Wednesday, December 9, 2015

What We're writing: RHYS CAN:T REVEAL....

RHYS BOWEN: I was about to post a snippet from the new Royal Spyness book I have just finished, but I realized that I couldn't do it without giving away major spoilers. We left Georgie and Darcy with a cliffhanger at the end of Malice at the Palace, and I really want the next book to be a complete surprise. A punch-in-the-gut surprise. No doubt some reviewers will give away the whole story, and the major plot points will be there on the book jacket, but I'd like to keep readers in the dark for as long as possible.

But I do have a cover to share with you. It's still in progress but this is the latest version. I think it's perfect and you'll see how well it fits the story. (Am I giving you some clues?)

And as to what I'm working on next.... I can't tell you that either. It's a big secret.
I'm going to share a seasonally appropriate excerpt from AWAY IN A MANGER, my new Molly Murphy book.

Macy’s windows lived up to Bridies’s expectations. She stared at each one, wide-eyed, her nose pressed against the glass until her breath steamed it over, hiding the scene inside. In have to confess if I hadn’t experienced the shop windows in Paris earlier in the year I might have been equally impressed. There were mechanical rabbits eating carrots, figures skating on a frozen pond, an old toymaker sitting at his bench making toys. They were wonderful automatons with the toymaker’s eyes moving and his toys coming to life as he finished them.
            Bridie would have stood there all day, I suspect. “Come on, my dear. We still have the toy shop to visit,” I said.
            She had just torn herself away reluctantly to join us when a strange thing happened. Daniel gave a shout. A skinny youth looked up and took off at great speed with Daniel hot on his heels.  It was a mercy that Liam had just started fussing in Daniel’s arms and he’d handed him over to me or I don’t know what he would have done. If it had been an out and out running race I suspect that the boy would have gotten away, but he was hampered by the crowd dawdling along the sidewalk as they examined the windows, then a trolley, coming to a halt made him change direction and slow enough for Daniel to grab him.
            ‘Got ya, my boy,” Daniel said, twisting his arm up behind his back.
            “Let go of me,” the boy shouted. “I ain’t done nothing.”                                                     
“If you haven’t done anything, why were you running away?” Daniel demanded as the boy squirmed and fought.
“Wouldn’t you run if a crazy lunatic started chasing you? Get your hands off me.  I’ll call the police.”
            “Oh, that’s a good one. I am the police.” Daniel almost looked as if he was enjoying himself. “Captain Sullivan. So I’m not only the police, I’m one of the most important policemen you’re likely to meet.”
            “I ain’t done nothing,” the boy insisted. “Let go of me. You’re hurting.”
            “I saw your hand going into that lady’s bag,” Daniel said.
            “Go on then, search me!” the boy said belligerently. “You won’t find nothing.”
            “Of course I won’t. I stopped you in time. One more second and you’d have slipped her wallet under your jacket and been off through the crowd with her none the wiser.”
            “You can’t prove that,” the boy said. “And you’d better be careful, going around and accusing people of things they didn’t do. There’s such a thing as wrongful arrest, you know.”
            “Constable Macarthy!” Daniel boomed and a stout man in uniform forced his way through the crowd toward them.
            “A spot of trouble, Captain Sullivan, sir?”
            “Do you recognize this young ‘un?” Daniel asked.
            “Never seen him before, sir. What’s he been doing?”
            “Helping himself to people’s wallets,” Daniel said. “No, there’s no point in searching him. I spotted him in the act of lifting a purse, but I suspect he’s smart enough to have tucked others into hiding places to be retrieved later—just in case he was ever caught. Is that right, young fellow?”
            “I said to get your hands off me,” the boy snarled. “You’re going to be sorry, you know. I got friends.”
            “Oh no, I think it’s you whose going to be sorry,” Daniel said. “I never forget a face and my men will be on the lookout for you now, all over the city. If you’re smart you’ll stay indoors until after Christmas.  Handcuff him, Constable.”
            “What do you want me to do with him, Captain?” the constable asked as the pair of them wrestled handcuffs onto the struggling and cursing youth.
            “Take him to the nearest station house and get his name, address and finger prints,” Daniel said. “If he gives you any sauce you have my permission to lock him up for the night until he can learn some manners.”
            “You can’t do that. I told ya, I ain’t done nothing,” the boy said, looking slightly more worried now.
            “If you cooperate like a good boy, then you’ve got nothing to worry about and you’ll be free as a bird in a little while,” Daniel said. “But if any of my men catches you picking pockets again, remember we’ll have your finger prints on file and you’ll be heading straight to jail. Understand me?”
            A crowd had gathered, standing not too close but watching with interest.
“What’s the boy done?” a thin clergyman in a black suit asked.
“Pick pocket,” Daniel said. “There are too many of them around this year. You should all make sure you keep a watchful eye on your cash.”
“But he’s only a boy,” the clergyman said. “Surely handcuffs aren’t necessary. If you’d let me have a word with him, I know I could make him—“

His speech was cut off by a scream from somewhere in the crowd and a woman cried out, “My money is missing. Someone’s taken my purse.”


THE TWELVE CLUES OF CHRISTMAS is currently on sale for $1:99 on Amazon. If you want something to get you into the holiday mood download, make some hot chocolate and enjoy.

AND if you are feeling cold and sun-deprived....

There are only two slots left on my workshop in Tuscany next summer. If you know someone who is a fledgling mystery writer or you'd like to know details, please check it out at: 


  1. I really like the cover for "Crowned and Dangerous" . . . almost as much as I enjoyed reading this excerpt from "Away in a Manger. Thanks for sharing it with us.

  2. Do you need a "go-fer" in Tuscany next year? I am available!!!
    I have begun reading Away in a Manger...and am intrigued already, by page 20.
    I get excited when I see a new book by you on the market..I scoop them up!!

  3. Oh, Macy's windows.... magical! And Lord & Taylor's were amazing. Love the excerpt. Remembering when Christmas shopping meant going to actual stores.

  4. Can't wait for the new Royal Spyness Rhys! The cover is perfect... and to hear those secrets:)

  5. Crowned and dangerous? Crowned??

    Rhys, you are a treasure. truly truly.

    Can't wait for all the secrets. xoxoo

    Yeah, but Hallie, do you MISS going to the actual stores?

  6. The cover is fantastic. Molly Murphy took me back to my childhood remembering walking around NY at night gazing at decorated store windows. Macy's always had the most spectacular animations in a day before computers. Off to check out the 12 Clues of Christmas. Sounds like a perfect bonbon for Holiday nights.

  7. The cover is wonderful. As is the excerpt.

    We used to go to the Macy's windows here in Pittsburgh. Not quite as lavish as NYC, but nice. Then they closed the Macy's downtown. =(

  8. I also used to like the old fashioned windows with animated Christmas scenes. These days stores are striving for the arty effect. I guess I want to be a kid again at Christmas with skating bunnies!

  9. About a week ago, I was reading Away in a Manger. It was wonderful and definitely put me in the Christmas spirit.

    But I guess I'm odd. I didn't consider the end of Malice at the Palace to be that big of a cliffhanger. But since you keep talking about the cliffhanger nature of the story, I'm now getting quite anxious to find out what you do to Georgie next. Love the cover!

  10. San Francisco's Macy's has done a decent job of decorating its windows, including having faux snow gently falling at the entrance doors, but nothing compares to the original.

    Thanks, Rhys, for making me feel like a kid at Christmas again with your Georgie secrets and surprises. Can't wait.


  11. Crowned and Dangerous! Rhys, you tease! I can't wait to read it.

    I loved Away in a Manger and that is a great scene. When I read it the first time it made me think of going to downtown Dallas when I was a child (thirty miles) to see the windows at Neiman-Marcus (it was always referred to as Neiman-Marcus then, not just Neiman's). It was wonderland! So I'm wondering what they do in the downtown store now... We have a Christmas concert on the 21st downtown--maybe we will have to go see.

    I think I want to reread The Twelve Clues of Christmas...

  12. Cover looks fabulous and I admire your dedication to remaining mysterious and to not give out spoilers...(why do all that plotting if the reader already knows the twists?).

  13. Most intriguing excerpt! I'm well and truly hooked. Merry Christmas <3


  14. I just finished Away in a Manger this morning and truly think it is one of the best books in the Molly series. Great job, Rhys, and Merry Christmas!

  15. Sorry to be coming in so late today, but it's been another busy one. I love the cover of the new Georgie book, Rhys, but then I love all the covers for Georgie and for Molly. Away in a Manger was such a wonderful Christmas read, and I thank you for giving us some extra Molly this year.

    I grew up an hour from Cincinnati, Ohio, and going to the city was such a treat during Christmas, with the highlight being the windows in Shillito's Department Store. There was always a big scene with lots of animation. I thought it was the most magical place on Earth. And, there was the kids' shopping area inside the store where kids only were allowed and could buy their parents' Christmas gifts. My prize gift for my parents were poodle bookends, which I still have and use on one of my bookshelves.