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Nicholas King

Before All Else

Fiona Holland

Before All Else

£8.99

ISBN 9781781325391

Published Aug 2016

216 x 140mm (252 pages)

The sight of a wallet, like a plate of steaming food arriving at the table, seems to magnetise the two men, who stand and stare into it. Marcus instantly regrets the thick wad of notes folded within the confines of the leather for making it look as if he has double the amount he really has. Secondly, they might think it worthwhile mugging him. After all, who knows he is here? Only one monumentally disaffected soon-to-be ex-wife and his old drinking chums from The Ambassadors. Not exactly enough to form a guard of honour, were he to be found, skull stoved in amongst this stash of unpacked boxes and in need of a hasty burial.

How deep do we bury our secrets?

The Suffolk village of Bullenden is the setting for this comic and bitter-sweet tale of peccadilloes, consequences and lemon drizzle cake.

Cecily, long-time resident of the village and outwardly most respectable of the three de Mare sisters, cannot escape the murky events of her past. Loud-mouthed Mandy threatens to blow her secret wide open. Will Cecily’s reputation survive or will she lose face to the two people who matter most in her life – her sisters?

Marcus flees London at the end of his marriage to the vitriolic Velda while she blithely shares their relationship’s most intimate secrets with her own outraged sisterhood. What are the post-break-up rules here?

In this highly characterful village, we meet, amongst many others, Madge the irrepressible Post Mistress, Gwyddno the reluctant Pagan traveller and Major Welding, anxious to reinvent himself following a rather close shave with the authorities.

During preparations for the annual summer fair, the village reveals its own hidden treasure – an ancient and holy space is unearthed. Marcus, amateur history sleuth, is given a chance to rebuild his tattered life as he investigates the magic, mystery and purpose of this rediscovered place.

Layers – both personal and archaeological – are stripped away.

Sometimes the silent voices of our past sing our way to a brighter future.

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