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6word story February 2017

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The dog’s stick was a snake

#Review The Cowardice of Crows by Sarah E Smith @Symington_Byrd @Kensington_Gore

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Re blogged from emmathelittlebookworm.wordpress.com

Emma The Little Bookworm

Good evening bookworms!

Tonight I am over the moon to bring you my review of The Cowardice of Crowsby Sarah E Smith.

This is one book I would be guilty of judging by it’s cover and title, which is obviously disgusting of me!

I personally wouldn’t pick this up as it doesn’t look like the kind of book I’d enjoy for some reason – and I have no idea why!!!



And lesson learned ~ I am hanging my head in complete and utter shame!!!!! Anyway, whilst I go and confess my sins . . .

Here’s the blurb . . .


It seemed Millicent Jones committed suicide… until a House of Commons cufflink is found wedged in her throat. Given that Queen Victoria is dying, the last thing anyone wants is scandal. So Symington, Earl Byrd, renowned playboy and gentleman…

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SALAD March 2017

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originally posted on More than a Cat

More than a Cat

Last night I was at the theatre. I came home to a message. “The first Amazon review is in,” it said.

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I came to this book having been mightily impressed with Sarah Smith’s time traveller trilogy for young adults ‘The Secret of Aldwych Strand’. If you haven’t read these three books, then do, as they are excellent. In this adult murder mystery, Ms Smith makes full use of her meticulous research to paint a wonderfully detailed picture of Britain at the very beginning of the 20th Century. The main characters are all well drawn and Symington Byrd makes a convincing ‘gentleman detective’. The murder seems relatively straightforward at the start, but we are soon drawn into a complex web of intrigue both political and personal. The clash of cultures between the criminal class and…

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10 thing you NEED to know about Symington, Earl Byrd

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Tell us about Byrd,” my publisher said. Only having the one publisher I have often wondered whether they all talk in the third person, or this is something peculiar to mine. “And be snappy about it.” I was touting him an idea for a new detective on the block, and knew, by that tone of voice, I only had a few minutes. I took a deep breath and began…

  1. His parents died while he was a young child and he was brought up by his Grandfather, a welsh duke.
  2. He speaks eight languages – including hindi and arabic.
  3. He was bullied in school and became the school clown in order to survive
  4. He served in the Derbyshire Regiment in India, saw action in Sikkim; and left the army as a major.
  5. Something happened in Sikkim. Something life changing. He doesn’t talk about it. Ever.
  6. He has an eye for a pretty woman – or three. Or four.
  7. He lives in an appartment in Mayfair, presided over by Sampson with regimental precision.
  8. His best friend is the Prince of Wales. Rumour has it Byrd saved the Prince’s life. Rumour lied.
  9. His staff – valet (Sampson), driver (Watkins), and cook (Imran)- were under his command in India. They are very loyal and would do anything for him. Don’t ask them about Sikkim, they won’t tell you.
  10. He holds degrees in medicine and law, which he took on return from India.

Want to know more? Go to Amazon and buy his first adventure

Six things you should know about writing a murder mystery

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Having moved into the realm of crime fiction, I thought I’d put down a few things that made plotting A Cowardice of Crows easier than it could have been. Because – to be honest – murder is harder to keep an eye on than time travel…


  1. Work backwards.  I.E know how it was done, who did it,  where and  why and then seed the rest of the story from there. I  wrote the reveal before the last few chapters, as I needed to work out exactly who did what to whom.
  2. Let the audience work it out for themselves/ or give them the opportunity to realise who the murderer has to be. Even if they don’t get it  at the same time as the detective, they should be able to go AHH not omfg. I tried to make one of my murderers obvious, and the other less so… hopefully it’s worked.
  3. Ensure you have clues – subtly worked into the story. These clues can be red herrings. In Crows the red herrings went in before the real clues.
  4. Ensure you have a flawed detective. They have to be very intelligent, very eccentric and the murderer has to underestimate them. Byrd’s flaw is … ahh now, that would be telling; let’s just say he’s got an eye for a pretty face.
  5. Every good detective needs a side kick. Solid reliable, dependable and all the things our hero is not. In Sampson Byrd has loyalty and in his cousin he has solidity. Both the perfect foils to Byrd’s whimsical nature.
  6. Oh and of course! Suspects! You’ve got to have suspectgillards-bloody-dagger1


Not met  Byrd yet? click here to go to amazon and see if I’ve taken my own advice