Bernard Lacey

Bernard LaceyWhile Napoleon Bonaparte waited aboard his frigate off Rochefort hoping for safe passage through the British blockade and negotiating with Captain Frederick Maitland on the Bellerophon (both in accepted history and in A Set of Lies) Bernard Lacey (in A Set of Lies) is busy.
On the 9th July 1815 he spent some hours in Paris with the Duke of Wellington finalising the details of the scheme that had been in the planning since 1802. On the 12th July he was on the Isle of Wight arranging with Lady Frances Frensham for a certain Cornishman, no longer Ennor Jolliffe, to be moved with great secrecy to Plymouth.
On the 13th July he left the island for Rochefort where his mixture of charm, threat and skilled diplomacy would change the course of history. Upon Napoleon’s being in the hands of the British, it would be up to Lacey to persuade the man he referred to as ‘The General’ that there was an alternative to trial, to execution or to exile to a remote island in the South Atlantic.
Anthony Andrews, when he played the Scarlet Pimpernel, is my idea of Bernard Lacey as he would have been in 1802 when he first came across Ennor Jolliffe and the plan first formed in his mind.
Read A Set of Lies and let me know who you would have cast.

Anniversary? What anniversary?

Castelreagh McCartney First: Happy Birthday for 18 June to Sir Paul McCartney – a 73rd anniversary to savour.

Also born on June 18 (173 years earlier in 1769) was Viscount Castlereagh. He was British Foreign Secretary in 1815 and instrumental in what happened to Napoleon after his surrender to the British on July 15 1815.

Second: in A Set of Lies Bernard Lacey is in Paris finalising the arrangements for his plan and Ennor Jolliffe is on the Isle of Wight (under the protection of Lady Frances Frensham) in the final preparations before playing the part of his life.

Meanwhile: just south of Brussels, Napoleon Bonaparte prepared to fight the battle he was very confident of winning…..



This week last year in A Set of Lies

LibraryA lot was happening in Yarmouth this week a year ago.

On Wednesday 4th June Skye Lacey met her father and was told that she was to leave The Lodge, her home on the Isle of Wight which held so many secrets.

On Thursday 5th June she had a phone call from Fergal Shepherd, a man who worked for her father, and reluctantly accepted that he had to visit The Lodge to make an inventory.

On Friday 6th June Skye met Fergal for supper at The George in Yarmouth and decided she had to trust him.

On Saturday 7th June she shows him what she has found and he shares her suspicions. After an urgent phone call Carl Witherby arrives on the island and the quest begins.

On Sunday 8th June, after one day, Fergal returns to the mainland and Skye and Carl try to work together. Skye does not want to spend the time working through all the books in the library.

On Monday 9th June, after another tiresome day for Skye though fascinating for Carl, Fergal returns to the island and progress is reviewed.

They have only until the end of the month before Skye has to leave The Lodge…….

6th June

portrait with pendantIn A Set of Lies, on 6th June 1820 Josephine Marie Olivierre was born in the first floor bedroom of The Lodge on the Isle of Wight. She was the only child of Claude and Patience who survived past infancy.

In the 68 years of her life she never left the island and only ever lived in the house in which she was born. She married her neighbour and cousin, William Lacey, and had one disappointing and difficult son.

In all her life Josephine knew nothing of her father’s history. She was never told, and she never discovered, who he really was and she never knew of the message hidden in the locket he had given her and which she had worn when her portrait was painted.

The portrait and the locket are important clues eventually picked up by her great-great-great-grand-daughter, Skye, as she tries to solve the mystery in A Set of Lies.


CP29-05-15On Old Gaffers Weekend in Yarmouth there are tens of thousands of people milling around.

Hopefully some will go into Holdings or Off The Rails or The Wheatsheaf and see one or other of my Isle of Wight based books – Her Parents’ Daughter and A Set of Lies – and then buy them!

When I say ‘Isle of Wight based’ they do extend all over the country (and across the world) as the stories unfold.

And I’ve been told that they are very good stories…..

And another coming for next year…..

St Helena

JamestownAt the end of May in the year 1881 Sir Augustus Lacey and his future wife’s father are on their way back from The Cape to England when their ship spends three days anchored off Jamestown, on the island of St Helena in the South Atlantic.

Sir Augustus knows nothing of his family’s connections with the island.

He does not know that his grand-father (Sir Bernard Lacey) visited the island several times between late 1815 and the Spring of 1821 as the charade was maintained.

He does not know that the uncle he does not know exists (William Lacey) had spent three years on the island in 1844. William was a geologist and his letters back to his family on the Isle of Wight were bound in leather by Claude and kept in the library of The Lodge. No one looked at them until they were discovered in June 2014 by Professor Carl Witherby and Skye Lacey (a distant cousin of Augustus’s) as they searched for clues they did not know exist to solve the mystery of A Set of Lies.

A year ago… In another world…

OxfordThis time last year the main characters in A Set of Lies had yet to set out on their task – to solve a mystery by finding clues they do not know exist.

Fergal Shepherd is just about to start working for Sir Arthur Lacey in Oxford. He had been employed to research Sir Arthur’s family history and is nothing to do with Sir Arthur’s political office.

Skye Lacey, having long ago give up any thoughts of doing anything else, is caring for her bed-ridden Aunt Audrey (Sir Arthur’s sister) in their old family home on the Isle of Wight.

Professor Sir Carl Witherby, respected historian, academic and media personality, is looking forward to a long and peaceful summer in Cambridge.

Little do they know what the next month has in store for them.