#GuestPost #SprucedUpForMurder by Helen Golden @rararesources

I am delighted to share a guest post with you today by Helen Golden author of Spruced Up For Murder

The Book

Death at Francis Court Now Confirmed as Murder!

Speculation is rife that the victim, estate manager Alex Sterling (44), was found by Lady Beatrice (35), the Countess of Rossex, niece of King James. Lady Beatrice, who has finally come out of hiding following her son’s departure to boarding school, has been managing the project to refurbish and redesign the Events Suite at Francis Court, alongside Perry Juke.

Heading up the murder investigation is Detective Chief Inspector Richard Fitzwilliam. Rumour has it that he and Lady Beatrice have a fractious history…

Awful man! How dare Fitzwilliam suggest Lady Beatrice’s sister is the number one suspect for Alex’s murder. It could be any one of the staff who were on-site that morning. Well, she’ll show Mr High and Mighty Fitzwilliam! With her attention to detail, her clever dog Daisy, Perry’s imagination, and his partner’s contacts at Fenshire CID, they’ll find the murderer before him.

Unless the murderer finds her first…

Guest Post

Author’s Research or ‘any excuse to visit a stately home or castle’ by Helen Golden

A question I’m frequently asked as an author is what inspired you to write your book or series. It’s always a hard one to answer because it’s often a combination of several things — a news article you read that sparked an idea; something someone said that you thought would make a good basis for a plot or a character; a place you visited that seemed like the ideal setting for a story. But the main driver for me when writing the A Right Royal Cozy Investigation series was my love of stately homes and castles.

My parents have always been big fans of visiting old properties and in Norfolk, where I was born, there was an abundance of them on our doorstep. I loved Blickling Hall, the red-bricked Jacobean house which was the birthplace of Anne Boleyn and, of course, we also had the royal family’s private home, Sandringham, just up the road. With its large estate full of woods and walks, I remember my brother and I collecting conkers there when we were younger. Both houses were the inspiration for Fenn House, the king’s fictional private residence in my third book in the series, Not Mushroom for Death, where a famous chef is poisoned during a Food and Wine Show.

But my all-time favourite house and gardens to visit was (and still is) Holkham Hall. Set on the Norfolk coast in acres and acres of beautiful parkland and sandy beaches, the impressive Palladian style hall of Holkham was built in the 18th century and is still privately owned. There is only one word to describe the Hall when you catch your first glance of it — magnificent. It’s the inspiration for the external aspects of the main mansion at Francis Court, the fictitious house and estate on the Fenshire coast that features in the first book of my series, Spruced Up for Murder. Belonging to her father’s family, it’s where my main character Lady Beatrice, the Countess of Rossex, lives and where she finds the body of the estate manager in one of the rooms she is refurbishing.

Living in Lincolnshire we’re lucky to be surrounded by more marvellous stately piles, my favourite being Belton House and Gardens, just a short drive from our village. Considered to be an example of a typical English country house, it’s fronted by beautifully laid out formal gardens which in turn are the backdrop to a stunning orangery. Deer wander around the grounds and as you stroll away from the house, along the avenue of trees leading down to the lake, you can imagine previous occupants taking their daily constitutionally along the same route. Belton House was the inspiration for the layout of the Francis Court estate which includes a church, an orangery (where exclusive weddings take place) and a courtyard in the middle of an old stable block now converted, in the book, into staff flats, offices and retail units.

One of the great advantages of being an author is that you have an excuse to visit these palatial buildings and their grounds in the name of research. On a recent trip to Scotland, I dragged my husband around several castles gathering information and finding inspiration for the fourth book in my series, A Dead Herring, which is based at Drew Castle, my fictional royal family’s retreat in Scotland. I haven’t started writing it yet, but after my recent trip I now have a good idea of the architecture and layout of the main house with plans to use the cold stone spiral staircases, the low beamed ceilings, and the colourful wall hangings we saw to create an atmospheric setting for a murder during a secret gathering of international movers and shakers.

And next on my list is a return visit to Chatsworth House, the stunning home of the Cavendish family near Bakewell in Derbyshire. I need more time to absorb its majesty. Book 5 in the series, I Spy With My Little Die, will be set in the fictional home of the royal family in Surrey, Gollingham Palace, and Chatsworth is prefect to provide the inspiration for that setting. Oh, and they also make a delicious pink gin. I love doing research!

Purchase Links

Amazon UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Spruced-Murder-Right-Royal-Investigation-ebook/dp/B0BDGN7PSB

Amazon US – https://www.amazon.com/Spruced-Murder-Right-Royal-Investigation-ebook/dp/B0BDGN7PSB

About the Author

Hello. I’m Helen Golden. I write British contemporary cozy whodunnits with a hint of humour. I live in small village in Lincolnshire in the UK with my husband, my step-daughter, her two cats, our two dogs, sometimes my step-son, and our tortoise.

I used to work in senior management, but after my recent job came to a natural end I had the opportunity to follow my dreams and start writing. It’s very early in my life as an author, but so far I’m loving it.

It’s crazy busy at our house, so when I’m writing I retreat to our caravan (an impulsive lockdown purchase) which is mostly parked on our drive. When I really need total peace and quiet, I take it to a lovely site about 15 minutes away and hide there until my family runs out of food or clean clothes


Social Media Links – insta – https://www.instagram.com/helengolden_author/

Tik Tok – https://www.tiktok.com/@helengoldenauthor

Website – https://helengoldenauthor.com/

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/helengoldenauthor

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