Tag Archives: h l marsay

A GHOSTLY SHADOW: Release day blog post featuring H L Marsay!

The Ghostly Tales of York

With over five hundred reports of spooky happenings within our ancient walls, the International Ghost Research Foundation has declared York to be the most haunted city in Europe. Well, when I heard that, I just had to write a book that included some of the city’s most famous ghost stories. A Ghostly Shadow, the third Chief Inspector Shadow Mystery takes place at Halloween and involves several of York’s ghost walkers, the men and women who guide visitors around the city and entertain them with scary and gruesome tales.

Shambles

Two of my ghost walk guides dress up as York’s most infamous sons, Guy Fawkes and Dick Turpin, who are both said to haunt the city. Guy Fawkes was born in York. He was a Catholic at a time when King James, a Protestant, was on the throne. Desperate to return the country to the ‘true faith’, Fawkes and his fellow conspirators hatched a plot to blow up the Houses of Parliament and assassinate the king in November 1605. However, they were betrayed and Fawkes was arrested next to the gunpowder in the cellars beneath the Palace of Westminster. After being tortured in the Tower of London, he was put to death as a traitor. Now every November 5th we celebrate this event with fireworks and burning effigies of Guy on bonfires. Please note, the only place that does not celebrate is York’s St Peter’s School where Guy was educated – they think it’s bad form to burn an old boy!

A hundred years later, Dick Turpin, the notorious highwayman, suffered a violent death too. Originally from the south of England, he was a thief, who killed a gamekeeper then ran away to York and changed his name to John Palmer. While here, he was arrested for stealing a chicken. From prison he wrote to his family, but by a cruel twist of fate, the postman who delivered the letter was the man who taught Dick to write and recognised his handwriting. When his true identity was revealed, Dick was hanged on the Knavesmire and afterwards his body was put on display in the cellar of the Blue Boar on Castlegate. A replica of his coffin is still there today!

Blue Boar Inn

Perhaps our most famous ghost story takes place at the Treasurer’s House. Originally built to house the man in charge of the Minster’s finances, it eventually became a private home. In the 1950’s, Harry Martindale, an apprentice plumber, was working alone in the cellar. He could hear the sound of a horn being blown, but assumed it was a radio on upstairs. Then he heard the sound of horse’s hooves and a huge carthorse suddenly emerged through the wall behind him. On the horse’s back was a Roman soldier. Harry fell from his ladder in horror and watched as the horse was followed by a procession of other soldiers. Unlike the Hollywood depiction of Romans in red and gleaming gold uniforms, these soldiers were dirty, dishevelled and dressed in green. He could also only see them from the knees up. When telling his story to historians from the university, they confirmed that his description of the soldiers was accurate for the legions who were based in York, but the details he gave were unknown outside academic circles. They also explained that the Via Decumana, the original Roman Road, was buried fifteen inches beneath the cellar floor which was why their lower legs were not visible.

Treasurer’s House

Not far from the Minster and Treasurer’s House, stands the Plague House. The bubonic plague arrived in London in 1665 and soon spread north. A little girl was bricked up inside the house with her parents who had symptoms of the deadly disease, to prevent further contamination. Although she didn’t have the plague herself, the little girl was left to die, with no food or water. Since then, her tear-stained face has been spotted staring out of the window.

The Plague House in the shadow of the Minster  

Those of you who have read A Long Shadow, the first book in my series, may remember that a victim was discovered in Bedern next to one of Shadow’s favourite Italian restaurants. Bedern means college or house of prayer in Anglo-Saxon. It was once home to the Minster’s choral scholars. All that now remains is Bedern Hall, the old refectory or dining room. In the nineteenth century, Bedern Hall was used as a school and workhouse for the city’s orphans. It was run by a man named Pimm, who was more concerned with the money he could make than the welfare of the children in his care. Many of those in his care died of starvation. At first, he buried their bodies but when winter came and the ground became hard, he hid them in a cupboard. Soon the guilt and his drinking drove Pimm mad. His crimes were discovered and he was taken to an asylum. Today it is still claimed that as you walk along Bedern you can hear the sound of children playing, but if you stop and listen, their laughter soon turns to screams.

Bedern Hall today

I hope you’ve enjoyed these ghostly tales of York. If you have, why not come and find me on Facebook where I often post about the weird and wonderful happenings in my home city.

HL Marsay | Facebook

Happy Halloween!

About the Author

H L Marsay always loved detective stories and promised herself that one day, she would write one too. She is lucky enough to live in York, a city full of history and mystery. When not writing, the five men in her life keep her busy – two sons, two dogs and one husband.

Tule Publishing October 2021 Releases

Read more about our new releases for October!

GIVEAWAY: We will pick ONE winner to receive a digital book of their choice from the October releases. Comment down below saying which book you’re looking most forward to reading! Giveaway is open INTERNATIONALLY. The winner will be randomly selected at the end of the month.

 

The Witch’s Reckoning by Leigh Ann Edwards (Muse)

Release Date: October 4, 2021

The Witches of Time, Book 4

They’ve prevailed against the greatest of odds, but will the ultimate battle lead to their reckoning?

The beautiful Irish witch Alainn O’Brien and her husband Killian, a handsome warrior chieftain, have been in love most of their lives. While danger has followed the gifted witch and her sovereign guardian ruthlessly and relentlessly, their love and commitment have always saved them. But now, finally returned to their castle, they and the other witches and guardians must face what may be their greatest challenge yet—the long-predicted battle between light and dark magic.

With death in the air, secrets revealed, others concealed and a spell of discontent placed upon the chiefdom, threatening even the strongest relationships, Alainn and Killian’s troubles grow exponentially. When they receive an ominous invitation to meet with the infamous Dark Lord Odhran, they must decide if it’s worth the risk.

To defeat Odhran, they’ll need to band together and combine their powers, crossing the realms of time and pushing the boundaries of magic. Who’ll live to see the battle and who’ll live through it?


Christmas Ever After by Clare Connelly (American Heart)

Release Date: October 6, 2021

Cape Hope, Book 2

He once chose her happiness over his. Can this Christmas be their second chance?

Cassidy Hanna never felt like she belonged in Cape Hope, so she fled town and heartbreak ten years ago for a new life in Manhattan and everything she ever dreamed of—a great job and the perfect boyfriend. Only she’s never felt emptier and more alone. When her beloved grandfather falls ill, she knows she must push aside the past and return home to help.

Letting Cassidy go without a fight was the hardest thing Cape Hope doctor Phoenix Walker had ever done. Even as his own life fell apart, he lied and encouraged her to fly far from home to live out her dreams. Now Cassidy’s back—just for Christmas—and Phoenix wonders if they can have a second chance at a happy ever after…even if it’s just for the holiday.


Ending on a Die Note by Nancy Robards Thompson (Tule Mystery)

Release Date: October 7, 2021

The Wedding Bell Mysteries, Book 3

All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely killers…

Everybody’s talking about Hemlock’s annual fall festival’s headliner band, ShakesPierre. Everyone but Tess Harrison, whose breakup with Pierre, the lead singer, left them both singing the blues years ago. And now that Pierre is back, he’s publicly putting his feelings for Tess in the spotlight.

So when Pierre ends up stabbed in the alley outside Tess’s bakery, she’s the number one suspect—especially since she’s famously known for her quality kitchen knives. But the evidence strikes a false note with Maddie and Jenna Bell, who are determined to clear their friend’s name and make sure the real murderer plays…uh, pays for his crime.

The clues lead them out of Hemlock and into danger far outside of Sheriff Jackson Bradley’s jurisdiction. Can Maddie save everyone before the real killer strikes back and Tess goes down for a crime she didn’t commit?


The Christmas Fix Up by Barbara Ankrum (American Heart)

Release Date: October 11, 2021

The Guardian Angel Chronicles, Book 2

Heaven made a mistake. Can one clumsy, rebellious angel right a wrong by Christmas Eve without losing her heart?

Angel Elspeth Aloysious is hidden in celestial clerical work to avoid painful memories when her mentor sends her on her first earthly mingle. Her task—open the closed heart of the handsome and busy Sam Wynter so his daughter can have a new mother before she drifts too far from her destiny. Elle has one week and one rule—don’t fall for Sam.

Sam Wynter has no intention of remarrying. Instead, he’s focused on raising his daughter Molly and building his career. But when he meets a captivating and beautiful stranger in town for the holidays, he rediscovers joy and a sense of fun with Elle through donating his time and skills to those in need. Both Sam and Molly quickly bond with the sparkling Elle, and Sam starts to dream of a different future.

The clock is ticking down on Elle’s time on Earth. Can these two mismatched soulmates, who are worlds apart, find their happy ever after?


Love and Latkes by Stacey Agdern (American Heart)

Release Date: October 12, 2021

Friendships and Festivals, Book 3

You can’t make a latke without breaking a few eggs…  

Batya Averman is ecstatic when a latke fry-off committee chooses her as its web designer—until she learns the event is in Rivertown, New York, the hometown she fled years ago. But she’s no longer the girl with an embarrassing history and an unrequited crush on Abe Neumann. This delicious competition is Batya’s chance to further her career, and this time she won’t run.

Abe Neumann can’t pass up the opportunity to enter the town’s latke contest. He dreams of throwing caution to the wind and leaving his accounting firm, opening a Jewish deli, and choosing his own happiness. The prize money would bring him closer to making his dream a reality, but when Batya comes back to town, Abe remembers that a deli isn’t the only thing he’s wished for.

When the fry-off’s celebrity host has to pull out of the competition, Batya is determined to step up to the challenge. This Hanukkah, can Abe fix the past and convince Batya that dreams, like latkes, are better when they’re shared?


A Ghostly Shadow by H L Marsay (Tule Mystery)

Release Date: October 14, 2021

Chief Inspector Shadow Mystery, Book 3

Sometimes the past comes back to haunt you…

This Halloween, the notorious rivalry between York’s iconic ghost walk tour guides spirals out of control when the body of one guide dressed as the infamous highwayman Dick Turpin is found hanging from a tree. A few days later, his partner, who plays Guy Fawkes, is killed by an explosion of gunpowder at their office.

Detective Chief Inspector John Shadow is a man of contradictions. A solitary figure who notices the smallest details about other people, but endeavours to avoid their company. A lover of good food, but whose fridge is almost always empty. Although he would prefer to work alone, he is assisted by his eager and easygoing partner Sergeant Jimmy Chang. Despite a sprained ankle, a stray cat and an impromptu trip to Oxford, the two men investigate the shocking murders that have York on edge. Are the murders the work of a madman or a business feud?

And then the killer strikes again.


Lighting Up Christmas by Sinclair Jayne (American Heart)

Release Date: October 18, 2021

It’s her first Christmas alone…

Spending her first holiday without her large, loud family allows electrician Riley Flanagan more time to find commercial clients for Flanagan & Sons, the third-generation family business she’s taking over. But when the town council nixes her Christmas-themed light garden, she approaches new-to-town entrepreneur and vintner Zhang Shi, hoping to land him and his not yet open winery as a client. He’s not interested, but Riley never gives up that easily.

It’s his first Christmas celebration…

Zhang Shi bought a mountainside property and planted a vineyard to escape his corporate life in the Bay Area and reconnect with his nature-loving grandfather. Fiercely independent and private, Zhang reluctantly calls Riley to rig an emergency electrical fix shortly before he entertains some colleagues. Zhang’s determined to avoid the town’s Christmas celebrations, but Riley is hard to refuse and impossible to ignore. And as she pulls him closer into the tight-knit community, he’s no longer sure he wants to.


A Texas Christmas Miracle by Justine Davis (Texas Born)

Release Date: October 19, 2021

The Raffertys of Last Stand, Book 2

Two people who don’t believe in Christmas or miracles…

Retired from special forces and back on his family’s Texas ranch, Chance Rafferty’s finally found some peace through creating a foundation to rescue and retrain military K-9s thought to be beyond redemption. He prefers to be left alone with his dogs and his work, but when a woman arrives shortly before Christmas looking for the dog that saved her husband’s life, Chance is astonished at the dog’s—and his own—response to her.

Though it’s been years, Ariel Larson still dreads the Christmas season because it marks the anniversary of her deployed husband’s death. When she learns her husband’s K-9 partner survived combat, Ariel feels she’s been given a lifeline to escape her grief. She suddenly has a sense of purpose she’s been desperately missing. But she never expected the man determined to rehabilitate the traumatized animal would have such a stunning impact on her own life.

Can these two wounded hearts come together to create their own Christmas miracle?


Jingle Jammies by Robyn Neeley (American Heart)

Release Date: October 20, 2021

She’ll find her true love in a snowfall…

Or so Charlie Dobbs’s late mother always predicted. But surely that prophecy didn’t apply to towing a famous pajama designer out of a ditch. Besides, Charlie has no time for love—the season always has its share of wrecks, her schedule is packed with Elfcapade festivities, and she’s ditching her mechanic overalls and moving to New York City right after Christmas.

Spencer Carmichael would rather be in the Bahamas, but his famous holiday pajamas have failed for the second year in a row. He’ll need a fresh attitude to overcome this creative block, but the only thing he’s finding in his hometown is a fascination with the woman who saved him from a snowbank. In order to spend more time with Charlie, he offers to take on her never-ending to-do list in exchange for her designing his pajamas.

But partnerships that last beyond Christmas Day require trust. Can Charlie and Spencer put aside the fabric and bows and December trimmings long enough to discover what they really need this Christmas?


Christmas in Full Bloom by Denise N. Wheatley (American Heart)

Release Date: October 21, 2021

This Christmas, can they slow down long enough to smell the roses and fall in love?

When savvy, up-and-coming floral designer Lauren Beal returns home to Maple Valley, Michigan, for her sister’s holiday wedding, she’s determined to be the perfect maid of honor. She didn’t expect the best man to be the college crush she’d reluctantly left behind to pursue her Chicago-based dreams.

Family practice doctor Mel Jennings always knew he’d remain rooted in Maple Valley to work for his father’s clinic. He happily juggles his demanding practice with philanthropic endeavors that connect him to his tight-knit community. Sparks fly when he reunites with Lauren, the one who ran away. As they enjoy Maple Valley’s Christmas festivities, Mel remembers how close they once were. But can they ever have a future?

Lauren finds herself falling for Mel and suspects the feelings are mutual. Yet they’re both pulled in different directions by work and family. Will the pair find a moment alone during the hectic holiday season to figure things out, or will they miss their chance at love once again?


On Christmas Tree Cove by Sarah Vance-Tompkins (American Heart)

Release Date: October 27, 2021

The Adair Family, Book 1

This Christmas calls for a special touch of magic…

December was always a special time for seaplane pilot Morgan Adair, but after losing her parents six years ago, the holiday is a quiet affair. When her siblings announce plans to sell the family home, Morgan longs to experience her favorite, now-forgotten tradition one more time: a lighted tree that, for over a hundred years, has appeared floating on a boat in the harbor every Christmas Eve.

The Taylors were always rivals to the Adairs in the once-thriving fishing village of Christmas Tree Cove, but Jesse Taylor was much more. He wanted to be understanding when Morgan set aside their plans to escape to Chicago in order to hold her family together, but his future as a successful freelance photographer soared on without her.

As Morgan dives deeper into the history of the mysterious holiday appearance, she discovers that true love has always been at the heart of the annual tradition. Can the wonder of Christmas and a few surprises along the way rekindle that love for Morgan and Jesse too?


A Casterglass Christmas by Kate Hewitt (Holiday)

Release Date: October 28, 2021

Keeping Up with the Penryns, Book 1

To save Casterglass, all the Penryn children will need to return home, rebuild their lives among the ruins, and find love that has proved elusive…

The Penryn family have always been eccentric—living in a dilapidated castle in the wilds of Cumbria with an orchid-mad father and a classicist mother who likes to re-enact Greek myths, who wouldn’t be? Penniless and proud, patriarch Walter Penryn resists selling his birthright and family legacy until taxes, bills, and the need for a new roof force him to reconsider.

Well-heeled Londoner Althea Penryn doesn’t expect a divorce and job hunt over the Christmas holidays, but her husband claims he’s done and the prenup is solid. She packs up her reluctant teenage children and heads home to Casterglass Castle to confront the ghosts of her past—including the real one her mother claims lives in the old guard tower. And then there’s her unexpected romance with local sheep farmer, John Braithwaite, who is everything her adulterous, solicitor ex-husband isn’t.

This Christmas, amid the renovation and potential heartbreak of losing her family home, can Althea find a new purpose and the happiness that has so long eluded her?

Tule Author Q&A: H L Marsay researched Vikings in York!

H L Marsay stopped by the Tule blog to discuss the second book in her Chief Inspector Shadow Mystery series, A Viking’s Shadow!

 

Where did you get the inspiration for A Viking’s Shadow?

Here in York we are very proud of our Viking heritage. Even our name comes from the Viking word Jorvik. Every February (pre COVID), we hold a Viking festival. People dress up as Vikings, tents are set up in the city’s streets and squares showing demonstrations of skills like weaving and axe throwing and we welcome lots of visitors from Scandinavia. I imagined how much Shadow would hate so much disruption to his daily routine, especially if a crime was committed and he was thrown into the middle of it all.

 

What kind of research did you need to do for this story?

I spent a lot of time reading about Viking York and also visited Jorvik, the city’s museum dedicated to Viking daily life. It’s an amazing place, but it prides itself on being authentic, right down to the smell. I won’t go into too much detail, but imagine a time when both the fires and sewers were open!

 

Brown Buildings on End of Road Under Cloudy SkyIf you could spend the day with John Shadow, your protagonist, what would you two do?

Oh dear, John Shadow isn’t very sociable, but if I could convince him to spend the day with me, food would certainly be involved. We would begin the day with breakfast at Bettys, York’s famous tearooms. Next, if it wasn’t raining, we would take a walk to Museum Gardens or Dean’s Park and Shadow might even let me help him complete his Yorkshire Post crossword. Then it would be time for lunch in one of the city’s many pubs (we have 365, one for each day of the year!). After lunch, we’d take a walk down by the river to Florence, the canal boat where Shadow lives. Hopefully, I could persuade him to tell me about some of his past cases and maybe even talk about Luisa, his lost love. Dinner would be in one of his favourite Italian restaurants, then after all that eating and drinking, I would definitely need to go to sleep.

 

What was your favorite scene to write and why?

I love writing any scene between Shadow and his deputy, Sergeant Jimmy Chang because they are complete opposites. In a mystery it’s always tricky to choose a snippet that doesn’t contain spoilers, but I think the scene below shows their relationship and personalities, without giving away what happens in the story.

 

As the pavement was still narrower than usual, Jimmy walked a couple of paces ahead. He looked like he was doing a strange sort of dance, as he swayed from side to side, his long legs sidestepping the many puddles that lay in his path.

“New trainers,” Shadow said, more as an observation than an enquiry. He shuddered to think what his sergeant spent on his footwear. Jimmy nodded.

 “I wouldn’t have worn them if I’d known it was going to be this wet,” he complained.

“Yes, who could possibly have envisaged it would rain during autumn in North Yorkshire?” retorted Shadow as he took another bite of bacon muffin.

They arrived in St Sampson’s Square and came to a halt at the fortune teller’s tent. The outside was already draped with bright yellow police tape, while two uniformed officers patrolled up and down.

“You go in and check what we’ve got,” Shadow said between mouthfuls. He was enjoying his breakfast too much to have it ruined by a beheading or some other gruesome wound. 

Jimmy ducked into the tent. Shadow took his last bite, wiped his fingers, and screwed the napkin into a ball and stuffed it into his pocket.

“It’s okay, Chief. She’s only been strangled,” Jimmy’s voice shouted out loud and clear from inside the tent. An old lady pulling a shopping trolley along behind her looked startled and stopped to stare. Shadow smiled weakly before also ducking into the tent.

 

What are you currently reading?

I have always loved watching Midsomer Murders and I’ve finally started reading the books the series is based on. The Killings at Badger’s Drift by Caroline Graham is the first book and I’m really enjoying it.

 

About the Author

H L Marsay always loved detective stories and promised herself that one day, she would write one too. She is lucky enough to live in York, a city full of history and mystery. When not writing, the five men in her life keep her busy – two sons, two dogs and one husband.