Thornton lowered his newspaper to glance at his daughter. “That’s what it says here in the newspaper,” he told her, before he read the article aloud. “The SS Strathnaver out of London via Bombay and Colombo docked in Melbourne yesterday.”

P&O Strathnver

Image from the Internet

Gross Registered Tonnage 22,547 tons

Length x Width 664 feet x 80 feet

Builder and Year of Build Vickers-Armstrongs of Barrow – 1932

First Class + Tourist Accommodation 498 + 670 persons : Total 1,168 passengers

Ultimate Fate Broken up at Hong Kong in 1962

As you can see, the Stathnaver was built in 1932. I moved it forward a few years for the sake of my story to 1929.

The Amber Trap – Book 3 in The Thornton Mysteries

I’m happy to announce that the next book in The Thornton Mysteries series will be released on 21st March.

Murder on the High Seas. Thomas Thornton reads the newspaper article.

Can the murder of a young German man, fatally stabbed during a voyage out of London to Melbourne, have anything to do with the Thorntons? Alexandra’s curiosity is piqued when a Prussian Count, who travelled on the same ship, shows up at Thornton Antiques in search of a rare amber postage stamp.

Alexandra Thornton and Benedict Archer have been married for one year. Benedict is estranged from his family, who own a vineyard in the Barossa Valley in South Australia. Alexandra urges him to try to heal the breach. 

Murder. A strange count searching for a rare stamp. A missing opal. A family in turmoil. How are they all connected? 

When a dark secret of betrayal and loss is exposed, Alexandra finds her world shattered.

I enjoyed writing this book. I visited the Barossa Valley in South Australia where the book is set to do research. An area of beautiful landscapes and delicious wines.

The story, in a way, is Benedict’s story. Alexandra persuades him, as only Alexandra could do, to visit his family who own a vineyard. Alexandra can’t believe how his mother has cast him aside. When she meets Joyce Archer, she begins to understand but there is still so much that is hidden.

Then there are murders, a strange count who seems to follow them, pieces of amber from the Baltic, and a missing opal.

While the Thorntons are coping with all of this, South Australia starts it bush fire season earlier than usual. Tragedy soon strikes.

When a dark secret of betrayal and loss is exposed, Alexandra finds her world shattered.



My new Novella will be Released on 1st November.

Set in the picturesque, idyllic villages of Maleny and Montville in Queensland’s Sunshine Coast Hinterland.

Stephanie Page has one chance to escape her abusive partner and she takes it. By the end of the day, she finds herself on the top of a mountain range. Is it far enough away? Can she be safe here?

She’s drawn to a rundown tearoom, although she’s not sure why. The owner, Lynette, is cheerful and friendly, and Stephanie finds herself calling in most days. Lynette never has any other customers, so this allows them time to chat.

Lynette encourages Stephanie to visit an antiques and craft place owned and run by Andrew, the son of a friend of Lynette’s. Stephanie calls in. The place is a treasure trove of wonderful antiques and books, but she finds Andrew to be rude and unfriendly. She tells Lynette so. Lynette urges her to go another day and make the effort to befriend him.

Stephanie has just run away from one bad relationship. She doesn’t want another, and she doesn’t want to befriend a rude man. 

From what Lynette says one day over a Devonshire tea, it sounds as if she and Andrew have had a relationship. Then Lynette disappears. When Stephanie mentions this to Andrew, he orders her out of his antiques place.

Things are not what they seem.

Hurt and confused, Stephanie comes to the conclusion that she won’t find happiness here. Is it time to move on again?






“The Dragon Sleeps reminded me fondly of a classic whodunit novel and I see a few reviewers before me have compared this novel to an Agatha Christie offering, which is warranted. It also serves up a side story of romance and it gives us a fascinating glimpse into the art world, in particular the complicated antiques business. There are plenty of secrets to unlock, along with a hint of the supernatural to keep things interesting.”  Reader Review.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

BLURB: A Dragon statue. An ancient sword. What treasure is worth killing for?

It’s 1927 in Victoria, Australia.  A hedonistic time after the Great War when young people knew they could enjoy life without the threat of war hanging over them. 
A time when women have more options opened to them.
There is a weekend house party at Thornton Park and Alexandra Thornton thinks it will be a good time to break the news to her father that she wants to be an antiques dealer, like him, her grandfather and great-grandfather before her.
Only a small number of people are invited. Amongst the guests are Zhang Huo, the Chinese antiques dealer who, with his son, has brought a Ming dragon statue from China for Thomas Thornton.
Benedict Archer, who is manager of Thornton Antiques in Melbourne and who has been secretly helping Alexandra learn more about her family business, is also invited. Alexandra asks Benedict and Edith Blackburn, her friend since childhood, to be with her when she approaches her father.
When Edith claims that Benedict is in love with her, Alexandra can’t believe it. In all the time 
they’d been at Thornton Antiques together, he’d never said a word. Now, Alexandra looks at him differently. Can it be true?

Then a body is found in the orchard and before the weekend is over, a priceless artefact is stolen. 
Alexandra is determined to discover how these things are connected to the Ming dragon and the antiques her great-grandfather brought with him from Hong Kong so many years ago.

What secret has remained hidden at Thornton Park
for the last eight years?


FREE for a LIMITED TIME on Amazon from 1st July to 5th July




Set in 1928 in Victoria, Australia. The Thornton family made its money in the goldfields during the 1850s and the antiques trade. Thornton Park is their lavish mansion close to Melbourne. They also own a home and a goldmine in Daylesford, in the heart of Victoria, where their close friends, the Bassetti family, are part of a thriving Swiss-Italian community.
Alexandra Thornton has married Benedict Archer. On their honeymoon in Daylesford, Alexandra’s pearls are stolen and within days there are two murders.
Back at Thornton Park, Alexandra discovers a secret compartment in a desk. Inside is a gold and diamond necklace and a letter written by her grandfather, James Thornton. It’s a love letter, Alexandra assumes written to his wife after her death. He claims the necklace is cursed. 
After further investigation, Alexandra uncovers the deaths of two miners at Thornton Goldmine. 
The family return to Daylesford where Thomas Thornton is accused of murder.
Alexandra is determined to work out how it all connects. 
What is the link to the Inca Emperor Atahualpa? Is it gold? 
Is gold the curse?


Visit Crimson Cloak Publishing, sign up for the newsletter, and receive a free copy of Den of Dragons, an fun anthology all about dragons. 

Prophecies, goddesses, legends, myths, lost love, new love…. A little bit of everything involving dragons can be found inside these magical pages. 
Included: “The Dragon Wakes” and “The Beached Whale” by Ellen Read 






I’m so pleased to announce the DEN OF DRAGONS Anthology is OUT NOW!

By Various Authors and Published by Crimson Cloak Publishing.

I have two short stories in it.

The Dragon Awakes – following Alexandra and the Thorntons in another mystery.


The Beached Whale is my debut children’s story. 

I have also read the other stories in the anthology and really enjoyed them. I’d certainly highly recommend this book. There is something for everyone. And, after all, who doesn’t love dragons. They can be frightening and others can be sweet.

My video is on YouTube if you’d like to take a look.


MRS PRESTON’S KITCHEN (The Thornton Mysteries)

Morning Tea


Miss Alexandra said to me, Mrs P … Miss Alexandra calls me Mrs P. Such a lovely young woman. I’ve seen her grow from a beautiful baby … wait, I’m getting off track. Edward, that’s my husband, Mr Preston, he tells me I waffle too much. Dear Edward, he only teases me. So, Miss Alexandra said why don’t you tell everyone about what you have for morning tea … especially this time, because of Anzac Day. Mr Benedict fought in the Great War. He was only a boy. So many boys killed. I think it upsets Miss Alexandra too much to talk about it.

I had to get my head on straight though to talk to you about it, too. I had to think when it all started. 1916 – that was the first Anzac Day. One year after all those poor boys and men died on Gallipoli Peninsula on the 25th April 1915. Anzac stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps.

Well, we had to commemorate the tragic loss of life. I remember that first Anzac Day. We held a Dawn Service here at Thornton Park, and in the afternoon, Mr Thornton opened the polo field up to the locals for a football match. Some people played tennis. Mr Preston told me later that services were held across Australia and our boys in Egypt had a sports day. To us Aussies, it’s the mateship that’s important.

Such a terrible time. The things I read in the newspaper about our poor boys. They landed at Gallipoli to knock Turkey out of the war but everything … now what’s that word …stalemated, that’s it. Eight months and over eight thousand soldiers killed.

I remember on other Anzac Days, the 25th April became the day we remember the sacrifice of all those who had died in war. Ooh I can’t think of it without crying. Miss Alexandra always gives me a kiss on the cheek when I get upset. Edward tells me to pull myself together … but it upsets him to remember, too. Those Anzac boys were courageous and have left a strong legacy.

By now, you’re probably wondering about morning tea. At Thornton Park, we have Anzac biscuits. Like the poor boys in the trenches ate. They weren’t called Anzac biscuits then. The boys called them the Soldiers Biscuits. Food took a long time to reach the boys and there wasn’t any refrigeration then. Not like I have here now. Mr Thornton bought me one of those new ice boxes. So, food had to last. Like hard tack, bully beef – tinned corned beef, rice and tea. That’s what fed the army.

I always make Anzac Biscuits. It’s so easy – rolled oats, plain flour, sugar, butter, golden syrup or treacle, coconut, bi-carbonate of soda, and boiling water. I like to make the original recipe. I’ll let you have a copy of it. I had it from a friend of a friend.

I hope you’ll enjoy a cuppa and an Anzac biscuit now with me. Mr Preston and Harry just served the family. I made some jam tarts to go with the biscuits.

I’ll see you next time. After I’ve finished my cuppa, I have to think what to prepare for lunch.




1 cup each of plain flour, rolled oats, coconut and sugar

4 ounces butter

1tablespoon treacle or golden syrup

2 tablespoons boiling water. (Add a little more if the mixture is dry)

1 teaspoon bi-carbonate soda


1 Grease tray and pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F.

2 Combine the dry ingredients.

3 Melt together butter and golden syrup. Combine water and bi-carbonate-soda – add to butter mixture

4 Mix butter and dry ingredients.

5 Drop teaspoons of mixture onto tray.

Bake 10-15 minutes or until golden.

Allow to cool on tray for a few minutes before transferring onto cooling racks.

Makes approximately 35 biscuits.

(This is from an original recipe by Mr Bob Lawson, an ANZAC present at the Gallipoli landing.)



The Thornton Mysteries

When writing a book set in the 1920s, the first thing you realise is there is a lot of research to do. The Dragon Sleeps is a murder mystery, the first in The Thornton Mysteries.

The family home, Thornton Park, is a lavish mansion. There are servants and a definite upstairs downstairs scenario. Fashions, music and cars aside, I found the need to research food. What would the family eat in 1927? What did the servants eat?

Mrs Preston is the cook at Thornton Park. Not a chef, but she’s as meticulous and proud of her culinary achievements, as any chef in a restaurant would be. She manages the menus and the kitchen staff to perfection. She does discuss the family menus with Alexandra Thornton, who is mistress of the house.

Kedgeree - photo credit

On an average day, the family is served breakfast in the morning room. This usually entails dishes such as Kedgeree served with softly scrambled eggs. This is a British recipe, as much of Australian food was at that time. Kedgeree originated in India, during the British Colonial days. At a time before refrigeration, it allowed cooks to use leftovers from the night before to make into appetising breakfast dishes.  Essentially the ingredients are boiled rice, chopped hard-boiled egg, cold minced fish, fried in one pan and flavoured with herbs.

Strawberry jam on English muffins w Credit

Sausages are also a much-loved breakfast fare, along with English muffins and toast, served with marmalade and strawberry jam. All served with tea or coffee.

Royal Albert tea set 02a


For the servants of Thornton Park, Mrs Preston always cooks a whole grain oatmeal or porridge, whether it be summer or winter. The servants need a hearty breakfast to sustain them for the long hours ahead.

Servants Hall OatmealSQ-600x600


Now, there’s morning tea to think of. What will Mrs Preston serve?



Screen Shot 2019-11-19 at 11.23.28

You can purchase The Dragon Sleeps from the following:

Amazon    http://myBook.to/DragonSleeps

Book Depository

Barnes and Noble




Better World Books

Chapters Indigo

You can follow Ellen on the following


The year is almost over…

This year has been an exciting one for me with the release of The Dragon Sleeps in November. It’s the first book in The Thornton Mysteries. A cosy mystery series with a tender love story.

christmas-1867281 03


Book 2 is with my publisher, with book 3 soon to follow. I’ve finished it except for a last read through.

In January, I’m starting book 4. The research is done. I’m looking forward to writing it.

Book 1 is set at Thornton Park, the family home in Victoria.

Book 2 is principally set in Daylesford, a small town in the Macedon Ranges of Victoria. Dayleford is a beautiful place, and today is known for its spas and for its natural mineral springs.

Book 3 is set at Thornton Park and the Barossa Valley in South Australia. The Barossa is prime wine country.

Book 4 will take us to Norfolk Island, a beautiful island in the South Pacific not far from Australia. I went there last year to do some research. I’m going back in 2020.

I hope you’ll come on this journey with me.

This year also saw the release of Broken, a story that is free on my website.

After the tragic death of her parents, Rachael Watson ran away, leaving her sister to manage the family lavender farm and shop. Three years later, crushed by her unrelenting grief, workplace bullying, and guilt and shame for letting her sister down, Rachael decides to return home.

There, Rachael meets Ebony, a black mare who has been mistreated and beaten. Rachael realises she is not the only one who has been broken.

The Treasure is also free on my website. It’s a novelette – short than a novella but longer than a short story. YA/NA Fantasy.

Cover 1600x2400 - THE TREASURE

Lastly, I’d like to wish you a Merry Christmas – or Happy Holidays if you don’t celebrate Christmas – and a Happy, Healthy New Year.



The Dragon Sleep – Book of the Day


My publisher Crimson Cloak Publishing is holding a
‘Book of the Day’ promotion.

For Friday 29th November it is my book,
The Dragon Sleeps by Ellen Read

A Dragon statue. An ancient sword. A body in the orchard.

What secret has remained hidden at Thornton Park for the last eighty years?

It’s 1927 in Victoria, Australia. A time after the Great War when women have more options opened to them.

At a weekend house party at Thornton Park, Alexandra Thornton decides to break the news to her father that she wants to be an antiques dealer, like her father, grandfather and great-grandfather before her.

Guests include Zhang Huo, the Chinese antiques dealer who, with his son, has brought a Ming dragon statue from China for Thomas Thornton, Alexandra’s father.

Benedict Archer, manager of Thornton Antiques in Melbourne, is also invited.

When Edith Blackburn, her friend since childhood, points out to Alexandra that Benedict is attracted to her, Alexandra can’t believe it.

Then a body found in the orchard, and before the weekend is over, a priceless artefact is stolen.

Alexandra is determined to discover how these things are connected to the Ming dragon and the antiques her great-grandfather brought with him from Hong Kong so many years ago.

What treasure is worth killing to possess?

The link to purchase is below: