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Today is something of a red letter day for me: after months of writing (and a fortnight of my writing retreat) I finally know how “Heir Apparent” will end.  To be clearer, I always knew how it was going to end, but now I know how it is going to get there.  It’s a mighty relief, I can tell you.  And to celebrate, I am allowing myself to think about life after writing, i.e. publication.  And the task that is occupying me now is preparation of the text for the cover.

The Sam covers – entirely deliberately – conform to a template.  Each has a background image of a document (usually a bit blurry), then a foreground line drawing of a person.  The title goes across the middle of the cover, with my name beneath it.  Across the top of the front cover is a banner identifying the book as “A Sam Plank Mystery”, and across the bottom of the front cover is a complimentary quotation from a reviewer.  And on the back cover is the dreaded blurb – that some authors say is harder to write than the book itself.  I have written a draft blurb and would very much value your views: would it make you want to buy the book?  What can I do to make it more “grabby”?  And please bear in mind that, for continuity and consistency, I use the back cover blurb elsewhere too: it’s the text that appears on Amazon as the “product description”.  So here goes:

In the final weeks of 1828, a young man returns from the family plantation in the Cayman Islands after an absence of six years to be at his father’s deathbed – and to inherit his estate.  But is the new arrival who he says he is, or an impostor?  Anyone who doubts his identity seems to meet an untimely end, but his sister swears that he is her beloved brother.

With their investigations leading them into the complicated world of inheritance law and due process after death, Constable Sam Plank and his loyal lieutenant William Wilson come face to face with the death trade and those who profit from it – legally or otherwise.  Among them is an old enemy who has used his brains and ruthlessness to rise through the ranks of London’s criminal world.  And as plans progress for a new police force for the capital, Sam and his wife Martha look to the future.