THE AMBER TRAP QUOTE

“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.

WHEN JACARANDAS BLOOM

Jacaranda trees bloom in October and November in Australia. The trees become laden with purple blossom. It is a sight to behold.

I love the small towns of Maleny and Montville and have often visited. They are set in beautiful countryside in South East Queensland surrounded by farms, rainforest, and waterfalls. A place where flowers thrive and people can relax and unwind.

When I first had the idea for this story, I immediately thought this would be the ideal place for a story about new beginnings.

Although Stephanie is escaping an abusive relationship, and the story is about healing and finding a new path, and not just for Stephanie.

I hope you enjoy When Jacarandas Bloom.

WHEN JACARANDAS BLOOM

WHEN JACARANDAS BLOOM

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 INCA’S CURSE – PAPERBACK OUT NOW

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The Inca’s Curse

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?

THE INCA’S CURSE – E-BOOK IS RELEASED

I’m very excited to announce the release of my second book THE INCA’S CURSE

Book 2 in The Thornton Mysteries


At the same moment, the thief stepped closer to the lake’s edge. Without any hesitation, he dropped the girl’s body into the cold, dark water.

The book is historical fiction/cosy murder mystery/romance.

https://www.amazon.com.au

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Published by Crimson Cloak Publishing

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?

THE INCA’S CURSE – RELEASE DATE

I’m very excited to announce the release date for my second book THE INCA’S CURSE

Book 2 in The Thornton Mysteries

Benedict says this quote below to Alexandra.
“You are a part of my soul, part of my every thought, my every action. I breathe for you. I exist for you.”

How romantic is he? 😊🌹

The book is historical fiction/cosy murder mystery/romance.
Out soon!
Crimson Cloak Publishing

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?

FREE FOR LIMITED TIME – THE DRAGON SLEEPS

FREE FOR A LIMITED TIME

THE DRAGON SLEEPS

BOOK 1 in THE THORNTON MYSTERY

http://myBook.to/DragonSleeps


“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?

http://myBook.to/DragonSleeps

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

GRAB A COPY BEFORE THE SECOND BOOK IS RELEASED

THE INCA’S CURSEBOOK 2 in

THE THORNTON MYSTERIES

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?

DEN OF DRAGONS

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 

FREE FOR LIMITED TIME – E-BOOK of THE DRAGON SLEEPS

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https://www.instagram.com/ellenreadauthor/

DEN OF DRAGONS ANTHOLOGY

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.

AND

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 and ANZAC BISCUITS

MRS PRESTON’S KITCHEN (The Thornton Mysteries)

Morning Tea

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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.

 

ANZAC BISCUITS

Ingredients

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

Method

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.)