Today we are going to read an excerpt from Blues, Twos and Baby Shoes with intro to a brilliant new character but before we do, let us check out what the book is all about.
This post contains affiliate links you can use to purchase the book. .Blues, Twos and Baby Shoes: The Further, Further Adventures of Mavis Upton by Gina Kirkham
Series: Mavis Upton #3
Published by Urbane Publications on October 24 2019
Also by this author: Handcuffs, Truncheon and a Polyester Thong, Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, Blues, Twos and Baby Shoes
Constable Mavis Upton is back, and this time she's taking no prisoners - which is never good for a police officer.
Mavis is pregnant, as is her daughter Ella. Facing the prospect of motherhood and being a grandmother simultaneously the last thing Mavis needs is problems at work. But a new sexist dinosaur of a Sergeant is more bully than mentor, and a mysterious case involving a blackmailer sending poison pen letters is baffling the police and tearing apart the local community.
Can Mavis juggle impending motherhood and her career, maintain a loving relationship with her other half Joe and deal with being a grandmother, all whole soving the case?
Well, this is Constable Mavis Upton...literally anything is possible..
“Mavis, my dear… just look at you!” Agatha Hortensia Winterbourne, her cupid-bow lips gaily painted with a liberal slick of dark red lipstick, quickly pursed them together like she had just sucked on a lemon.
I stood rooted to the spot taking in this ridiculous caricature of a woman who was now standing, flamboyant, in the middle of my Moroccan rug. Small and rotund, her heavily powdered face was topped with an unruly mop of curly dyed ginger hair. What resembled a multi-coloured Bedouin birthing blanket was casually flung across her shoulders, a sarong style olive green skirt skimmed a pair of tangerine floral T-bar shoes that had curled up Velcro straps.
I wanted to laugh but didn’t dare.
“Aunt Agatha… I… we…erm …gosh, we thought you were dead!”
Joe gave me daggers, his eyes almost popping out of their sockets. I shrugged. Once again, a stupid head thought had somehow found its way out of my mouth.
“Not quite dear child, not quite…” she flicked the end of the blanket across her shoulder, one of the beaded tassels smacked Joe on the nose. I sniggered.
“How did you know where I live Agatha, we haven’t seen sight nor sign of you for over thirty years and then you just turn up out of the blue?” No point in holding back, I’d already let her know that we thought she was six-feet under and of no consequence to us, might as well go the whole hog. She pursed those ridiculous lips again. I couldn’t help but notice the bleed of the lipstick into the smoker’s lines that spidered their way around her mouth.
Flashing her heavily hooded blue eyes, she tilted her head towards the door as Alfie, Dad’s dog came bounding in. “It was a chance meeting with your Dad, Arthur, before he passed on….” she bent down to stroke Alfie’s head. He flattened his ears back, the wag of his tail dropped to an agitated tremor. “…it was actually very four tortoises that I got to speak to him, considering.”
I looked at Joe, Joe looked at me. Four tortoises!
We were none the wiser for our mutual glances.
“Considering what? When did you see Dad?” A knot formed in my stomach, for all we had been through, the closeness we had fought to nurture between us, overcoming his demons and mine for that matter….and he hadn’t told me he had spoken to Agatha.
Agatha prevaricated, delving into a large tapestry shoulder bag that was limply slumped on the sofa. “Now let me see, I’m sure I had it in here somewhere…” the first fistful contained a mint humbug that had seen better days, two pens and a used tissue. The twisted wood bangles on her wrist rattled as she tried to shake the sticky sweet from her fingers. “…no, no, no that’s not it!” she impatiently grumbled. Two more attempts produced a packet of paracetamol, one hooped earring, three costume rings and a pair of orange bloomers complete with lace edging.
Joe actually began to blush as Agatha made a huge deal of shaking them out and holding them up with a flourish. “Mmmmm, well these have definitely seen better days, can’t think why I’ve still got them.” Shafts of pale sunlight from the window poked through the multitude of moth holes in the orange fabric. She flung them to one side with wild abandonment. They landed on Alfie’s head, hanging from his left ear. He gave Agatha a look of pure indignance before shaking them off.
“Ah, voila!!” She triumphantly held a glass ball in both hands. “My orbuculum.” She proffered it towards me, stroking it gently with her fingers. The glass carried a slight blue tinge, small sparkles of light burst from the sphere. “I was scrying for a client and he just popped up, Arthur Albert Upton appeared without even being called….” she again made a dramatic play of caressing the glass. “…quite impatient he was, said it was his last chance to speak before passing on.”
I drew a sharp intake of breath and hiccupped, which made Spud kick me sharply in the ribs. “When you said you’d spoken to him before he passed on Agatha, surely you meant before he
“No dear, he was quite dead and had been for some time… hence him appearing here. It’s only for the departed you know, it’s not like texting or sending emails. It’s for the spirits and the spirits alone to communicate with the living. He was preparing to pass on to the next plane, quite excited about it too from what he told me.”
“Agatha, Dad is dead, and in my condition….” I exaggeratedly pointed to my protruding tummy, “…I certainly don’t need your nonsense, bloody communicating with the dead, for goodness sake. Your fairground stuff from years ago won’t wash here!” I angrily spat. “Mum told me all about you!”
Agatha sighed and looked to the ceiling, hugging her crystal ball to her chest. “Ah my dearest Josephine, a woman who had extra-century perception herself but denied it!”
“Extra-sensory, it’s extra-sensory and no she didn’t have it…. she was… err…. normal, just normal, now please, what do you want Agatha?” I was verging on bursting into tears. Joe put his arm around my waist and gave a gentle, reassuring squeeze.
“Maybe a nice cup of tea will help calm things down, Mave” he ushered me to the sofa, “right Agatha, put your balls away and sit in the chair over there. There’s absolutely no point in everyone getting wound up and upset.
“I know my voice can be a little gruff at times, son – but it’s ball; in the singular!” Agatha started laughing as she flopped herself backwards onto the cushions. “Mind you, I did hear about your cousin Frank at the wedding…”
“Right, that’s one less biscuit for you with your tea, Aggie, now start behaving!” Joe’s admonishment was gentle but firm.
I looked at him, my kind, warm, sensible Joe. The man that was going to be Spud’s daddy and I knew that everything would be alright.
Joe clicked off the bedside lamp, vigorously punched his pillow a few times, and snuggled down next to me, pulling the duvet up to his chin.
“She’s as nutty as a fruitcake, isn’t she?”
“Look, if you don’t want to talk about it my little sprout…”
“I do Joe, but I just don’t know where to begin.”
“Mmmmm, well I always find at the beginning is a pretty good place to pick up from – unless it’s boring, if it’s boring, just skip that and get to the juicy bits.”
In the half-light that was seeping through the gap in the curtains I could just make out his face. A slight smirk held, before worried he’d upset me, he quickly found his ‘serious’ face.
“Well, let’s see….” I rolled onto my back and stared at the ceiling, blocks of orange from the streetlamp outside the bedroom window scattered across the white plaster, giving an eerie glow, “…. Agatha Hortensia Winterbourne is my mum’s sister, as you’ve probably already gathered. She is the black sheep of the family, the one that nobody talks about. She is self-centred, cruel, mean, a fraud, corrupt, nasty…”
“Whoa my little chickpea, don’t hold back will you?” Joe snorted.
“I’m speaking Joe, you wanted to know!”
“Sorry, go on.”
“So, Agatha did a mean line in fakery in her day, started with Tarot Reading, Crystal Balls, Fortune Telling, that sort of stuff. She had a little cottage not far from Westbury, it was all done from there, called herself Gypsy Sybella-Simone. She transitioned into Clairvoyance, claiming she could speak to the dead. Long story short, she caused a lot of grief within our family, she ripped off a lot of innocent people, I’m amazed that she was never caught and went to prison! So, it was no surprise when the family didn’t want anything more to do with her.” I paused, reliving mum’s frequent conversations concerning Agatha and her ‘misdemeanours’, as she had called them.
“I can understand the family being embarrassed, Mave, but don’t you think it was a bit harsh to cut her off completely, she must have been devastated?”
I sighed. “If she’d been any bloody good reading her crystal ball, she’d have seen it coming, wouldn’t she? She’s a cow Joe, she was mean to mum and the final straw was her being caught with Dad in the coal shed on New Years Eve.”
“Aww Mave, maybe she was just grabbing a lump to bring the New Year in…”
“Nice try, the only lump she was grabbing was disgustingly my Dad’s!” I felt sick just thinking about it. “So, she was banished, not just from the family, but from Westbury and beyond. Nobody has heard from her for over forty years, in fact we all thought she was dead.” I muttered under my breath about wishing she were.
“So, what are we going to do with her? We can’t just ignore her, you heard what she said. She’s only got months left, if that.” Joe nuzzled into my neck, his breath warm and comforting. “She’s dying Mave, we can’t abandon her now.”
“I don’t know, I really don’t know.”
Silence reigned, the bedside clock hypnotically played its tempo as we both stared at the ceiling, deep in thought.
Tick, Tock, Tick, Tick, Tock, Tock, Tick….
Joe sniggered. “Fortuitous….”
“Fortuitous! That’s what she meant by four tortoises….”
Oh for fecks sake…. not another one in the family!
So what do other reviewers think?
GoodReads Reviewer says :- If you’ve never read any of the books in this series you are seriously missing out, they are laugh out loud funny with excellent and often poignant themes running through them and I for one can’t recommend the books enough.
Gina Kirkham is going from strength to strength with her writing, developing Mavis as her years are advancing. I’d be very sorry to see Mavis go, should this be her last foray into society, I do feel there’s still more to come from our Mavis and hope the author considers writing more stories in the many adventures of Mavis Upton.
“Everyone needs a Mavis in their life……”
GoodReads Reviewer says :- Another excellent read about Mavis Upton and her hilarious and poignant moments.
Another book that has had me laughing out loud and holding my breath, kept me guessing along the way too.
Amazon Reviewer says:- Another excellent read about Mavis Upton and her hilarious and poignant moments.
Another book that has had me laughing out loud and holding my breath, kept me guessing along the way too.
I highly recommend this and the other instalments to put a big smile on your face and a warm feeling inside.
GoodReads Reviewer says :- Mavis at her finest. If you’ve discovered Mavis, you will not be disappointed with her further adventures. She’ll make you laugh and bring a tear to your eye.
Now you know what to do!!
Until next time xxx