Sunday, 14 November 2021

New website and blog!

 Please check out my new website and blog at and

(You can access my new blog on my website - click 'blog' in header).

You'll find info on the Meg Sheppard Mystery Series, events, my new books, new stories and more!

By the way, my books are now available as both e-books and paperbacks from amazon. 

Thank you!

Happy reading.


Saturday, 12 June 2021

Story Published in Dark and Stormy Book Club Newsletter

 Here is my story that has been published in the June 2021 Dark and Stormy Book Club Newsletter: (Check out DarkandStormybc). 

Here's the link to the newsletter: DarkandStormyNewsletter



Vicky Earle

Waves unfurled their fury and crashed down onto the sand and pebbles, moving the body a little further

 out of the angry sea and onto the beach. Rain and salty spray stung my face and strands of wet hair

 caught in my mouth. I stooped over the man whose blue-tinged skin and distorted suit were decorated

 with pieces of seaweed and grains of sand.  He’d been dead for some time. The sea was cold and he

 wouldn’t have floated for a couple of weeks.

While I waited for the sirens to reach the pier, I checked things out. It didn’t need an expert to see that his head had been bludgeoned. I took some quick photos and entered a few hasty notes. The suit would suggest he’d either been on business or at a function – perhaps held in the facilities on the pier. It’d be less likely that he’d been on a ship or pushed off the sea wall, but I didn’t rule anything out at this point.  

But the police were quick to draw conclusions. I’ll get to that later.

Meanwhile, I had to return to my mother’s cottage. It had been out of a sense of duty that I’d made the trip from my home in Canada to Devon, England. The way I felt then was that I should’ve had my head tested and stayed where I was.

“What took you so long? I thought you were just going to have a peek at the sea,” she asked as I unpeeled my soaking-wet, un-waterproof jacket, and grabbed the nearest towel to rub my dripping hair. Shivers set in, reminding me of how cold I’d often felt in this damp county.

“I found a body on the beach.”

“A dead fish. They often get washed up these days.”

“No, a person.”

“Well, none of our business. It wouldn’t be anyone from around here.”

“I’d like to know what happened to him.”

“What on earth for?”


“Instead of wasting time on that, you could make us a cup of coffee.”

“I thought that man from the hearing aid place was coming this morning and you’d have coffee later.”

“He was supposed to come at nine, but I thought he might not make it. Take your boots into the conservatory. I don’t want those wet, sandy things in here.”

“I don’t think there’s much wrong with your hearing.”

“How would you know?”

“I don’t have to shout.”

“But you’ve always had a voice that carries.”

And so it went on until I made lunch. My mother always had a nap after the meal, and I would go for a walk or read. I went back to the beach. The rain had stopped, but the wind blew on-shore, bringing debris with it, mostly plastic bottles. The police had left. I’d expected to see yellow tape, or someone standing guard, or both. You wouldn’t have guessed that a body had been found just a few hours earlier.

The thunderous waves reached further up the beach, and any evidence of tracks or footprints had been obliterated by churning, frothy seawater.

I don’t know what I’d hoped to find, but pessimism soon set in.

“Have you lost your dog?” An older, thick-set woman, perhaps about sixty, shouted at me as the wind made her black plastic rainhat crackle and shudder.

“No, but thanks for asking.”

“Are you one of the detectives? I heard there was a body washed up this morning. This sort of thing never happens here.”

“No, but I found the body.”

“Ah, you want to do some sleuthing.” A huge black lab, on a thick leather leash, sat at her side.

“It might be suspicious.”

“The police believe it was an accident.”

“How do you know that?”

“I have connections. Long story. Let’s walk along the beach. My name’s Kit, by the way, and this is Sergeant.” She patted the large, square head of her wet dog.

She said we should be a team, but I was reluctant. I wasn’t sure how much effort I wanted to put into an amateur investigation in a place that had grown unfamiliar to me, and where I was constrained by my mother’s demands.

“Do you think it was an accident?” she asked, as we struggled over a particularly pebbly spot.

“It looked like he’d been bludgeoned. The injury on the side of his head was severe.”

“The police said he fell off the pier into the sea, and hit his head on a rock.”

“Are there many rocks around the pier?”

“It’s built on rocks, and there are plenty that could cause serious injury.”

“He died at least two weeks ago.”

“Not according to the police. They contend he was at the wedding on Saturday and climbed the rail at the edge of the pier, and fell off, which is certainly possible, especially if drunk.” She snorted, as if she’d told a joke.

“I’m not sure.” The more I thought about what I’d seen, the less I believed it could have been an accident. I hoped that they’d do a thorough post mortem exam.


My mother was furious by the time I returned.

“I made tea and it’s cold,” she said. “I’m going to watch the local news. You can make a fresh pot.”

The noise of the kettle almost drowned out my mother’s gasp. I trotted into the living room.

“That picture.” She held her lacy handkerchief to her mouth, muffling her voice. “It’s him.”

“What picture?”

“Of the man found on the beach. He came here three weeks ago and was to deliver my hearing aids this morning. I told you about him.”

“What’s his name?”

“I wrote his information down in my notebook. We had a long chat. I liked him, even though he was a salesman.”

“And obviously a good one, because there’s nothing wrong with your hearing.”

“That’s your opinion.” She handed me her notebook. “Take the book. The name of the company’s there too.”

“I met someone called Kit on the beach this morning and she seems to think it was an accident.”

“That’s what they said on the news, but I don’t believe it was.”

“I don’t think it was, either.”

“Well then, you’d better find out who killed him. And I’m going to help.”

“Are you sure?”

“I am. And that’s that. I want to go to the beach where you found him.”


“Right now. We’ve at least an hour before it gets dark.”

My mother was not an active person and somewhat overweight, being inclined to stay in her house. But I was in for a surprise. We walked up and down the beach, out on the pier, and along the path by the thick stone seawall, and she showed no signs of tiring. She was the one who found the small piece of fabric snagged by a rusty iron ring at the top of the seawall. We both thought it looked like suit material. I took several photographs and phoned Kit, as we’d agreed.

Kit showed up about five minutes later. She yanked the material out of my hand and said she would take it to the police immediately. She strode off with Sergeant in tow - it was as if she was dragging him. He was probably disappointed: no run on the beach.

“You shouldn’t have let her take it,” my mother said. She stopped and faced me with penetrating brown eyes. “You took photos?”

“Yes, you saw me.”

“We need to go to the police. She doesn’t intend to hand that material in.”

“What makes you say that? And what about something to eat?”

“Never mind about food. We have a murderer to catch.”

My mother was right. Kit had not entered the police station.

We failed to garner much interest in the photos. They provided insufficient evidence of foul play, and it was obvious the police firmly believed it had been an accident.

We were both exhausted by the time we got back to the cold, damp cottage. I put the electric fire on and got no complaints. And, for once, I didn’t have to cook. We ate fish and chips and resolved to check out the beach below the seawall the next day.


Nothing showed up as I searched for information on Kit after a quick breakfast.

The hearing aid company’s website was basic. It showed four staff, all males in suits, but Dan wasn’t there. I suppose they’d deleted any reference to him as soon as they’d heard of his fate. I told my mother I was going to the hearing aid place, but she insisted that she should be the one to go. She had a reason. No hearing aids were delivered as promised. She’d paid a pretty sum for them. She told me I should dig deeper to find out something about Kit. All I could think of doing was to go back to the beach where we’d met. Maybe she took Sergeant there for a walk every morning. 

The dog was there, but Kit was nowhere to be seen. I spent nearly an hour walking up and down the beach past the pier, and along the path by the seawall. Sergeant followed me everywhere.

I gave up.

Finally, we negotiated the steep stone steps down to the beach below the spot where my mother had found the scrap of fabric. Despite the low tide, we were greeted by two feet of water, albeit calm for once. There were no rocks, just coarse sand and a scattering of pebbles. I took off my shoes and socks and rolled up my stretchy jeans. I waded in the frigid water, trying not to stir up the sand and stones. Sergeant swam circles around me, puffing and spluttering. He wouldn’t go back to the steps. I was just about to admit defeat when I saw it: a piece of fabric, larger than the first, partly buried, but moving a little with the motion of the sea. After taking several photos, I stuffed the soggy piece of evidence into my pocket as if it might disappear of its own accord - given half a chance.

“Okay, Sergeant, we have to go to the police station, give them this, and then find out where you live.” He wagged his tail, but he had sad eyes.

As we left the police station, having stirred them into action, Sergeant and I walked towards the cottage. My brain conjured up pictures of the staff at the hearing aid place that I’d scrolled through on my laptop. The President and CEO’s face jumped into my mind’s eye and stuck there, glued to me just like Sergeant was. I nearly missed the gate to the cottage because I was so obsessed with the images in my head.

My mother had beaten me back.

“What’s that dog doing here?” Her tone of voice was not as cutting as I’d expected. I explained that I’d found him on the beach and that Kit was nowhere to be seen.

“I have to check something,” I said. “Could you give Sergeant some water and maybe a biscuit of some kind?”

“I’ll give him a sausage.” Sergeant must have known what that meant, because he followed her into the kitchen.

Checking the hearing aid company’s website again, I knew I was right.

“They wouldn’t talk to me,” my mother shouted from the kitchen. “The door was open, but when I mentioned Dan’s name they said they were closed. I thought the receptionist looked flustered. Can you hear me?”


“Sergeant makes a mess when he drinks. Don’t slip on the wet floor when you come in.”


“There’s something else I should tell you.”

I stood in the doorway to the kitchen, and Sergeant flopped down onto the mat by the back door.

She told me that she’d had a chat with Dan when he visited. She could tell he was stressed. He was jittery and dropped his mobile. She gave him a cup of tea and he spilled the beans about the scam that his boss ran - he preyed on older women who had some level of dementia and lived alone and didn’t have someone looking after their financial affairs. It’s not that hard to find these things out. He had his representatives convince the women that they needed hearing aids and must pay up front. It worked in more cases than you would imagine, Dan told her. But there were no hearing aids delivered and the elderly, confused women were none the wiser. His boss moved around a lot to avoid being caught.

My mother told Dan he should resign and find something better to do with his life before it was too late. She gave him a couple of names of people who might be able to help him out. She paid for the hearing aids because she liked Dan and he told her he got commission. (So, I was right, there was nothing wrong with her hearing).

“And then he washed up dead,” my mother said. “Dan must have resigned and had been about to talk to the police”. She blows her nose.

And she’d known there was something odd about Kit when she met her, but couldn’t quite put her finger on it. It had been a quick meeting since Kit grabbed the fabric and left, dragging Sergeant behind her.

When I showed her the photos on the website, she agreed with me that Kit was the male President and CEO of the hearing aid place (in disguise) and he was the most likely suspect in the murder of Dan.

She doesn’t feel responsible. And I don’t think she should. At least we found Dan’s murderer, who’ll be put away for a long time, or so we’re led to believe.

And my mother has a dog as a companion, who loves to run on the beach. She’s lost weight, and is a ton happier.

And I don’t mind travelling across the Atlantic to see her and Sergeant: I’m going again next week.  

Vicky Earle Copyright 2021   



Wednesday, 6 January 2021

A Story Based (Partly) On My Father's WWII Experience


This picture was painted by my father in 1944 during his time in Egypt, WWII

My father enlisted with the British Army in 1939 and was sent overseas from England to Egypt. I have the diary he kept during 1943. He was a Captain.
This painting is obviously not of the desert where he was stationed, but was painted during his time there, in 1944. He would have been 27 years old. 

This is a fictional story, but is partly based on his experience as well as on my mother's. I have taken lots of liberties! (My father didn't suffer from dementia, for example).

Also, you will note that there are six words shown in italics. This piece was written for, and read to, the Uxbridge Writers' Circle, as a 'word challenge' story - these words had to be included!

I hope you enjoy this story.
You will find many more in this blog!


He liked to reminisce about his time in the war, and his propensity to live in the past had increased during recent years.

Gertie was thoroughly fed up with hearing the same old stories over and over again. It wasn’t as if there was anything interesting, exciting or thrilling about them. Roger spent almost all of the war in the desert, and it sounded virtually serene to Gertie. While she was hiding in the dark, dank bomb shelter, he taught art to his mates, and perhaps went to see a movie in Cairo. While she heard the muffled sounds of bombs exploding and pulverizing homes, he listened to ballads sung by crooners in the hotel he visited several times.

Roger held their first great-grandchild in his arms, and this gave him a captive audience, who’d listen without comment on the story of his life. Gertie thought it was just as well he had no horror stories, that he’d been spared from front-line action, and had worked on designing camouflage for the desert environment.

Gertie didn’t like to reminisce at all. If she started to think back to before her emigration to Canada, the memories disturbed and agitated her. She’d trained herself to switch her focus to pleasant thoughts, to more recent events, such as their grandson’s wedding. Unfortunately, she couldn’t talk to Roger about that because he couldn’t remember anything about it. He’d immersed himself in the sands of the desert to such an extent - the camel rides, the horses, the tank he nearly buried by driving it around in circles - that it had become his current reality.

Gertie had teetered on the edge and even packed a suitcase, but then changed her mind. If you can’t beat them, then join them, her father used to say. So, she bought an old army tent, and cut it up, hanging pieces of it on various walls. She researched and collected World War II British Army memorabilia and converted the house into a kind of museum. She never had liked Vera Lynn’s singing – she was one of the few who wasn’t a fan – but his favourites were played repeatedly during each afternoon. He was served his lunch in tin containers on a tray.

Not entirely true to the time, he ate while sitting in his recliner with a cushion at his back.

Gertie believed that her acceptance of his short-term memory loss and her encouragement of him to remember the past, had helped to slow his inevitable decline. Perhaps it wouldn’t have worked for others whose memories were filled with traumatic events.

Gertie had no desire to live in the past. It was just as well that Roger’s early life had been completely separate, and rarely conjured up bad recollections for her. They had been in different parts of the world, and encountered different challenges. Roger dealt with heat and sandstorms, Gertie dealt with cold and hunger, and shrapnel falling around her. Roger had bedbugs for company at night, Gertie had a dirty blanket to pull around her as she sat on the cold, wet floor in the near-dark bomb shelter. Roger swept sand out of the huts. Gertie threw buckets of water on roofs.

Roger couldn’t remember where the baby had come from, who he was holding in his arms and telling stories to. Gertie didn’t push it, but just mentioned he was Simon’s son, knowing full well he wouldn’t remember who Simon was. He handed the baby to Gertie, having lost interest, and picked up his pipe. He didn’t smoke any more, but the feel of it in his hands gave him comfort.

He looked at Gertie and she knew he couldn’t figure out who she was. His eyes lit up a little, but Gertie could see that he didn’t really know.

The baby left, and the sadness at the family leaving her, hit her deep and hard.

Back to her life in the desert.

He took the cup and saucer from her but didn’t seem to know what to do with them. After some encouragement from Gertie, he took a couple of sips.

It happened like a lightening strike, out of nowhere. But it was as if he’d planned it. In a flash, he leant forward and pulled out a large kitchen knife. Gertie thought he was adjusting the cushion.

He stabbed her in the stomach and then stabbed himself.

He died before the ambulance arrived, but Gertie eventually recovered after some time in hospital and more time with her daughter. The house was sold.

The family blame Gertie. They say, because she allowed him to believe he was still in the army, he thought she was the enemy. But Gertie says he wouldn’t have killed himself, and he’d never killed or attempted to kill anyone before.

But her son asked how she knew that.

Anything could have happened in that desert. 

Vicky Earle Copyright 2021

Friday, 11 December 2020

Our Horses!

 I'm a Kittyhawk 

We're caring for two retired thoroughbred racehorses/broodmares at home (Lions Raw and I'm a Cheetah), as well as I'm Dashing, our two-year-old, who we plan to race next year at Woodbine Racetrack. He's taking it easy because he has the beginnings of a bone chip on his left knee. We want the bone to heal well before he goes back into training in the spring. He's on a special supplement as well as good feed, and he's restricted to a small round pen or his stall. 

We also have Dani's Victory at home. We own 50% of this racehorse. He did well this year, including a win on August 9:

I'm a Kittyhawk is the daughter of I'm a Cheetah and the granddaughter of Lions Raw and the mother of I'm Dashing. She doesn't live on our farm at the moment because we don't have sufficient space to provide a separate area for her. 

We also own 30% of a two-year-old we co-own with some friends. He suffered a minor injury and is also taking it easy and will go back into training in the spring.
I use my experience of horse ownership and horseracing, as well as country-living - including pet ownership - to fuel ideas for stories for my books. 
So far, I've written three mystery novels - the Meg Sheppard Mystery Series, and am editing the fourth in the series. Check out the December e-book promotion! 

Tuesday, 1 December 2020

Mystery Series E-Book Promotion!


All three books in the Meg Sheppard Mystery Series are available at special discount prices during the month of December: each reduced by about $1. E-book retailers' prices can vary, so these are approximate:

What Happened to Frank?: 99c;    Link to 1st book in series

Over Frank's Dead Body: $1.99;    Link to 2nd book in series

Pointed Attacks: $2.99                    Link to 3rd book in series

Each link takes you to the e-book retailer of your choice.

Soft-cover versions are available at Blue Heron Books located in Uxbridge. These are being offered at the special price of $17.99 each. 

If you can't make it to Blue Heron, and I can arrange to get copies to you!

Boxed sets of all 3 books are available upon request. Books make great gifts!

And - yes - a fourth book in the series is on its way. I'm editing! I'm hoping for a book launch in late spring/early summer. 

Happy Reading! and stay safe and healthy. I hope that 2021 is a better year for all of us. 

Monday, 16 November 2020

The Cavern - A Story


Image by Rudy and Peter Skitterians from Pixabyay

This story was written for a Uxbridge Writers' Circle Meeting. The words in italics are the ones we were challenged to include in our writing. I hope you enjoy "The Cavern":

Carter had no desire to visit Benwick’s Cavern near the Devon coast. It was bad enough that he’d allowed himself to be cajoled into a trip to the southwest of England. He considered the area to be backward – what it lacked in culture it made up for with noisy amusement arcades and trashy souvenir shops.

Carter was a city man who loved the world of finance and international business, with its busy days and packed schedules. He even liked riding up the lift in the centre of Toronto, to the 60th floor, and striding along the corridor to his corner office to sit in his executive leather chair.

But he did allow himself a seat in the theatre now and again, or a ticket to a Toronto Symphony Orchestra concert.

He sat in the Palace Hotel that morning, and appreciated the white linen tablecloths, the silver cutlery and the real carnation. The buffet breakfast was pretty decent too. This was better than he’d feared. His room was tolerable, with its large ensuite bathroom and comfortable bed.

But all these satisfactory things weren’t enough to persuade him it was worth his while to dress down – to don jeans and a sweater to visit a dark, dank, dripping cavern. He’d picked up a pamphlet on Benwick’s Cavern from the display in the hotel lobby. But the poor quality pictures of stalactites and stalagmites, along with the slimy, shiny walls, just served to make him even more disgruntled.

Carter folded his linen napkin and placed it with precision, parallel to the table’s edge. He finished his strong coffee and replaced the cup onto the saucer without a sound, and prepared to leave. Maggie and John said they would pick him up at ten. They were bound to be late but he needed to be on time.

He stood outside the revolving door and the damp air seeped through his clothes in an instant. He viewed this as an ominous omen for the day. He put his new rain jacket on and told himself if Maggie and John didn’t show up within five minutes, he’d go back to his room.

But they did show up, laughing at some idiotic joke as they waved and came to an abrupt halt in front of the hotel. Maggie had yet to master a manual gearbox, so the drive to the cavern was far from smooth, and the space in the back of the car didn’t come close to being enough for Carter’s comfort, being much more cramped than he was used to. He tried to cross his legs and couldn’t. Maggie’s sparkly eyes caught his, in the rear-view mirror, and he gave her a weak smile.

There was an introduction to the guided tour, with great emphasis placed on how dangerous it was to attempt to go under or over the railing. Children must be supervised at all times. Carter tuned out and looked around him. The predictable gift shop guarded the entrance and notices had been erected in numerous spots. The lawyers would have made a buck or two out of these, Carter thought. His feet were cold. His leather shoes were not a good choice. He noticed a lot of colourful rubber boots.

At last, the guide beckoned the group to follow, but Carter hung back. He planned to trail behind. He’d let others be within earshot of the enthusiastic commentator. The gravel pathway gave way to slimy stone and Carter grew concerned as his shoes failed to grip. Their leather soles gave no pretense at providing any traction. Traction was not something Carter needed. His driver would bring the car to the door in the heated garage at work and the same at home.

Carter was glad he was at the back of the group. He could hold onto the railing as they descended down the slippery slopes which led further into the hillside. He thought of turning back but hadn’t made note of which way they’d come, or if there were several choices or not – he thought there were. He’d noticed that the lights came on automatically as the group approached them. Would they light up for him if he went back? What if they suddenly turned off? He wasn’t sure his mobile’s flashlight would be enough.

A scream. And it didn’t come from him. It was piercing and followed by sobs. But the guide hadn’t heard it and, if anyone in the group had noticed, they didn’t let on. The lights behind Carter went out, but there was still enough light for him to make out a mother crouched down, holding a child who had an arm outreached towards the railing.

Carter edged towards them. They were in semi-darkness now.

“What’s the matter?” asked Carter.

“My giraffe. I dropped my giraffe.” The child burst into uncontrollable sobs as the mother, crouched down beside him, held him firmly in her arms.

“It’s okay,” the mother said to Carter. “He has other toys.”

“I want my giraffe.” The child kicked out and hit his mother. Carter became concerned. What if the child broke loose and got under the railing?

“I’ll get it,” said Carter, before he had a chance to think rationally or develop a plan. He took his mobile out of his pocket, got the flashlight working and shone it over the railing.

“Please don’t even try,” the mother said as she held onto the child’s writing body. “It’s not a stuffed toy, it’s made of wood and it’s breakable. It’ll be in pieces, falling on the rocks like that.”

“Ganpa gave it. Ganpa made it.” The child kicked out again.

“I will get it,” Carter said, as he placed a hand on the boy’s head. “But only if you stop kicking and screaming.” His deep, authoritative voice seemed to do the trick. The child turned his flushed face with its swollen eyes towards him and stopped his tantrum.

Carter took off his shoes. To give her credit, the mother didn’t make any comment – on this lack of suitability for a visit to the cavern. He rolled off his socks and folded each of them and placed them in his shoes. He could see the giraffe in the gulley and asked the mother to hold his phone so the light would stay focused on the toy.

They were right. It was dangerous to venture past the railing and negotiate the downwards slope of smooth, wet stone. He lost his balance and fell, but only his dignity was damaged. The gulley was about 15 feet deep and he’d slipped about two feet from the bottom.

The giraffe was lodged into a crevice but Carter was able to remove it with just one minor scratch. He crammed it into his pocket and scrambled back up the slope.

The child hugged his legs so hard that Carter thought he might lose his balance, and the mother gave him a peck on the cheek. What was this strange warm feeling tingling his insides?

“We need to catch up with the group somehow,” the mother said.

Carter said the child could ride on his shoulders, but the mother would have to alert him when they came to low parts. By the time they got back outside, Carter had a sore head from being pummeled by a wooden giraffe and a stiff back, but he’d made a lifetime friend in Annie.

He was so glad he visited Benwick’s Cavern.

It changed his life.

Vicky Earle Copyright 2020

Thursday, 1 October 2020

Here's a bit of flash fiction!


This piece was written in a flash - ten minutes during a meeting of the Uxbridge Writers' Circle

The prompt was "Children in a Tree" by the artist Alex Colville (sorry, the image above is obviously not that picture!). 

Lewis has always contended that being left stranded in the large, leafy oak tree caused him permanent damage. It wasn't so much the broken leg that he suffered when he finally tumbled to the ground, but the sense of abandonment. He'd thought that his older brother, nine years old at the time, loved him, or at the very least cared about him. He believed they had fun playing together, laughing together, chasing the dog together. To find out, in such a hurtful way, that he was completely and utterly wrong, shattered him. His legs had trembled and the tears flowed, seemingly unstoppable, as he'd tried to climb down. Losing his grip, he'd landed on the acorn-covered ground and heard someone screaming - it had been him. 

     Several years later, he enrolled in the same university his brother was attending. He'd managed to keep his distance, somehow, all that time after the oak tree incident, but their father had decided that they were to share an apartment, and wouldn't hear of anything different. Neither boy, or young man now, wanted to live in close proximity to the other. 

     Lewis moved in first, followed the next day by Bret, who didn't say a word. But after a couple of beers, Bret told him that their father had caned him for leaving Lewis in the tree and he still had the scars. 

     They talked at last. 

Vicky Earle copyright 2020