Recent Events

Thursday, 7 February 2019

‘The Convalescent Corpse’ By Nicola Slade

Independently Published,
16 October 2018.
ISBN: 978-1-72886746-5

The story opens in Spring 1918 and is narrated by Christabel Fyttelton, who introduces her story using dated diary entries. Christy is the middle sister of three young women who are struggling to cope in an England devastated by the Great War. The family has very little money and their father was reported drowned in 1915, when the Lusitania sank. The girls’ brother, Bertie, had been a soldier who was killed, more recently, in the war. The death of their father was rather a relief, as he was a rogue who stole from anyone he could, including his own family, but the loss of Bertie devastated the whole family. The girls’ mother is of little practical help as she is a novelist, entirely wrapped up in her fictional world. The family is held together by their grandmother, Lady Elspeth Gillespie, who, despite being the daughter of an Earl, is practical, hard-working and an expert poacher. Alix, the oldest and prettiest of the three girls, volunteers at the nearby convalescent hospital for wounded officers in the hope of attracting a husband. Abby, the youngest sister, is clever and rebellious and wishes to become a doctor; in pursuit of this aim she has a disturbing desire to examine injuries and dissect bodies. Christy is the sensible one, who helps her grandmother to keep the family afloat. She adds to the family income by secretly writing stirring adventure stories and has also discovered in herself a remarkable ability to think up good ideas to use the little they have to survive.

Christy‘s idea to raise money is to turn the house that they have inherited, which is standing empty, into a guest house for the female relatives of the wounded officers. This proves to be hard work but is a valuable source of income. As Christy becomes more involved with the convalescent hospital, she makes the acquaintance of many of the officers, including Captain Harry Makepeace, a school friend of her brother. When Christy is helping Alix at night duty at the hospital a young, severely disabled officer dies. From the first, Christy is suspicious that somebody might have helped the young man to die, and she discovers that Harry also has doubts about the cause of death, although he assumes it would have been done out of kindness and does not wish to pursue the matter. However, Christy cannot rest until she knows the truth. Another violent assault occurs, although it is disguised as an accident, and soon Christy discovers that curiosity can be an extremely dangerous quality when murder is concerned.

Nicola Slade’s historical novels are always delightful, and The Convalescent Corpse is filled with fascinating historical details and a genuine feeling of the hardships and pain of a dark time. Despite the background of loss and deprivation, the book is filled with the author’s lively humour and sense of the ridiculous. The eccentric Fyttelton family are engaging and Christy is a delightful heroine. A very enjoyable read.
Reviewer: Carol Westron

Nicola Slade was brought up in Poole, Dorset. She wrote children’s stories when her three children were growing up, moving onto short stories for several national magazines. Winning a story competition in Family Circle galvanised her into writing seriously and since then her stories and articles have been commissioned regularly. Scuba Dancin, a romantic comedy was her first published novel. After that she wrote a series of Victorian mysteries: Murder Most Welcome  published by Robert Hale Ltd, 2008, featuring Charlotte Richmond, a young widow in the 1850s. Nicola has a second series, featuring former headmistress, Harriet Quigley, and her sidekick and cousin, Rev Sam Hathaway. Nicola, her husband and their cat live near Winchester in Hampshire.

Find out more about Nicola at

Carol Westron is a successful short story writer and a Creative Writing teacher.  She is the moderator for the cosy/historical crime panel,
The Deadly Dames.  Her crime novels are set both in contemporary and Victorian times.  The Terminal Velocity of Cats the first in her Scene of Crimes novels, was published July 2013. Carol recently gave an interview to Mystery People. To read the interview click on the link below.

To read a review of Carol latest book Strangers and Angels click on the title.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you so much for this super review - to Carol for writing it and Lizzie for posting it and for starting Mystery People in the first place!