A London writer falls into a trap of romance and false identityKatinka Jones spends her days beautifying, trying out the latest ointments, corsets, and creams in order to pass the information on to the thankful readers of Girls Together. When not immersed in a mud bath, she answers advice letters, and none are so compelling as those of Amista, a Welsh girl in love with a modern-day Heathcliff. Amista’s dramatic stories and beautiful descriptions of her village spark Tinka’s interest. For her next holiday, Tinka travels to Wales, where she finds that beauty-product salesmen aren’t the only people who lie. No one in Pentre Trist has heard of Amista, and no one will admit to writing the letters. As she tries to learn the identity of her pen pal, Tinka stumbles into an ancient Welsh mystery. The letters may have been lies, but the danger they described is all too real.
About the author
Christianna Brand (1907–1988) was one of the most popular authors of the Golden Age of British mystery writing. Born in Malaya and raised in India, Brand used her experience as a salesgirl as inspiration for her first novel, Death in High Heels (1941), which she based on a fantasy of murdering an irritating coworker. The same year, she debuted her most famous character, Inspector Cockrill, whose adventures she followed until 1957. The film version of the second Cockrill mystery, Green for Danger, is considered one of the best-ever screen adaptations of a classic English mystery. Brand also found success writing children’s fiction. Her Nurse Matilda series, about a grotesque nanny who tames ill-behaved children, was adapted for the screen in 2005 as Nanny McPhee. Brand received Edgar Award nominations for the short stories “Twist for Twist” and “Poison in the Cup,” as well as a nomination for her nonfiction work Heaven Knows Who.
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