#TeaWithLeigh

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12049428_10153151341282844_2841710274308182234_n“The quintessentially British tradition of afternoon tea is usually credited to Anna, 7th Duchess of Bedford in the early 1800’s.”

Or so says the menu of Anna’s tea room, as I peruse its thick, heavy-set and gilded pages trying to make a decision.

You see last month I was a very fortunate (and very smiley) reviewer who was invited by No Exit Press to experience the delights of afternoon tea with accompanying champagne at The Grosvenor House Hotel, Park Lane, London. There were several other reviewers and bloggers there along with Guest of Honour, author of the DI Geraldine Steel and DI Ian Peterson serial thrillers, Leigh Russell.

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Me with Leigh

We gathered initially in the Library where I presented Leigh with her very own “Blood Axe” (albeit a plastic one with no blood, although I did provide some red paint) and after a few fun photos

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Fellow reviewer Kirstie Long protecting her champagne from Leigh’s new Blood Axe

we were directed to our tables to order.

Tea was the first order of the day, and there were plenty to choose from, however as a person whose preference is “builders brew” that comes mainly from Yorkshire, I think I was a tad over ambitious in my selection, but in the spirit of adventure I had to try their Flowering Red Amaranth tea, just because it sounded so intriguing.image

After tea, some seat shuffling and a few more photo’s we were given a palate cleansing tropical fruit coupe, before being served with finger sandwiches, mini pastries and deliciously sweet desserts, before the final course of warmed plain or raisin scones with a selection of jams and clotted cream. All of which was absolutely gorgeous, and surprisingly more filling than you may think.

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Cakes, pastries and sandwiches

For four hours we laughed, ate, drank, (did I mention the champagne?) asked questions, talked books and reading, and Leigh’s upcoming releases. I had a fabulous time. In stark contrast to the dark themes of her regular #1 bestselling thrillers, Leigh is a delightfully sunny person to be around, is welcoming to all who enjoy reading, and supportive of those still aspiring publication. If you get chance to catch up with her at any of her regular book signings, or events (details of which can be found on the No Exit Press website) I highly recommend you do so.

 

 

 

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DI Geraldine Steel 7 – Out Now in e-book & paperback

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DI Ian Peterson 3 – Out now in e-book. Out in paperback 25th November

Heading for Harrogate

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theakstonscrimefictionvestlogo200Yes, it’s that time of year again, I really can’t believe it has come around so quickly, but tomorrow I shall be heading up north for what is now the ninth time to attend the 2015 Theakston’s Old Peculiar Crime Writing Festival.

I have some amazing activities lined up, a few dinners and party invites to take up, and I’m looking forward to catching up with the many friends I have there that I only get to see when the festival comes around.

I’m looking forward to going even more than usual this year however.  Wearing my Crimesquad.com hat I will be interviewing Hakan Nesser & Arnaldur Indridason for articles to be posted over there so I’m ridiculously squeeing, and at the same time I’m terribly nervous.  When the interviews go up I’ll add some links, or alternatively if you haven’t already, make sure you add CrimeSquad.com to your favourites.  It’s a fantastic site I love being a part of, and since it’s recently celebrated its 10th anniversary, there is an absolute wealth of reviews to be discovered in its archives.

Now I’m off for some last minute packing and prep.  Do stop me and and say hello if you are up at the festival this year, you’ll more than likely find me in the bar…..