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Author Spotlight: H L Marsay with a Halloween Question and a Giveaway!


I’m so pleased to bring H L Marsay back to the blog for a special Halloween edition of the Author Spotlight! H L always loved detective stories and promised herself that one day, she would write one, too. She is lucky enough to live in York, a city full of history and mystery. When not writing, the five men in her life keep her busy – two sons, two dogs and one husband. When she isn’t coming up with new ways to bump people off, she enjoys red wine, dark chocolate, and blue cheese – not necessarily together!

You can find her on her website and all over social media:

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

She’s here today with her new release, A Ghostly Shadow, the third book in her Chief Inspector Shadow Mysteries from Tule Mystery. Welcome, H L!

Thanks for inviting me to your blog, Nan. I’m thrilled to be able to tell you about my latest release, A Ghostly Shadow. This is the third book in the Chief Inspector Shadow Mysteries. It’s set in York at Halloween and involves several of York’s ghost walkers, the men and women who guide visitors around the city and entertain them with spooky and gruesome tales. Their rivalry and squabbling appear to have got out of control when one of them is found hanging from a tree! It is left to Chief Inspector Shadow and his enthusiastic sergeant, Jimmy Chang, to investigate. Their task is made even more complicated by a sprained ankle, a stray cat and an impromptu visit to Oxford. Then the killer strikes again!

My main character, John Shadow, is not a fan of Halloween. He thinks the ghost stories are all nonsense and hates how crowded the city becomes at this time of year. However, with over five hundred reports of spooky happenings within our ancient walls, it isn’t too surprising that visitors arrive here in droves. York has a long and sometimes dark history, especially when it comes to how the women of the city were treated. Many of their restless souls are still said to roam the streets today, including the two I’d like to tell you about below.

Almost every city is said to be haunted by a “grey lady”. In York, we have three. Two reside in Ye Olde Starre Inn and the York Arms, while the other haunts the theatre. York’s theatre stands on what was once the medieval St Leonard’s Hospital, where the city’s sick were cared for by sisters from a nearby convent. Therese, a young nun, who worked at the hospital fell in love with a handsome nobleman. For this crime, she was bricked up in a windowless room and left to die. Therese’s cell is now one of the dressing rooms and if her hooded, grey figure is ever seen, she is said to bring good luck to the theatre’s current production.

Across the road from the theatre, another ill-treated young lady has been seen. King’s Manor was built in 1270 and was once the home to the Abbot of St Mary’s. When Henry VIII decided he wanted to marry Anne Boleyn and break with Rome, he made himself head of the Church of England. The monasteries and abbeys now belonged to Henry and their inhabitants were evicted. The Abbot’s House became King’s Manor. Henry’s treatment of the monks and nuns may have been harsh, but it was nothing compared to how he treated his wives. After beheading Anne, divorcing wife number four and losing another another wife in between, Henry decided to marry again. By now, Henry was fifty and his new wife, Catherine Howard, was just eighteen. Shortly after their marriage, Henry and Catherine visited York and stayed at King’s Manor. While there, Catherine fell in love with the young and handsome Thomas Culpepper. The affair was soon discovered. Catherine and her lover were taken to the Tower of London and executed. Since her death, Catherine’s spirit is said to have returned to King’s Manor, the last place on earth where she was happy. Today, King’s Manor is part of the University of York, but Catherine’s ghostly image has sometimes been seen wandering through the Manor’s grounds and walking through walks. Her arms are always full of roses from the garden where she used to meet her lover.

GIVEAWAY!! Thanks for stopping by today. I hope you are all looking forward to celebrating Halloween as much as I am. For a chance to win a signed, paperback copy of A Ghostly Shadow, comment below and tell me what costume you would wear to a Halloween party (I make a very good witch!). I’ll pick a winner at random, in two days.

Happy Halloween!

A Ghostly Shadow

Sometimes the past comes back to haunt you…

This Halloween, the notorious rivalry between York’s iconic ghost walk tour guides spirals out of control when the body of one guide dressed as the infamous highwayman Dick Turpin is found hanging from a tree. A few days later, his partner, who plays Guy Fawkes, is killed by an explosion of gunpowder at their office.

Detective Chief Inspector John Shadow is a man of contradictions. A solitary figure who notices the smallest details about other people, but endeavours to avoid their company. A lover of good food, but whose fridge is almost always empty. Although he would prefer to work alone, he is assisted by his eager and easygoing partner Sergeant Jimmy Chang. Despite a sprained ankle, a stray cat and an impromptu trip to Oxford, the two men investigate the shocking murders that have York on edge. Are the murders the work of a madman or a business feud?

And then the killer strikes again.

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