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The Curious Life of Ada Baker

The Curious Life of Ada Baker is a paranormal cosy murder mystery about a talented psychic medium, who's drawn into cracking the unsolved murder of local beauty, Mary Watts, by the ghosts she shares her home with. The idea for the book started in the spring of 2020, during lockdown. Unable to do my usual job of running history workshops in schools, I thought I'd use some of my spare time to write the novel I'd always dreamed of finishing. The basic premise was simple. If a psychic can see and hear the dead, she could ask a murder victim who it was that had killed them. I'd also seen various shows where people claimed to have been possessed by spirits, and I thought, wouldn't it be amazing if you could utilise the knowledge and skills that the dead had accrued in life? You'd almost be like a super hero.

It wasn't the first novel I'd written, in fact it is my third, but this was the first one I felt had some possibility of success. I'd love to say I sat down and meticulously plotted and planned every stage of the book, but in truth, although I did write out a plot, chapter by chapter, my favourite ideas were pantser ideas, created on the spur of the moment. I think some of my best writing comes that way.

When we first meet Ada, she is living a comfortable but quiet life, sharing her home with three ghosts. The first ghost is Dennis Sutherland, a former financial consultant from the city, who is now a poltergeist. He died of a heart attack in 1987 on Black Monday. He met Ada when she was temping in the same office. His inspiration came from an experience I had in the early 1990s with a real poltergeist that I shared my flat with. It was particularly fond of stomping up and down the stairs, but it would also set off the fire alarm, and on the most alarming occasion, lifted the sleeves of my long sleeve t-shirt up into the air. That ghost had a profound affect on my life, making me consider the possibilities of life after death for the first time. Something that's turned into a life long obsession and I've had several other incidences since then. 

Ada also shares her home with Mrs Entwhistle, a former cook at Frogmore Manor. She died more than a hundred years ago. She once cooked for royalty and learnt from the greatest chefs of her day. Her least favourite sounds, are the bing of a microwave meal and the farty squirt of a ketchup bottle. In her day, food took time to prepare. Her motto is, 'if something's worth doing, it's worth doing well.'

Rose, is the third ghost that lives with Ada. She spent her life cleaning up after other people, including her parents and died rather ignominiously by slipping on a bar of soap, knocking herself out and drowning in a flooded toilet bowl. She's enjoying her death far more than she did her life and has made up for lost time. She's often found chatting up a handsome ghost, but her love of a clean room has remained, and she's always pestering Ada to buy the latest cleaning product.

Ada herself is a powerful psychic medium. She has the ability to see and hear ghosts as if they were alive. She is the seventh daughter of two parents, who were both seventh children. She has the power of retrocognition, and can see past events, simply by touching an object. A pretty useful skill in crime solving but not so useful if you're visiting an antique shop! 

Ada is drawn into solving the murder of Mary Watts, a local beauty, and artist's model. However, it's not as simple as Ada thinks to solve the crime. Along the way, she must convince a sceptical detective of her abilities, avoid the attentions of a sinister stalker, gain the help of a squadron of ghostly spitfire pilots, and try not to get murdered herself. But can the dead really help Ada to bring justice to Mary's murderer?

You can read the first three chapters here. There's also a murderous prologue before this, not shown on this page: Exclusive Excerpt: The Curious Life of Ada Baker by Karen Hamilton-Viall (Chapters 1-3) - Cranthorpe Millner

The Curious Life of Ada Baker was released on 27 September 2022. You can order it via The Book depositoryBarnes & Noble, Waterstone's, Foyles , AmazonUK and You can also buy it direct from my publisher, Cranthorpe Millner and other great book sites.   



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