- Paperback: 378 pages
- Publisher: Black Opal Books (23 Sept. 2017)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1626947015
- ISBN-13: 978-1626947016
- Product Dimensions: 13.3 x 2 x 20.3 cm
The seaside resort of Torquay along the English Riviera in Devon is the perfect place for a restful holiday. That’s what journalist Emmeline Kirby desperately needs after her harrowing escapes from spies and others with nefarious intentions back in London. She also needs distance to sort out her conflicted feelings for jewel thief Gregory Longdon, who once stole her heart. But who should turn up out of the blue? The ever-charming, devastatingly handsome Gregory. That’s when secrets from his past—and murder—shatter the serenity of this picturesque haven.
From Beyond The Grave is the third book in the series of thrillers featuring Emmeline Kirby and Gregory Langdon. I know this may put some of you off as you haven’t read the previous two, but this can be read as a stand alone novel. There are references to the past of Emmeline and Gregory but this does not impact on the enjoyment and understanding of this book; to be honest it piqued my interest and I have now purchased the previous two books in the series Lead Me To Danger and Deadly Legacy.
The plot of this novel is deceiving at the beginning, with Emmeline visiting Torquay on holiday after loosing her job and her relationship with Gregory Langdon. But her tranquil holiday is soon interrupted when Gregory turns up and then there is a murder. After the slow start From Beyond Th Grave picks up pace as secrets, lies, deceit, blackmail conclude in murder. By the end of this book nearly every character turns out not to be who you first thought, twists and turns with numerous red herrings keep you engaged with this book. Daniella Bennett is clever in her writing as she doesn’t answer all the questions between Emmeline and Gregory, leaving you looking forward the fourth instalment in the series.
Daniella Bennett is a very descriptive writer. She pays a lot of attention to detail, in the setting of the book, it’s scenery, and location, and to her characterisation. Emmiline is a very likeable character, very trusting and thoughtful towards others; someone who liked to see the good in others, you see what you get. Whilst Gregory Langdon can be evasive, mysterious and is always holding some of himself back. He is like a complex puzzle in that he has so many different layers, almost different personas depending on who he is with. The femme fatal of this thriller is Lady Veronica Cabot; thirty years younger than her husband, having an affair with her husband’s nephew, and is able to make most men go week at the knees. She is sultry, sexy and scandalous, there is a lot not to like about her. It is this triangle of characters that are the main players in this thriller, and they way they bounce off each other, and interact adds tension and suspense to the plot.
From Beyond The Grave is a tense thriller that had me hooked from the first page, and kept my attention until the last; it has even made me go and buy the previous two books in the series. The attention to detail, the layers of deceit and lies between the characters, and the plot combine to make this an enjoyable read.
Thank you for joining me on my blog today. Could you start by telling me a bit about yourself?
I am a member of the Mystery Writers of America New York Chapter. I graduated summa cum laude from St. John’s University with a B.S. in Journalism. I am the author of a mystery series featuring journalist Emmeline Kirby and jewel thief Gregory Longdon. They are former lovers. Both are British and my series takes place in the United Kingdom and Europe. The first three books are LEAD ME INTO DANGER, DEADLY LEGACY and FROM BEYOND THE GRAVE. I’m also the author of two poetry collections, TIMELESS ALLURE and SILKEN REFLECTIONS.
When did you realise you wanted to be a writer?
I think it started subconsciously with a love of reading and an appreciation of language and the written word. All writers at heart must be readers. Meanwhile, the spark that launched me into the writing world was my fourth grade teacher. Once a week, she had Creative Writing hour and gave us different assignments. I absolutely loved it. And the rest, as they say, is history.
What books did you enjoy reading as a child?
I am, and always have been, a voracious reader. Mysteries, spy thrillers, the classics, history, biographies, anything except science fiction and horror. (I wouldn’t be able to sleep at night if I read those types of books).
From Beyond The Grave is the third in the Emmeline Kirby and Gregory Longdon series, can you tell me a bit about these books?
LEAD ME INTO DANGER, Book 1, is set in Venice and London, my two most favorite cities in the world. In this book, Emmeline and Gregory haven’t seen each other in two years, but she literally runs into him in Venice after witnessing two men try to murder her colleague. Then, Emmeline and Gregory become ensnared in a hunt for a Russian spy in the British Foreign Office. DEADLY LEGACY, Book 2, is about $100 million in stolen diamonds, revenge and murder. It takes place in London. FROM BEYOND THE GRAVE is set in the seaside resort of Torquay along the English Riviera in Devon. It’s about the deep, dark secrets of Gregory’s past, love, betrayal and murder.
Where did you get your inspiration for your characters from?
I think a part of every author is in his or her characters. With that said,
I decided to make Emmeline a journalist because journalists are inherently curious about many subjects. His or her job is to ask questions to uncover the truth and ensure transparency. Naturally, a journalist would be intrigued by crime, especially murder. The determination to find answers and see that justice is served are all important.
Now, how does a jewel thief fit into the model of a sleuth? Aren’t lying and evading the law a thief’s modus operandi? Isn’t this in stark contrast to a journalist’s reverence for the truth and justice? Most definitely. That’s exactly the point. A portrait in contrasts. Who better than someone on the wrong side of the law to discern the twisted workings of a fellow criminal’s mind? A thief immediately recognizes things that the honest person would never even contemplate. In Gregory’s case, he has a certain code of honor. Murder is an offensive transgression. A line that should never be crossed. Thus, I have two diametrically opposed sleuths, a woman and a man bringing different perspectives because of their sex. However, they are of one mind when it comes to the taking of a human life: the culprit must pay for the crime, otherwise chaos would reign in the world.
Do you have a specific place where you write, and a set writing routine?
I write in my sitting room. As for a set routine, I’m a morning person and would prefer to write during the day. However, I work full time and therefore I can only write in the evenings and on the weekends. It’s a struggle to squeeze in the time to write, but I try to be disciplined about it. Where there’s a will, there’s a way.
If you could sit down with three authors, dead or alive, who would they be and why?
Agatha Christie would definitely be at the top of my list. She is the author who has influenced me the most. It would be fascinating to delve into her thoughts about the craft of writing in general and mysteries in particular. I would try to learn how a master conceives such deliciously wicked and ingenious plots that have kept readers turning pages generation after generation.
Meanwhile, there are several authors with whom I have become connected via social media. We exchange lively ideas about writing and life. I would love to meet them in person in one day. They all have been extremely supportive of my writing. So if I may, I would like to mention them here: Tracy Grant; Emma Jameson; Meg Mims; and Sharon Piscareta. Alyssa Maxwell is among these friends and I had the pleasure of meeting her in person. I look forward to doing so again.
What is your favourite book?
This is such a difficult question. There are so many authors that I thoroughly enjoy. I would have to say Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier is one of my absolute favorites. Du Maurier skillfully ratchets up the suspense by writing the story in first-person. As with all such narratives, the reader only gets one viewpoint. But in this case, the narrator is unnamed which only enhances the mystery. She is known throughout the story only as Mrs. de Winter, the second wife of the brooding and attractive Maxim. It was a stroke of brilliance on Du Maurier’s part to have as her narrator a naïve young woman, who is timid and rather unsure of herself. She remains utterly in awe of the beautiful Rebecca, Maxim’s first wife. Mrs. Danvers, the housekeeper who was devoted to Rebecca, never misses an opportunity to let the narrator know she is a pale comparison. All along, the reader suspects that something is wrong and is compelled to keep flipping pages in a race to find the truth. The book left me breathless. I hope one day readers will say the same thing about my books.
Without giving too much away, what are you working on at the moment?
I’m actually working on Book 6. However, I would be happy to give you a tiny hint about what awaits Emmeline and Gregory in A CHECKERED PAST, Book 4, which will be released in September 2018. Three months have passed since Emmeline’s trip to Torquay and the devastating revelations that surfaced about Gregory. The whole interlude has left a bitter taste in her mouth. She has thrown herself into her work and is keeping him at arm’s length. But suave and charming Gregory is not giving up — neither are Emmeline’s grandmother and her best friend, Maggie. After all, faint heart never won fair lady. Hold your breath to see if he succeeds in his suit. Other threads in the story revolve around looted Nazi art, a former IRA commander and oh, yes, murder.