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Secret Places by Heather Peck is a Shake Off Winter Doldrums pick #crime #thriller #mustread #giveaway







Book Blurb:          


Goat farmer, cheese maker and weaver Tristan Smith is working on her North Yorkshire smallholding when a chance visit by archaeologists exposes a skeleton in an abandoned WW2 bunker. But it’s not a wartime casualty.


Tristan becomes involved in the search for the truth about her predecessors, as DI Greg Geldard follows a trail from North Yorkshire to the Norfolk Broads. He is seeking justice for a long-dead victim; but another casualty is hunting for a new life and a safe place to start again.


First in the DCI Geldard Norfolk Mysteries.




It was late morning when the team from Parham Museum arrived. As promised, there were just the two. Roger (excited, lean, greying and, so Tristan estimated, in his sixties) got out of the pickup first and was followed by his young, distinctly hairy assistant, who came over to be introduced. To Tristan, he had the distinct air of an environmental enthusiast, which, she supposed with an inward sigh, only exposed her prejudices.


‘This is Tim,’ said Roger, ‘who’s going to be going down into the observation base.’


‘I hope he knows about the corpses,’ commented Tristan.


Tim, a gangling teenager with wild woolly hair and a wild woolly jumper, added wild eyes to his general ensemble. ‘It shouldn't be too bad,’ said Tristan, ‘it’s years since anything went down there. The rats and bacteria will have cleared it all up long since.’


Tim looked anything but reassured. ‘Rats!’ he exclaimed. You didn't say anything about rats Roger.’


‘You'll be fine,’ said Roger, ‘just remember to tie the baler twine round your knees and they won’t be able to get up your trouser legs.’


The pickup bounced over the grazing land to the far corner of the field and they got out. Tim, baler twine firmly tied around his legs below his knees, pulled the ladder from the back of the pickup and they all went over to the hedge.


‘Here you are,’ said Roger, as he pointed at the old ceramic insulators now half buried in the elderly, overgrown hawthorn, ‘they’re the insulators for the aerial.’


‘They’re the ones I thought were part of an old electric fence,’ said Tristan.


‘No, definitely the aerial fixings I think you’ll find. Look, all along this old hedge trailing from here right the way to the top of the hill. This would have been the line for the aerial.’


Tim had been kicking around among the longer grass by the trees. Tristan pointed to the sheet of plywood held down by breeze blocks that covered the shaft to the old buried Nissen hut. ‘That’s where the bodies went,’ she said. Roger and Tim went to inspect the shaft.


‘Originally there would have been a hinged hatch or trapdoor on the top of this shaft, probably with turf or other material fixed to the top so it couldn't be seen when it was closed. And look, look at the sides of the shaft. You can see the old metal rungs they would've used to go up and down. Some are missing however, and those that are there don't look very safe. I think it's best we use the ladder Tim.’


Tim heaved the ladder over and lowered it down the shaft. Checking the security of his baler twine, he scrambled down. Roger hesitated at the top, but curiosity overwhelmed his concern about the rats and he soon followed. Their voices echoing in the chamber below sounded quite excited.


Roger came to the bottom of the shaft to call up to Tristan. ‘We’ll be here a while. Most of the fittings have gone. There would originally have been wet cell batteries and some other supplies, but I expect they were removed at the end of the war if not before. But you can still see where the bunkbeds were. The rats aren't too bad!’ he added with a grin. ‘Mostly what's down here are sheep fleeces.’


‘In that case,’ replied Tristan, ‘Chris and I will get back to work. Come back to the house when you are ready for a cup of coffee.’


Tristan went back to the dairy and Chris to look around the flock. The grazing was getting a bit tight where they were, and he moved them over to the next paddock. As ever, all it took was an open gate and a shout of ‘Come up! Come up!’ The four guard alpacas came through at the same time. Fernando, the grey one, paused to see if Chris had anything in his pockets and was disappointed. On his way back to the house Chris collected the eggs then went into the milking parlour to finish the clean-up.


It was close to lunchtime when Roger and Tim came back to the house. Tristan emerged smiling to ask if they were ready for coffee and was surprised. She had expected excitement and enthusiasm. There was certainly plenty of excitement on their faces but a layer of shock too. Roger’s face was white, Tim’s was green. Neither of them seemed willing to meet her eyes.


‘Coffee? she asked. ‘And I have some home-made biscuits too. Or if you're feeling peckish now, how do you fancy some bread and home-made goat's cheese?’


‘Tristan,’ said Roger ‘I’m afraid we’ve some bad news. We found something down in the observation base. A body.’


‘I told you there were lots of those,’ said Tristan.


‘No. I’m afraid we found a skeleton. A human skeleton.’


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What’s your favorite activity to shake off the winter doldrums?


Reading by a log fire, closely followed by walking the dogs.


Why is your featured book a cure for the winter blues?


It’s a page-turner with engaging characters that transports you to the unique landscape of the Norfolk Broads.


Giveaway –


One lucky reader will win a $35 Amazon gift card



Open internationally.


Runs March 1 – 31, 2024


Drawing will be held on April 1, 2024. 


Author Biography:


Award-winning author Heather Peck has had a varied life.


As featured in the ‘Norfolk’ magazine and the Eastern Daily Press, “Norfolk farm disaster expert turns to crime writing” she has been both farmer and agricultural policy adviser. She bred sheep and alpacas, reared calves, broke ploughs, represented the UK in international negotiations, specialised in emergency response from Chernobyl to bird flu, managed controls over pesticides and GM crops, saw legislation through Parliament and got paid to eat Kit Kats while on secondment to Rowntree. She has also chaired an NHS Trust, worked on animal welfare, sailed a boat on the Broads, volunteered in Citizens Advice and the Witness Service and vaccinated humans against Covid.


Two golden threads have run through everything; her fascination with words and her Gran’s wise advice: ‘You can do anything if you try hard enough’.


Member of the Crime Writers Association


Member of the Society of Authors

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Lisa J Lickel
Lisa J Lickel
Mar 22

I love this idea!


N. N. Light
N. N. Light
Mar 21

Thank you for sharing your book in our Shake Off Winter Doldrums event!

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