Naughty Luce, a dancer at the Black Cat Theatre, gets herself into all kinds of adventures.
This time, it’s all all about redemption: at the theatre where the girsl work and in the slums of 1930s London.
Will the murders of two girls be avenged? And will Luce and her lover see eye to eye once more?
Contains scenes of an explicit nature.
Fifth in the Secrets of a Dancing Girl series.
Age Range: Adult
Size: 111mm x 178mm
Format: Paperback Original
Word Count: 23,000
Published: October 2019
I had seen Barbara alive and well, or mostly well, at The Ivy House the day before yesterday. Who wanted her dead?
The next day, rain was pouring, despite it being July. As I was walking with him to the station, I had the feeling that our encounter had left a memory deep within me. I knew that it would grow to haunt me if I let nature run its course. Images of the Hackney Hospital flashed before my eyes. I suppressed any such memories before I became sick. Also, these visitations had been known to take care of themselves if the little visitor found the environment not to its liking. Whilst that might have been a sad experience for a couple looking to have a child, for a dancing girl, it was less so.
I didn’t understand Barney’s aggravated behaviour. Surely, I wasn’t in any danger in a vestry in the middle of London in the middle of the day. Soon however, I grasped why he over-reacted the way he did. In the cab taking us to the theatre, he explained himself. Once he got a word in.
“What is the matter with you?” I said, half joking, half chiding. “You barged in there as if he was manhandling me.”
“Maybe I should’ve waited a little longer,” he sneered.
“You really think that that was coming?” I asked, surprised.
“I don’t know,” he said, deep in thought. “Don’t you ever get tired of it?”
While Barney got the report from the constables, I walked slowly towards the door, trying to memorise all the faces in the small crowd in front of the sordid house. Although Barnaby and I had a strong inkling who the culprit might be, I thought I’d keep a wary eye out anyway. It was common knowledge that perpetrators stayed in the vicinity of the crime if they were bold enough to believe they would not be found out. The newspaper headlines about Barbara and Father Higgins had been broad and brash enough to invite a company of jealous orphans, envious comrades or greedy thieves. Hence, Higgins’ guilt was not absolutely certain. Yet.
Our unspoken working theory was that Higgins was guilty, but I wanted to be prepared in case a more original breed of wrongdoer presented themselves. It goes without saying that none of the nosy neighbours had looked like a poisoner to me. If only it were that easy to solve crimes.
Cecily Riley, a journey towards writing.
I started writing in my early teens, the imaginary worlds I summoned up being far more interesting and kind than life at school. I kept with it, going from novellas to poetry, from novels to plays and movie scripts until, like two comets meeting and sending off sparkles, the ideas of a) sexy novellas and b) a dancer named Naughty Luce came together in June 2017. Ever since then, I have been with those characters, listening to their adventures and trying to keep up with writing them down.