Cecilia Peartree is the pen name of a writer from Edinburgh. She has dabbled in various genres so far, including science fiction and humour, but she keeps returning to a series of 'cosy' mysteries set in a small town in Fife.
The first full length novel in the series, 'Crime in the Community', and the fifth 'Frozen in Crime are 'perma-free' on all outlets.
The Quest series is set in the different Britain of the 1950s. The sixth novel in this series, 'Quest for a Father' was published in March 2017..
As befits a cosy mystery writer, Cecilia Peartree lives in the leafy suburbs with her cats.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in a very small village in Fife, Scotland. I tended to feel like an outsider there for much of the time as my parents, although both Scottish, had met and married in England, where I and my brother were born. One of my friends later pointed out that I hadn't quite lost my English accent even ten years after moving to Scotland. I think feeling like an outsider is quite possibly an advantage for a writer as it encourages you to see things from a different perspective and to try to understand various points of view.
When did you first start writing?
Almost as soon as I could physically write, I wanted to write stories. The first one I can remember writing was when I was six years old. I sat at our dining-table all afternoon laboriously writing away with a pencil in a notebook which I still have somewhere. By the time it was getting dark, I had a story in four chapters and a lump on my finger where the pencil pressed against it - I still have that too.
Max Falconer prefers to work behind the scenes in a small, obscure museum, but somehow his work takes him into some odd, interesting and occasionally dangerous situations, often attracting more publicity than he would have liked.
This is the 26th novel in the Pitkirtly Mysteries series. When a music festival takes over the town, most people predict some kind of trouble, but the presence of Amaryllis's former colleague Green makes this seem even more likely. So in the intervals between doughnut breaks, the usual suspects find themselves dealing with two violent deaths.
This is the 4th of the Max Falconer mysteries, centring on a museum curator whose vole research is frequently interrupted by criminal and other activities. The museum is already in crisis, with the director in hospital and a new threat from a mysterious animals rights activist, when Amanda makes an unpleasant discovery which sets off a police investigation.
On moving day, Pamela Prendergast, recently widowed under unusual circumstances, opens her front door and takes delivery of an unexpected gift from a complete stranger. Not long afterwards, she makes a series of unwelcome discoveries about her late husband, gets to know her new neighbours and makes the acquaintance of some interesting and, in several cases, sinister people.
This collection includes the title novella, A Little Too Fond of Cake, and a handful of short stories of various lengths and genres. A Little Too Fond of Cake, a dark comedy of novella length (in 13 chapters), tells the separate but somehow inextricably connected stories of Claire and Jennifer, who both happen to be fond of cake, and of Claire’s husband George’s mysterious disappearance.
This is the 25th in the Pitkirtly Mysteries series of quirky mystery novels set in Scotland. It’s early autumn and Dave and Jemima are heading for Loch Rannoch, in Highland Perthshire, not to view the autumn colours but to meet a long-lost cousin of Jemima’s.
This is the 24th book in the Pitkirtly Mystery series. Clementine Fairfax, previously encountered in 'The Identity Illusion', returns to Pitkirtly under cover to investigate a computer crime which has been traced to Pitkirtly College computing department, where Zak Johnstone is currently studying. Two suspicious deaths later, she is not very much the wiser about what is going on.
This is the 23rd novel in the Pitkirtly Mysteries series.
Christmas approaches as it does at this time every year. Mrs Petrelli’s hospital stay brings past family problems back to the surface, and Amaryllis finds herself having to spend time searching for an uninvited guest instead of helping the police to investigate a suspicious death.
When the stuffed capybara that was intended to form the centrepiece of a new display goes missing, Max Falconer and his colleagues follow its trail from the museum to a conservation studio in East Lothian and then to the home of a freelance taxidermist in the Highlands, uncovering one mystery after another along the way (Book 2 of the Max Falconer series)
This is the 22nd novel in the Pitkirtly Mysteries series,
Kyle is sent to Old Pitkirtlyhill House, once the home of the Murray family and now in the possession of the local council, to review a collection of documents stored in the attics. This task is complicated by a grim discovery and multiple questions of identity.
A woodland building project unearths truths that might otherwise have remained hidden, and causes people to question aspects of themselves and others that they hadn’t taken any notice of before. A project to build a new museum of trees falters when a body is discovered at the proposed site and a protest group is formed locally.
This is the 21st novel in the Pitkirtly Mysteries series, set in the present day in a fictitious small town on the Fife coast, not far from Culross but definitely not based on any real place.
When they find evidence of intruders in the Cultural Centre one night, Amaryllis, Jock McLean and Hamish enter the building, only to stumble across a body on the floor of the library.
This is the 20th novel in the Pitkirtly Mysteries series.
Maisie Sue's wedding is disrupted by shadows from the past, while Christopher fights against the inexorable intrusion of the future into his working life, and once again Amaryllis is not the only spy in town.
This is a collection of five short stories by Cecilia Peartree, author of the Pitkirtly Mystery and Adventurous Quest series. The stories are Apocalypse Ready, Recycled, A Romantic Quest, Special, and The Apocalypse Decoded.
This is a new collection of five short stories, of which three are set in Pitkirtly, home of the Pitkirtly Mysteries, and two are freestanding stories.
The stories are 'Christmas Lights', 'A Very Secret Santa', 'Landscape of Terror', 'Conclusions' and 'The Wrong Idea'.
Mollie, the senior librarian at the Cultural Centre, gets involved in a series of unlikely adventures after being questioned by the police, while Amaryllis takes on a new rôle and Christopher faces the possibility that agents of a foreign power have targeted the Cultural Centre.
This is the 18th novel in the Pitkirtly Mystery series. A series of unexpected and apparently random incidents takes place in and around Pitkirtly. Can Amaryllis provide an explanation that connects them all up?
This is the 17th novel in the Pitkirtly Mystery series. Penelope Johnstone can't help feeling a bit sorry for herself as she spends a significant birthday alone at home. But once she gets involved in a sequence of bizarre events such as being threatened by the driver of an ice-cream van, she no longer has any time to worry about that. And once Amaryllis joins in, things can only get more bizarre.
This is the 16th book in the Pitkirtly Mystery series.
A stolen wheelbarrow gets Stewie into trouble through no fault of his own. Meanwhile, someone takes most of the computers from the Cultural Centre in broad daylight, but this doesn't stop Jemima from running another Family History day. If there's any connection between these apparently random events, Amaryllis is determined to find it.
This is the 6th book in the 'Adventurous Quests' series of thriller novels set in the world of the 1950s, when people hadn't quite recovered from the war and were on the brink of being plunged into a cold war stand-off with Russia.
'Quest for a Father' takes Clemency and Andrew to Spain, at a time when recovery from war was even slower, and there were secrets and dangers round every corner.
Little does Jock McLean realise that an encounter with a pack of dogs and their dog-walker on the beach is only the start of a sequence of events that will lead him to the dark side of Pitkirtly Island and beyond. His friends Christopher, Amaryllis, Dave and Jemima will also become involved before long in a case of murder, fraud, a dog home and an irresponsible vet. The 15th Pitkirtly Mystery.
This is the 14th novel in the Pitkirtly Mystery series, set in a fictitious small town on the coast of Fife.
When an amateur theatre group plans a promenade performance on Pitkirtly Island in the dark - on Hallowe'en - this seems to Amaryllis like a recipe for disaster, so naturally she pays close attention to the project...
Christopher finds that going away on holiday is a lot more trouble than it's worth, while a wedding in the Cultural Centre isn't without its problems. Amaryllis tries to keep a low profile as she teases out secrets from the tangled threads of everyday life, and Christopher's sister Caroline allows obsession to lead her into danger. A Pitkirtly Mystery.
This is the 5th novel in the 'Quest' series of mystery / thrillers set in the world of the 1950s.
'A Quest in Berlin' plunges Andrew and Clemency into peril as they arrive in a city that still bears the scars of war and is now at the centre of the Cold War. It's a place and a situation in which they don't know who to trust.
The Pitkirtly Triangle is the 11th novel in the Pitkirtly Mystery series, set in a small town on the coast of Fife, in Scotland.
Amaryllis is puzzled when the people she has been hired to track keep vanishing without trace. Is there a connection with the new café at the top of the hill and the increase in Empire biscuit consumption in the locality?
This book is a collection of three novels and a short story by Cecilia Peartree, all previously published and featuring the same central characters: 'A Romantic Quest', a short story; 'The Lion and Unicorn Quest' set mostly in London in 1951; 'The Four Seasons Quest', starting on the day the King died in 1952; 'The Coronation Quest', which is complete in itself but ties off some loose ends.
'A Quest for Clemency' is the fourth in a series of mystery / thriller novels by Cecilia Peartree. It is set in 1950s Britain, mostly in Cambridge.
Clemency, Oliver Quest's younger sister, gets her own story after playing a supporting rôle in the previous novels in the series.
A coach party arrives unexpectedly in Pitkirtly, and causes consternation among some of the residents. Charlie would like to have had the chance to sell them drinks, Jemima wishes she had scrubbed her doorstep and Christopher resents the intrusion of visitors into forbidden areas of the Cultural Centre. By pooling their resources, they try to find out what’s behind this invasion.
Closer to Death in a Garden is the tenth novel in the Pitkirtly Mystery series of stories set in a fictitious small town in Fife. Ingredients include a small group of alpacas and a very old crime, and settings include, among others, a garden centre, a derelict hotel and the Queen of Scots pub.
This is the ninth novel in the Pitkirtly Mystery series. It’s a cold spring in Pitkirtly. Amaryllis’s campaign to be elected to the local Council is approaching a conclusion, and the local minister has set up the Face of Pitkirtly art exhibition to show off the creativity of the young people of the area. At least one of these activities is doomed to failure.
This is the eighth novel in the Pitkirtly Mystery series, set in an imaginary small town on the Fife coast in Scotland.
A Christmas market is interrupted by a murder nearby, and the usual suspects are drawn into the investigation whether they like it or not.
'The Coronation Quest' is the third in the 'Adventurous Quest' series of historical mystery novels. It is set in 1953 in Britain, mostly in London at the time when everyone was preparing for the Coronation.
This book consists of 2 light-hearted novellas of about 16,000 words each, set in Edwardian times, mostly in Edinburgh, and linked by some of the characters involved. ‘Adventure at the National Exhibition’ is a tale of old and new illusions, some of which are shattered by the end of the story. ‘Adventure on the Scotch Express’ is a tale of several people with something to hide.
This is the seventh book in the Pitkirtly series of cosy mysteries, set in a fictitious small town on the coast of Fife.
A baking competition comes to Pitkirtly, followed closely by murder and its aftermath.
Is Aunt Caroline’s murder just an isolated incident or could it be part of a much larger web of crime and intrigue? The case spawns secrets of its own which threaten to separate Flora and Oliver almost as soon as they get engaged.
A sequel to 'The Lion and Unicorn Quest'.
This is the sixth novel in the Pitkirtly mystery series.
What would you do if you thought you were about to lose everything you cared about most?
'The Queen of Scots Mystery' tells you what some familiar figures in Pitkirtly did in this situation, and explores the consequences.
Can people learn to leave the past behind them, and move on? Flora has tried hard to do this but her wartime past as a secret agent just won't let go of her.
For a while it's as if the pieces from two jigsaw puzzles have got mixed up and will never be sorted out again.
Frozen in Crime is the fifth novel in the Pitkirtly mystery series.
As Christmas approaches, deep snow cloaks the little town of Pitkirtly, an armed robbery takes place and Jemima’s husband Dave disappears. But that's just the start of it!
The fourth novel in the Pitkirtly series of quirky mysteries.
The Happiness Club, offering opportunities for friendship and romance, arrives in Pitkirtly, where it is met with healthy suspicion in some quarters and naive enthusiasm in others.
Isabelle doesn't expect a summer job in the south of France to turn into a nightmare. But even before she encounters the mysterious Nathan Freelander at the wheel of a boat on the Canal du Midi, she is already fighting for survival, and after that things go from bad to worse. Is Nathan's friend Josh friend or foe? Who can she trust?
Can anyone ever really change? Christopher and Amaryllis ask themselves this question when a young man comes to the door of their holiday caravan one wet evening.
The attempt to answer it takes them and their friends on a dangerous journey from a Pitkirtly ice-cream shop to a knitting club and then to a cattery before they reach a dangerous conclusion in an old railway yard.
A Pitkirtly mystery
When Jemima Stevenson helps to organise a Pitkirtly Homecoming day she has no idea that she has invited some of her long-lost cousins into danger. Reunited in Death is a cautionary tale for family historians and an entertaining read for others. Don't forget, there are some family occasions you won't want to put in your scrapbook!
What was Amaryllis doing at the rubbish tip in the middle of the night? And would she get away with it once her friend Christopher was on the case? This short tale of revenge, retribution and garden gnomes takes place in a small town in Scotland and is an introduction to a series of cosy mysteries by the same author.