Friday 12 February 2021

๐Ÿ“– Double Mirror Blog Tour with Alison Morton and Helen Hollick


 ๐Ÿ“– Delighted to host a stop on this blog tour ๐Ÿ“– 


Thank you, Jo, for hosting a stop on our joint tour around the blogs. We thought that, as we are about halfway through the tour, your readers would be interested to hear a little about the supporting characters in our newly released mystery/thrillers Double Identity by Alison Morton and A Mirror Murder by Helen Hollick. You start, Alison... 


My main character is Mรฉlisende des Pittones, known as Mel, 29, daughter of a French father and English mother and has just left her French Army job as an intelligence analyst in a special forces team. She’s well educated and from a privileged background and chose to enter the French army at 18 rather than pursue her studies. She’s been on some gritty and extremely dangerous missions in French-speaking parts of the world, but tends to keep it all shut away in a different part of her mind. 

At the start of Double Identity, she’s engaged to marry Gรฉrard Rohlbert, who has been working in the City of London. But sadly, Mel’s future life with her perfect partner, living a Parisian metropolitan lifestyle, possibly with children, is wrecked on page 1. 

The investigating officer is DS Jeff McCracken, 37, an inch or two taller than Mel; well built without being overweight; dark brown hair in a conservative/classic style; grey eyes. Cynical and intelligent, he’s an ex-council estate boy who’s shucked off the petty criminal environment of his youth and worked tenaciously to achieve a solid reputation for success. 

He appears to be no respecter of persons – he doesn’t rate ‘posh birds’ like Mรฉlisende. He seems as crackly as his name but he’s not quite the rough diamond he likes to project… 

Both Mel and McCracken are intelligent, competent and persistent; his problem is his mouth, hers is attitude, coupled with a secret dread of failure. He mistrusts her methods and must learn to appreciate and respect a colleague with different expertise and professional background. She must acknowledge that not everybody is honest, even her adored, now dead, fiancรฉ, or as stubborn and insensitive as McCracken appears to be. 

Whether they survive working together when forced to, let alone liking each other, is anybody’s guess. 

๐Ÿ“– A taster excerpt… 

‘What sort of a name is Mellysand?’ 

She clutched the bathrobe tighter and braced her legs to steady her balance. This was surreal. Gรฉrard was dead and they suspected her. Why? How was she supposed to have done it? She shook her head which seemed full of mush thumping to escape. 

‘It’s pronounced “Mรฉl-i-send-uh”,’ she said. ‘And it’s the name I was given by my parents.’ 

‘Not very English, is it?’ 

Le bon Dieu save me from these parochial Brits, she thought. And this cop was even worse than most. He didn’t look like one either in his jeans, tan leather jacket, unshaven and with a single earring. But his warrant card looked genuine, and the two uniformed police outside had let him in. 

‘You got any ID?’ he barked. 

Mel pulled a pale turquoise and blue card with her photo and signature out of her purse and offered it to him. 

‘French?’ He frowned, flicked it over to the other side, then back. ‘You don’t sound very French.’ 

‘That’s where I was born. My mother is English.’ 

‘What are you doing here?’ 

‘Visiting friends and doing some shopping.’ 

‘I’ll need a list of those friends and dates.’ 

‘Why? Am I under suspicion?’ 

The cop looked down at the bed, duvet pulled back, bottom sheet stained by body fluids. 

‘When there’s a dead man in your bed and you were presumably the last person to see him alive, let’s say you’re at least a person of interest.’ 

Who is your main character’s ‘opposite’, Helen? 


Several characters from A Mirror Murder will appear throughout the (planned) series set in the 1970s. Eighteen-year-old Jan Christopher takes the lead role, her father died when she was young, so her guardians are her Aunt Madge and her uncle, DCI Toby Christopher. (Jan is short for January... she rarely uses her full name!) She meets her uncle’s new Detective Constable, Laurie Walker, one rainy Friday evening when they pick her from her place of work, a North London branch library. For Laurie and Jan, it is love at first sight. 

Jan is quite a shy person, whereas Laurie, being a DC, is more sure of himself, but he still has a lot to learn. He had transferred to Hackney, London, from North Devon in order to gain more experience – as he says, there is not a lot to learn in rural Devon where the most notable crime of the month is someone stealing a village noticeboard. He finds the East London suburb to be very different, however, with colleagues more intent on getting results than arresting the right culprit, where racism and sexism run alongside bullying and corruption. He therefore jumps at the chance to transfer again to a different suburb, Chingford, which is on the border of Epping Forest and Essex. 

Nowadays, Chingford is a busy town, but back in the ’70s it still had an air of the countryside, which Laurie discovered was more to his liking, especially when his new Guv, DCI Christopher, turned out to be ‘one of the good guys’ and an excellent copper. 

I have based Laurie Walker on a variety of TV cops, but most notably Lewis, when he was Morse’s sergeant, and DS Hathaway from the Lewis series itself. I want him to be likeable and competent, devoted to his job, but even more devoted to Jan, although I intend for their relationship to not always be plain sailing as the series develops! There will be bumps in the roads ahead! 

๐Ÿ“– A taster excerpt… 

My uncle settled himself in the front passenger seat and waved his hand informally at the young man sitting behind the steering wheel. “This is my new temporary Detective Constable,” he said. “DC Lawrence Walker, meet my niece, Jan Christopher.” 

I smiled, and DC Walker turned round to smile back and hold out his hand for me to shake. 

“Pleased to meet you, miss.” He had a nice voice, with a slight accent, which I couldn’t place. 

“And you, Detective Constable!” 

“Where do we take the young lady, sir?” he asked, smiling into the mirror so I could see his grey eyes shining at me. 

“Oh, Jan lives with my good lady wife and myself,” my uncle explained. “Has done ever since her father, my brother, passed away.” 

Walker’s smile wavered slightly into a small frown. 

Don’t say it I thought. Don’t say that you’ve heard of my dad, DI Christopher, who was shot dead by a person or persons unknown when I was a child. To ensure he didn’t, I said quickly, “Anyone ever told you that you look like Cary Grant?” 

DC Walker laughed, “Grant in his younger years, I hope! But yes, I’m told it often. It’s the cleft in my chin that does it, I think.” 

* * * 


Deeply in love, a chic Parisian lifestyle before her. Now she’s facing prison for murder. 

It’s three days since Mel des Pittones threw in her job as an intelligence analyst with the French special forces to marry financial trader Gรฉrard Rohlbert. But her dream turns to nightmare when she wakes to find him dead in bed beside her. 

Her horror deepens when she’s accused of his murder. Met Police detective Jeff McCracken wants to pin Gรฉrard’s death on her. Mel must track down the real killer, even if that means being forced to work with the obnoxious McCracken. 

But as she unpicks her fiancรฉ’s past, she discovers his shocking secret life. To get to the truth, she has to go undercover and finds almost everybody around her is hiding a second self. Mel can trust nobody. Can she uncover the real killer before they stop her? 

A stunning new thriller from the author of the award-winning Roma Nova series, fans of Daniel Silva, Stella Rimington and Chris Pavone will love Double Identity. 

Buying links

Kindle: (ASIN: B08P5YD3CN) 

For all ebook and paperback retailers:


The first in a new series of cosy mysteries set in the 1970s... Will romance blossom between library assistant Jan Christopher and DC Laurie Walker – or will a brutal murder intervene? 

Eighteen-year-old library assistant Jan Christopher’s life is to change on a rainy Friday evening in July 1971, when her legal guardian and uncle, DCI Toby Christopher, gives her a lift home after work. Driving the car, is her uncle’s new Detective Constable, Laurie Walker – and it is love at first sight for the young couple. 

But romance is soon to take a back seat when a baby boy is taken from his pram, a naked man is scaring young ladies in nearby Epping Forest, and an elderly lady is found, brutally murdered... Are the events related? How will they affect the staff and public of the local library where Jan works – and will a blossoming romance survive a police investigation into murder? 

Buying link: 

Amazon Author Page (Universal Link)


Alison Morton writes award-winning thrillers series featuring tough, but compassionate heroines. She blends her deep love of France with six years’ military service and a life of reading crime, historical, adventure and thriller fiction. On the way, she collected a BA in modern languages and an MA in history. 

"Grips like a vice - a writer to watch out for" says crime thriller writer Adrian Magson about Roma Nova series starter INCEPTIO. All six full-length Roma Nova thrillers have won the BRAG Medallion, the prestigious award for indie fiction. SUCCESSIO, AURELIA and INSURRECTIO were selected as Historical Novel Society’s Indie Editor’s Choices. AURELIA was a finalist in the 2016 HNS Indie Award. The Bookseller selected SUCCESSIO as Editor’s Choice in its inaugural indie review. 

Alison now lives in Poitou in France, where part of Double Identity is set and is writing a sequel as well as continuing her Roma Nova series. 


Connect with Alison on her thriller site:

Twitter: @alison_morton 

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Helen and her family moved from north-east London in January 2013 after finding an eighteenth-century North Devon farmhouse through BBC TV’s popular Escape To The Country show. 

First accepted for publication by William Heinemann in 1993 – a week after her fortieth birthday – Helen then became a USA Today Bestseller with her historical novel, The Forever Queen (titled A Hollow Crown in the UK) with the sequel, Harold the King (US: I Am The Chosen King) being novels that explore the events that led to the Battle of Hastings in 1066. Her Pendragon’s Banner Trilogy is a fifth-century version of the Arthurian legend, and she also writes a pirate-based nautical adventure/fantasy series, The Sea Witch Voyages. 

Her non-fiction books are Pirates: Truth and Tales and Life of A Smuggler. She also runs Discovering Diamonds, a review blog for historical fiction. She is currently writing more Voyages for the Sea Witch series and the next in the Jan Christopher Mysteries series. She has other ideas for other tales – and would like the time to write them! 


Newsletter Subscription:

Twitter: @HelenHollick

Discovering Diamonds Historical Fiction Review Blog : 

Thanks so much to Alison and Helen for sharing their exciting new books with us

Follow the blog tour throughout February



  1. Thank you so much Jo, Jaffa and Timmy. One of my own cats (Sybil) often supervises my writing by sitting on the windowsill behind my desk - although at the moment while it is bitterly cold here in Devon she's moved further along to be nearer the radiator. Sybil lives downstairs ... Mab, my other cat, lives upstairs and never the twain will meet (they hate each other) so Mab's supervision comes in the form of curling up beside me on the bed while I'm reading on my Kindle at night.

    1. Thanks you for spending time with us today. Jaffa and Timmy don't really appreciate each other's finer qualities and are usually curled up at the opposite ends of the house.

  2. Thank you so much, Jo, Jaffa and Timmy for hosting Helen and me today. It means a lot to be back on your blog again.

    1. Thank you for spending time with us again. It's always a pleasure.


Thanks for taking the time to comment - Jaffareadstoo appreciates your interest.