In 1969 there was a young librarian who discovered that all the Agatha Christie novels she had read throughout her childhood could now be put to good use. Read on to find out more…
Who is Janie Juke?
Janie Juke is a young librarian, living in the fictional Sussex seaside town of Tamarisk Bay in the late 1960s.
The great thing about being a librarian is not only being able to read all the books you could ever want, but also that you are at the heart of the community. With people forever popping in and out of the library van, Janie is in the very best place to excel at her other little sideline – as an amateur sleuth!
Since she was a young teenager Janie has had a passion for Agatha Christie novels. As a result, she is a devoted fan of Hercule Poirot. Now she is having a chance to put all she has learned from him to the test.
In the first book in the Sussex Crime mystery series, The Tapestry Bag, Janie’s good friend Zara goes missing. When the police appear to be doing little to find Zara, Janie makes it her mission to track her down. Zara’s boyfriend, Joel, has been killed in a hit and run accident and Zara goes missing on the one-year anniversary of his death. As Janie explores the strange circumstances of Zara’s disappearance, she starts to question the truth about Joel’s death. She turns to Agatha Christie’s crime novel, The Mysterious Affair at Styles, to help her untangle the web of lies and deceit.
Having shown her skills at investigating, Janie takes on her first case for a client in the second book in the series, Lost Property. Hugh Furness is prepared to pay Janie a handsome amount of money to help him find an old friend, who he hasn’t seen for more than twenty years. This time Janie enlists the help of her friend and local journalist, Libby Frobisher and between they track down clues and piece together the facts. Hugh Furness was an RAF pilot in the Second World War and Janie soon discovers that it is the past that holds the key to the present.
Janie’s father, Philip, offers her solid support, acting as a brilliant sounding board as she works through her theories and conjectures. And in the third book in the series, The Invisible Case, Janie is getting used to being a mum, with her baby just two months old. In this story we meet Philip’s sister, Jessica who has been travelling around Europe for the last nine years and now is returning from Italy, with a friend in tow. Mysteries surround Luigi, a moody newcomer to Tamarisk Bay, and within days of his arrival there is a shocking death.
Janie’s new role as a first-time mum doesn’t deter her from seeking out the truth and in true Hercule Poirot fashion she is determined to chase down every clue. When you are investigating crime, the police are bound to be keeping a watchful eye on your every move. Janie first met Detective Sergeant Bright in The Tapestry Bag, and dealt with him again in Lost Property, but in The Invisible Case, they have a few verbal sparring sessions. Frank Bright can’t decide whether Janie is a useful ally, or an annoying splinter that he just can’t extricate.
This blog post is one of a series, which has led up to Agatha Christie’s birthday and national #cozymysteryday on 15th September, as I enjoy the opportunity to be Chindi’s ‘Author of the week’. Chindi is a network of authors, both traditionally and independently published, based largely in West Sussex. Between us we publish a wide range of books, from historical and crime fiction to romance and children’s books, from humour to self-help.
If you would like to know more about the great Queen of Crime and help to celebrate Agatha Christie’s birthday, then look back at the other blog posts in the series:
- Agatha Christie and Isabella Muir
- Agatha Christie – a child of her time
- What is a cosy mystery?
- The good, the bad and the ugly
- Investigating the past
As a present to you, on Agatha’s behalf, I am pleased to announce that the first book in my Sussex Crime series – The Tapestry Bag – is available on Kindle for just £0.99p and completely free with Kindle Unlimited – grab it while you can!