Valentine’s Day is fast approaching and business at Persimmon ‘Simmy’ Brown’s flower shop is booming. But when Simmy fulfills a string of anonymous delivery orders, she is startled to realize that each contains a secretly menacing message for the recipients. When one of the people who receives a bouquet disappears, it seems that her worst fears have been confirmed.
As if that isn’t enough, Simmy’s friend Kathy turns up, on the trail of her wayward daughter Joanna, who she fears has grown too close to one of her university tutors. When Kathy attempts to reason with her daughter she finds that Joanna’s older lover may be even more dangerous than she had imagined. With both Kathy and Joanna in peril, Simmy and her friends find themselves caught up in a web of deception, blackmail and murder…
Q: Aloha Rebecca and thanks for stopping by Island Confidential! Can you tell us a little about your protagonist?
A: She is Persimmon (Simmy) Brown, in her late 30s and recently divorced. She moved to Windermere in the Lake District and opened a florist shop. Her parents run a somewhat eccentric B&B in the same town. Simmy’s only baby was stillborn, two years earlier, and she is still suffering from the grief and trauma of that.
She has quite a soft nature, and is essentially innocent about the wicked ways of the world. Very soon after opening the shop she is involved in a murder, and she gradually realises that flowers can be used for malicious purposes as well as benevolent ones. This becomes especially apparent in ‘The Coniston Case’ which is the 3rd book in the series.
Q: How much of you is in Simmy?
A: There is not much of me in Simmy. She is perhaps how I would like to be if I was less cynical and acquisitive.
Q: How would you feel about Simmy if you met her in real life?
A: If I met her, I think I’d feel quite protective of her.
Q: Do your characters change and evolve throughout consecutive books in the series?
A: The younger ones do, very much. Melanie (Simmy’s first assistant in the shop) establishes herself in a career; Ben (a young geeky student) grows up considerably in Books 5 and 6. Simmy herself recovers steadily from losing the baby and grows clearer about what she wants from life. She also is faced with the inevitable aging and decline of her parents.
Q: Have you ever thought of killing someone that you know in real life–on the pages of a murder mystery, I mean?
A: Oh yes.
Q: How realistic is your setting? Do you take liberties, or are you true to life?
A: My settings are real towns and villages. I keep the main landmarks accurate, and then take liberties with individual buildings and businesses.
Q: What’s the worst and best advice you’ve heard or received as an author?
A: Best – spend more time reading than writing. Worst – get an agent.
About The Author
Rebecca Tope is the author of four murder mystery series, featuring Den Cooper, Devon police detective, Drew Slocombe, Undertaker; Thea Osborne, house sitter in the Cotswolds, and now Persimmon Brown, Lake District florist. She is also a “ghost writer” of the novels based on the ITV series Rosemary and Thyme.