If, like me, you’re already a fan of the wonderful Bristolian novelist Jodi Taylor, you’ll get my reference to one of her St Mary’s Chronicles series. St Mary’s is a research institution where historians research historical events in contemporary time. Yes, they time-travel. Although as Jodi cheerfully admits, she has no idea how the time travel pods actually work.
Jodi is busy launching the ninth and latest in this series, An Argumentation of Historians, and together with her lovely publisher Hazel came up with the splendid idea of Prosecco and afternoon tea at Octavo’s Book Cafe in Cardiff. Jodi, bubbles and scones – what’s not to love?
So off I trotted last Saturday with my regular partner in literary event crime, my beautiful daughter-in-law Ariana. Seldom have sixteen lucky people had better or more delicious entertainment. Jodi and Hazel fielded increasingly risque Q&As; Jodi read from her new short story, The Battersea Barricades; and then having worn themselves out on our behalves, Jodi and Hazel joined our tea tables and regaled us with even more tales, funny and/or true.
There was a risk, as Jodi was explaining how she came to invent the stalwart and immensely popular Markham (now the new Head of the Security Section at St Mary’s despite a long and chequered history not unassociated with alien probes – you’ll need to read the books), that we would inhale too much fizz and not enough oxygen, and literally die laughing.
For me, the really good news was that the follow-up to the first in Jodi’s new series, White Silence, will be published this autumn. Greatly though I love the St Mary’s Chronicles with their mix of hilarious mishaps and serious history, I found White Silence utterly captivating. This new series deals with Elizabeth Cage, a mouse-like unassuming loner struggling to cope after the premature death of her husband. But that’s just the start of her troubles. Elizabeth realises her strange psychic gifts are no longer secret; in fact she is in great danger from a powerful foe. And the only ally she seems to have is less than reliable…
If you’ve been living under a rock, and haven’t yet heard of Jodi, I urge you to try her books. I promise you will not regret the investment. You might well come to regard me as your new best friend for suggesting her stories.
You know where to send tokens of your appreciation.
Jacquie Rogers will be abroad travelling by motorbike – yes, the much-loved Tigger – from 9 May to mid-June. Or longer. To follow the fresh adventures of The Rider and his long-suffering Pillion as they roar and quaff their way from Spain to Albania, see her other blog: