June is here and spring is well advanced on the small island in Puget Sound where I live. It is the time of rebirth—not just for the natural world but also for me. Let me explain:
So many of my wonderful readers have written to ask why they can’t find the fourth book in my Davies & West murder mystery series set in Cornwall, England, Murder on the Commons. I’d promised it more than a year ago, and an explanation is long overdue. The answer is…cancer.
Although robustly healthy all my adult life, I began getting infections more than a year ago—viral bronchitis and then pneumonia, among others. They sap your energy so completely that it’s like someone pulled the plug and you simply drained out onto the floor. I also began losing weight. Rapidly. Tests finally revealed I have a rare and incurable form of blood and bone marrow cancer.
Incurable, yes, but treatable!
So the good news is that I’m going to be okay. The bad news is that the treatment—chemo- and immune-therapy drug infusions—effectively shut my brain down for months. It’s commonly called “chemo brain” and it is a remarkable, even amusing phenomenon if you have a perverse sense of humor: your brain simply stops functioning normally. You become unable to recall why you got out of your chair and walked across the room and this just makes you smile, retrace your steps, and start over again in the hope that the purpose will again be revealed. You are perfectly happy to stare out the window at the trees (for hours) with absolutely nothing else going on in your head. Weeks go by like this. The little bit of brain that is still functioning understands this is abnormal but is helpless to change the situation. In fact, it is annoyed. It berates you. It tells you to pull your socks up and get to work. But of course, you don’t care because your brain is in a fog! And anyway, your imagination is off on holiday in some far more pleasant location—a powdery beach, perhaps, with a tropical cocktail in its hand and coconut palm leaves rustling in the warm breeze. It has no interest in returning home.
But it is June at last, those brain-deadening treatments are over (for now at least), and the desire and ability to write has slowly returned. Murder on the Commons, I am pleased to announce, is alive and well and moving again toward completion.
Here’s a hint of what’s to come: Colin West’s pacemaker operation is healing well and he and Morgan Davies (who, uncharacteristically, has been acting as his nursemaid and a loving surrogate mom for his daughters) are back on the job. DCI Penwarren is caught up in the complexities of his ex-wife’s family, the Cuthbertsons, Lords of the Manor on whose land a strangely tattooed body was found. And the victim himself turns out to have had a very shady past. But how he turned up dead in a mire more than three hundred miles from his home remains a twisted mystery for Penwarren’s team to unravel. And that’s just the first 130 pages!
Thank you for your patience, my friends. It won’t be long now. Meanwhile, enjoy the summer!