Murder in Meadowford Magna


A light-hearted tale of Mystery, Murder and Mayhem













Rosanna Ponsonby receives a sinister note - What does it mean? Find out as you observe the surprising goings-on in this sleepy Suffolk village in the 1920’s.....

The Meadowford series of comedy murders:-
No. 1 Murder in Meadowford Magna
No. 2 Mischief in Meadowford

Coming shortly:-
No. 3 Mystery and Mayhem at Wood Hall

These plays are suitable for prepared play-readings or amateur productions, and can be adapted so audiences are invited to contribute their own solutions as to “Who done it, how, why, when and where” during the interval between acts II and III. If refreshments are also served, this makes an enjoyable fund-raising evening.

ISBN 978-0-9555417-4-2    32 pages  A5  Price £2.50 including P & P (UK only)
Tel: 01449 766392

The price of “Murder in Meadowford Magna” reduces to £2.00 per copy if you buy more than one copy at a time, or if you buy with “Mischief in Meadowford” or “Guhreten”.


Back to top of page

Mischief in Meadowford


Another light-hearted tale of Mystery, Murder and Mayhem












Dusk is falling. It is late 1920’s, autumn, in the Suffolk countryside. Colonel Blunkett, his wife Celia and her aunt Maude are searching the woodlands for Maude’s little dog Dottie who has run away again. But why is the decrepit cottage, home of the Pentelow sisters, in darkness, no oil lamp flickering in the kitchen window ......?

The Meadowford series of comedy murders:-
No. 1 Murder in Meadowford Magna
No. 2 Mischief in Meadowford

Coming shortly:-
No. 3 Mystery and Mayhem at Wood Hall

These plays are suitable for prepared play-readings or amateur productions, and can be adapted so audiences are invited to contribute their own solutions as to “Who done it, how, why, when and where” during the interval between acts II and III. If refreshments are also served, this makes an enjoyable fund-raising evening.


ISBN 978-0-9555417-5-9    32 pages A5   Price £2.50 including P & P (UK only)
Tel: 01449 766392

The price of “Mischief in Meadowford” reduces to £2.00 per copy if you buy more than one copy at a time, or if you buy with “Murder in Meadowford Magna” or “Guhreten”.


Back to top of page

Drinkstone
Revisited


More Stories from a
Suffolk Village


 






This local history came about as a result of the enthusiastic response from readers of Sheila Wright’s first book of Drinkstone History. The stories in this second volume were largely contributed by readers of the first book, who wrote to the author giving their own memories and research, or gave up hours of their time to tell her their stories. Once again, they provide an enchanting, nostalgic and often awe-inspiring insight into country lives during recent centuries. Every facet of life is represented – life in war and peace, joy or sorrow, sickness or health, of destitute cottagers, hard-working labourers and domestics, priests, professional or tradespeople - even of landed gentry and “noblemen”. Sincere thanks are due to the many folk who lent treasured family photographs for inclusion in this history. Sheila Wright used Census and Directory information, documents and registers from All Saints’ church in Drinkstone, editions of the Drinkstone Newsletter, and Suffolk Archive resources, to confirm and extend many of the stories she was told. The stories are put into context of time and place through inclusion of historic maps, and a demographic overview of the village in the 19th century. The book includes studies of several historic cottages, farmhouses, and imposing country houses in the parish. Owners and past owners of these generously offered maps, plans, photographs and knowledge. Local history and family genealogy are today magnetically fascinating to more and more people – so to make their research less arduous, Sheila has included a most useful appendix containing full Drinkstone Census Returns of the years 1851 and 1901, further County Directory information, a list of rectors of the parish from the 13th century to the present day and brief facts about All Saints’ church. All drawings, maps and plans in this book are the work of the author.

ISBN 978-0-9555417-0-4   Over 200 pages   Price £9.00  including P & P (UK only)
Tel: 01449 766392


The price of “Drinkstone Revisited” reduces to £8.00 each if you buy more than one copy at a time, or if you buy with “Drinkstone School and Village” or “Coming Through”. 


Back to top of page

A Zest for Life


– Biography
of economist
David B. Jones
told in letters






David Jones was a man who made the most of life. His 54 years were packed full of enterprise and adventure. These letters tell the story of David and his family, his enthusiasms, his concern over world politics, third-world development and agriculture, and his special love for Africa. He lived in Tanzania, Botswana, Kenya, Senegal, Washington USA, and Chad (where he met his untimely death while World Bank Representative, in 1997). He worked in dozens of other countries worldwide and was highly esteemed in his field. His political observations were astute, his fascination with the world and its peoples endless. He was a wonderful companion and lit up the atmosphere wherever he went. An inspirational biography.


ISBN 978-0-9555417-2-8   £8.50 including P & P (UK only) 
Tel: 01449 766392

The price of “A Zest for Life” reduces to £8.00 each if you buy more than one copy at a time, or if you buy with “One Family’s War” or “Estancia Las Cortaderas”.

Back to top of page

One Family’s War


A history of one family’s experiences in World War II








This book holds a treasure trove of wartime experiences. Based on the family of Percy Childs and Daisy Austin, the pages record “primary sources” - personal diaries of life in the forces, Despatches from the Front, the battlefield War Diary of an Artillery Troop, letters home from Pilot Training Camp and the war zone – plus memories from civilians who lived through the years 1939-45. The reader is transported into an era of chaos and uncertainty when British lives were hi-jacked by war.

ISBN 978-0-9555417-3-5   £8.50  including P & P (UK only) 
Tel: 01449 766392

The price of “One Family’s War” reduces to £8.00 each if you buy more than one copy at a time, or if you buy with “Estancia Las Cortaderas” or “A Zest for Life”. 


Back to top of page

Estancia Las Cortaderas


Saga of a Family
and a Farm


Compiled and Edited by
Sheila Wright










    This fascinating history of the Bridger/Austin families spans over a century. It is told in the words of folk who lived on “Las Cortaderas” or enjoyed holidays there.

    It was notoriously difficult to farm that light dry land in the Argentine Pampa profitably, but these indomitable families were never faint-hearted. They persisted, against drought, hailstorms, grass fires, locusts, rustlers, robbers, diseases of crop of beast, accidents and illness.

    Then there were always the adventurous impetuous children to contend with - always disappearing over the horizon on half-tamed horses, or digging dangerous hidey-holes in the sandy cliffs. For the young the place could seem a wonderland of delights.

  

    In the early 1920s when the families acquired the land, there was no electricity, no piped water, no radio or telephones – no homestead even. It was completely virgin land where everything had to be done from scratch – fences, buildings, wells, the lot. Phyllis Bridger (nee Austin) wrote “there were some bushes in the Camp, and a willow in one corner where there were the remains of a shack. But no-one had really occupied the place since the Indians fifty years before.”


    Even in more recent times, living at Las Cortaderas was no ordinary experience. A visitor in 1971 remarked “it is so extraordinary to find this community miles away from anywhere – no other estancias in sight, and one-and-a-half hours’ fast driving from the nearest town.”

    The book is illustrated with many photos, some dating back to the 1880s. The cover was created from beautiful oil paintings by Rosalind Bridger.



ISBN 978-0-9555417-6-6    £8.50  including P & P (UK only)  
Tel: 01449 766392

The price of “Estancia Las Cortaderas” reduces to £8.00 each if you buy more than one copy at a time, or if you buy with “One Family’s War” or “A Zest for Life”.

Back to top of page

The Meadowford

Mysteries

- Book One


After the Garden Party & Mischief in Meadowford
















 The small villages of rural Suffolk, England, in the early twentieth century, appear to the casual visitor havens of peace and calm, where the seasons govern farming life, and the leisurely pursuits of the upper classes present a charming tableau of courteous social activity. But is this the reality? What really goes on in Hall, Manor, villa and  cottage? Is there heartbreak, mischief and malice, deception and betrayal, mayhem, misadventure - even perhaps madness and murder? Lift the lid on one small village – idyllic Meadowford Magna. Here, mansions look out over water meadows where cows graze, gamekeepers rear pheasants in the green woods, ancient thatched cottages nestle among the vegetable plots and the tower of medieval St. Mildred’s stands guard over saint and sinner. But there is trouble brewing. Will it all end in tears? These entertaining tales of an era long gone will intrigue you, shock you, move you to tears or laughter and demonstrate that ‘there’s nowt so queer as folk!’


What the critics say about the Meadowford Mystery series –   

   ‘Author Sheila Wright has cooked up a perfect pair of ‘cosy’ mysteries set in rural Suffolk, England, in the 1920’s. Each has its own murder, but the characters and setting overlap. Mystery fans will love these traditional tales, which read like Agatha Christie or P. D. James. Wright knows her craft, and it shows.’

Blueink Reviews

   ‘Wright, born in Leicester, England, just after the era she writes about, creates entertaining characters who embody the mindset of society’s elite……the quirky personalities and antics of the characters are amusing and keep the tone light-hearted.’

Foreword Clarion Review Service   


   ‘In the style of Agatha Christie, Wright fashions a story around a mysterious murder in an English country village. Wright follows in the footsteps of the old masters, and the prose lives up to its stellar antecedents. The hired help speak in their cockney dialect, whilst the upper classes converse with the delicate articulation one would expect of someone in their echelon. The characters have depth and presence….. however recognizable, the characters won’t be denied their charisma….the colorful images of life in post-Great War England elicit the charm of a bygone era. Once again, a formulaic element comes into play, but when done this well, it adds to, rather than subtracts from, the storyline.   For anyone in the mood to solve a murder mystery while taking a pleasurable romp through merry olde England, it would be a crime to miss this one.’

Kirkus Indie – A review service from Kirkus Reviews


ISBN 978-1468586022   108 pages  Size: 9” x 6”   

Price (when purchased direct from the author) £7.00 including P & P (UK only)
Tel: 01449 766392

The price of “The Meadowford Mysteries - Book One” reduces to £6.50 per copy if you buy more than one copy at a time, or if you buy with “The Meadowford Mysteries - Book Two”.

Back to top of page

The Meadowford

Mysteries

- Book Two

Mayhem at Wood Hall & Mallarky at St. Mildred's












Wood Hall, scene of a distressing drowning, is now a Hotel. Newcomers to the village set tongues wagging, and it is not long before events take a sinister turn.... In the next tale the vague but lovable vicar finds himself in his wife’s bad books. An eccentric lady archeologist is busy in the crypt of St. Mildred’s and exciting discoveries are made in the bluebell woods. But as usual all is not well in this picture-book village.....   The stories in these ‘Mystery’ books started life as comedy plays and have been re-vamped as very readable text. As the series moves on, the familiar characters age, newcomers appear, and the social scene develops to match the era in which the stories are set. The first mystery takes place in 1923, each story following at intervals of two or three years.

Extracts from Reviews –  ‘Wright’s compendium of short stories takes place in rural 1920s England. In the style of Agatha Christie, Wright fashions a story around a mysterious murder in an English country village. There are the usual suspects: the lord and lady of the manor, a retired army colonel, his wife, the village doctor and the inspector of police. Various other characters drop by – the somewhat befuddled aunt of the colonel’s wife and her misbehaving dog, among others. Wright follows in the footsteps of the old masters, and the prose lives up to its stellar antecedents. The hired help speak in their dialect, while the upper classes converse with the delicate articulation one would expect of someone in their echelon. The colonel loves his rosewood pipe; he often sits before a fire and enjoys a puff. The characters have depth and presence, but they are types already well represented in the palate of any dedicated mystery fan….however recognisable, the characters won’t be denied their charisma.  The book consists of two short interludes set a few years apart in a lively, vibrant village. The colourful images of life in post-Great War England elicit the charm of a bygone era. Once again, a formulaic element comes into play, but when done this well, it adds to, rather than subtracts from, the storyline.  For anyone in the mood to solve a murder mystery while taking a pleasurable romp through merry olde England, it would be a crime to miss this one.’                                                       Kirkus Indie, a review service from Kirkus Reviews

   ‘Author Sheila Wright has cooked up a perfect pair of ‘cosy’ mysteries....each has its own murder, but the characters and setting overlap. Mystery fans will love these traditional tales, which read like Agatha Christie or P. D. James. Wright knows her craft, and it shows.’                                                                                                                                   Blueink Reviews

 
‘Wright creates entertaining characters who embody the mindset of society’s elite....the quirky personalities and antics of the characters are amusing and keep the tone light-hearted.’                                                                                                     Foreword Clarion Review Service


ISBN: 978-1477238165     104 pages Size: 9” x 6”

Price (when purchased direct from the author) £7.00 including P & P (UK only)
Tel: 01449 766392

The price of “The Meadowford Mysteries - Book Two” reduces to £6.50 per copy if you buy more than one copy at a time, or if you buy with “The Meadowford Mysteries - Book One”.


Back to top of page

Back to top of page

Haunting
Tales


Paranormal experiences
from Suffolk, England












If you are intrigued by the weird and wonderful, read this book! The stories, contributed by residents of Suffolk, include ‘things that go bump in the night’, also sightings in broad daylight of folk who inhabited Suffolk villages, woods and fields in bygone centuries. There are out-of-body episodes, messages communicated through dreams or visions – even a few UFOs! You will share glimpses of heaven and of guardian angels active in the world, and know that we are part of an amazing universe that only gets more marvellous after death, because we are all ultimately in the hands of God. The book is enhanced by archive material, and by the entrancing pencil drawings of local artist Alan Lummis.



ISBN 978-0-9555417-8-0    112 pages   Size A5

Price  £9.00 including P & P (UK only)
Tel: 01449 766392


Back to top of page

Suffolk author, Kisumu Books, Sheila Wright, publisher, Suffolk local history, Alistair Jones, Drinkstone Revisited,  A Zest for Life, One Family's War, Guhreten, Drinkstone School & Village, Bon Courage, Mes Amis!, Estancia Las Cortaderas, Murder in Meadowford Magna, Mischief in Meadowford, Haunting Tales

Published by Leonie Press as one of its many titles on the experiences of British homeowners in France:


BON COURAGE,
MES AMIS!

Thoughts on restoring a rural ruin




In 1994, primary school teacher Sheila Wright suddenly had the means to buy a house in the Creuse department of France but the amount of her legacy meant that she was looking at "the bottom end of the market". She found herself falling ridiculously in love with a very old stone house which had been abandoned for years and had an alarming 20ft crack up the front. As she looked round, the smell of damp stone and ancient dust was all-pervading. In the gloom, shadowy alcoves and battered wood frames were barely visible on the rough granite walls. Mysterious bits of string dangled from the immense beams above, and between these beams were dark, narrow boards through which light filtered where rain had rotted them away. One wall of the room was taken up by a vast fireplace with a huge hearthstone. Up the wide chimney, past various sinister blackened iron hooks, a patch of bright blue sky was visible. The wall separating the adjacent cellar-like room from the adjoining barn had crumbled and fallen, covering the earth floor with tons of loose granite. The jagged top was now only five feet high and over this, the neighbouring cart bay, cow shed and stable were all visible. From these inauspicious beginnings, Sheila and her family worked hard to create a habitable holiday home full of happiness, music and peace. Along the way she developed a passion for building with stone, constructing two granite staircases herself over a five-year period. French neighbours seeing the Wrights tackle the enormous task fervently wished them "bon courage" which could perhaps be loosely translated as "Good luck - you'll need it!" This book traces the story of the ongoing restoration in a series of chapters giving Sheila's thoughts on many other aspects of Creusoise life and her own experiences in France.


ISBN 1-901253-30-9   184pp   A5   Numerous illustrations

Price £9.00 including P & P (UK only) if purchased from Sheila Wright
Tel: 01449 766392

"Bon Courage" is published by Leonie Press. See website www.leoniepress.com for full list of their titles and how to order from them. They specialise in books for "francophiles" and local history.  

 


Drinkstone
School and Village


A Suffolk History

 



“Drinkstone – School and Village” comprises a detailed history of the school, interspersed with excerpts from historical sources, plus dozens of fascinating personal memories contributed by pupils and other villagers. It is richly illustrated with photographs, drawings, plans and maps.

REVIEW published in the Spring 2006 edition of the Newsletter of the Suffolk Local History Council, written by Dr. Nick Sign, Review Editor –

“In this book Sheila Wright has made excellent use of her long experience as a teacher and her personal knowledge of the school, its pupils, and their parents, to provide an in-depth survey of education and life in this small Suffolk village over a century and a half. The narrative is supported by many high quality illustrations, including some very clear maps made easier to read by the large A4 format, many well-chosen quotations from the documents used for the research and also some very useful appendices containing extracts from County Directories ….. and, very helpfully for genealogists, the full attendance register from 1880 to 1942 …….

The history of the school and the village is interspersed with chapters devoted to personal reminiscences by those who knew the school for one reason or another, or to discussion of particular sources ….. this arrangement works well and allows respondents to tell their stories in their own ways and permits a full consideration of some rich primary material. This includes collections of old exercise books giving a vivid impression of the learning experience of almost a century ago; or the Church Monthly between 1905 and 1907, which paints in much of the social background. Landmarks in national history such as the two world wars and the coronation in 1953 are seen through the eyes of Drinkstone pupils and their school managers …….

More recent aspects of school life are also included …. The story is brought up to date with an account of the final closure for economic reasons in 1986, and of the school’s transformation into an attractive private residence …….

Above all readers will find this enjoyable book to be an eloquent witness to the high quality of learning and teaching found in this small village school which, despite its relatively meagre resources, provided through the dedication of its teachers a secure and successful learning environment for its pupils over many decades.”

Dr. Nick Sign, Review Editor.



EXTRACT FROM REVIEW by Kevin Davis in December 2009 issue of the quality East Anglian magazine "Suffolk Norfolk Life" –

"This local history tells the story of one Suffolk Church of England school in its village context. Drinkstone School was built in 1861 and enlarged in 1912 but spent many of its final years under threat of closure. It was starved of funds for essential modernisation work (such as the installation of flush toilets), but the dedication of its teachers and the lively spirit of its pupils ensured that it was a stimulating and happy place in which to learn. The school finally closed in 1986.... and has now been converted into a delightful house.

Besides recounting month-by-month school life, Sheila Wright explores how 'education for all' came about during the 19th century, how C. of E. village schools were founded, what factors led to their rise and to their gradually reduced role, leading eventually to closure for vast numbers of such schools.

The book describes the socio-economic climate over the decades, and looks at links between Church, school, and State, the hierarchy of 'class', the ravages of two World Wars and much more. It also brings us to modern times, when Suffolk villages and their communities are vastly different from two centuries ago when the charity to promote education in Drinkstone was established.

A strong feature of the book is the dozens of vivid personal stories and reminiscences of ex-pupils, staff and villagers. Several contributors are now aged over ninety, and their stories take us back in time and enable us to share intimate details of their lives.

The author taught at the school during its last five years and was Acting Head at the time of the closure. She remembers it with affection as "a special corner of the world", and says "it felt like a large family, everyone knowing everyone else and at ease together".

The book is richly illustrated with archive photographs and plans, many donated by Drinkstone Local History Group, and also with Sheila's own drawings. Many of the beautiful historic buildings in Drinkstone are featured."


ISBN 1-902019-08-3   274pp   A4   numerous illustrations

Price £9.00 including P & P (UK only) if purchased from Sheila Wright
Tel: 01449 766392

The price of “Drinkstone School and Village” reduces to £8.00 each if you buy more than one copy at a time, or if you buy with “Drinkstone Revisited” or “Coming Through”.


"Drinkstone: School and Village" is published by Greenridges Press. See website www.leoniepress.com for full list of their titles and how to order from them. They specialise in books for "francophiles" and local history.

 


Guhreten


Fantasy written by Alistair Jones










Alistair is elder grandson of David Jones, and was aged twelve when he wrote his gripping tale of dragons, witches and goblins, published in March 2008. With illustrations by the author, this is a book no child will be able to put down unread. Alistair writes “when Sam and Alex make a startling discovery on a beach in France, their lives are changed forever. Meanwhile, in the heart of a volcano, deep in a mysterious rainforest, the Queen of the Witches makes her preparations – preparations which will wipe her greatest enemy off the face of the earth…”

This book is now one of the “English readers” at schools in France and Afghanistan!

ISBN 978-0-9555417-1-1   32 pages A5   Price £3.00  including P & P (UK only)
Tel: 01449 766392

The price of “Guhreten” reduces to £2.50 per copy if you buy more than one copy at a time, or if you buy with “Murder in Meadowford Magna” or “Mischief in Meadowford”.

Back to top of page

Coming
Through
- the Long
Journey

The story of
Ruth Elizabeth Jane Minns and Henry Moyse Gobbitt (married in Bredfield, Suffolk, 1898) and their families




 






This is an unusual book, motivated by strange events that occurred in the village of Drinkstone, central Suffolk, over many years. While being the story of certain families and particular people in those families, in a broader sense it explores the long journey of life, through ‘birth’ and ‘death’ and beyond.

Readers may come to understand a little more fully how the way we each live our lives affects others; how we live in and through each other, not just in our own small circle but throughout the generations of linked souls.

The book does not answer all questions, rather it poses more wonders and mysteries for us to ponder. Hopefully readers will ‘come through’ with hope in their hearts that no struggle is unavailing, no kindness ever wasted, if we open ourselves to the love of God and the mercy of his angels.

If all the above is ‘not for you’ just read the book as an intriguing story of life in all its curious twists and turns and enjoy it!

Finally, thanks are due to David Gobbitt whose insights literally provide an extra dimension to this history of members (past and present) of the Suffolk Minns and Gobbitt families.

 If I have unintentionally maligned or misrepresented any person I am truly sorry, and can only say I hope to live my life with the same courage and gentleness towards others that is revealed in your life stories.                                                                                                   
Sheila Wright, Suffolk, December 2011


ISBN 978-0-9555417-7-3     £9.00 including P & P (UK only)
Tel: 01449 766392

The price of “Coming Through” reduces to £8.00 each if you buy more than one copy at a time, or if you buy with “Drinkstone School and Village” or “Drinkstone Revisited”.

Back to top of page

Back to top of page

Home    Alistair Jones    Sheila Wright    Coming Through - the Long Journey    Drinkstone Revisited   
A Zest for Life    One Family's War    Guhreten    Estancia Las Cortaderas    Drinkstone School & Village    
Bon Courage, Mes Amis!    Murder in Meadowford Magna   Mischief in Meadowford
The Meadowford Mysteries - Book One    The Meadowford Mysteries - Book Two    Haunting Tales   Contact


Website Design: www.paulchilvers.co.uk  www.websitedesign4suffolk.co.uk