Mélanie and Charles Fraser



London Gambit is out a week from Thursday! Hard to believe release day is almost here. The picture above is a room for the American Wing at the Met that was my inspiration for the breakfast parlor in Suzanne and Malcolm’s Berkeley Square house, where several key scenes in London Gambit take place. Malcolm thinks about Suzanne redoing the room and making the walls a soft peach, whereas they’d been ice blue in his mother’s day. Any predictions for the book you’d like to share? It’s definitely a story that shakes the series up a bit. A game changer, as one ARC reader said.

On another note, I’m giving away five copies of the Kindle edition of The Mayfair Affair on Amazon if anyone wants that edition and doesn’t have it yet.


A month to go until London Gambit! I’m running a giveaway for the next week on the Tracy Grant Google + Group. To enter the contest, join the group (or login if you’re already a member) and look for the contest thread, which should be at the top of the page.  The group is a huge amount of fun – if you haven’t already, do check it out!





Happy Sunday! London Gambit will be out in less than five weeks. Mélanie and I are in New York for a few days. Friday I had a great meeting with the fabulous team at Nancy Yost Literary Agency. There were are above with Natanya Wheeler, director of digital rights, who also creates my amazing covers; Sarah Younger (seated), who manages the print books and is superb at social media; my amazing agent Nancy Yost (standing center), who has been such a champion of the Rannoch/Fraser series from the beginning; and Amy Rosenbaum, the wonderful new rights manager. I talk to these people all the time by email, but it’s so energizing to sit down in the same room and strategize for the series.

I’ll post a full photo diary when we get home, but meanwhile here are a few more pics. Mélanie and me in our hotel room after a lovely dinner with friends



At Belvedere Castle in Central Park




And at the Metropolitan Museum in a period dining room that will almost certainly find it’s way into Malcolm and Suzanne’s world


If Suzanne and Malcolm and their friends lived in present-day New York, what do you think their lives might be like? Who would live where? Work where? What would be their favorite spots?


Happy Spring!  Six weeks until the release of London Gambit. I’m getting very excited, and I hope readers are too. As you’ll know if you’ve read the teaser, one of the opening scenes finds Suzanne visiting a fellow former agent who is also a dressmaker. Though a different sort of establishment, the shop front might look not unlike Truefitt & Hill in St. James’s pictured above. This barbershop goes back to 1805 , so Malcolm, Harry, David, Simon, Raoul, even Carfax could be patrons. imagine the secrets the staff might be privy to:-).

Hope everyone celebrating has a lovely Easter. Mélanie and I started out the weekend last night with dinner at our favorite microbrew pub, Marin Brewing Company (which also has excellent Shirley Temples), dyed eggs today, and are off to Children’s Fairyland for a picnic with friends tomorrow.







Just seven more weeks until the release of London Gambit on 5 May. I love book releases, both as a reader and as a writer. This past week brought the treat of a new novella in Laurie R. King’s wonderful Mary Russell series, The Marriage of Mary Russell. I have loved this series for years, and it’s been an influence on my own writing in portraying a marriage and partnership between investigators. This lovely novella fills in what happened at the wedding of Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes. I thoroughly enjoyed catching up on an episode in their lives I had long wondered about and imagined.

Which prompted me to think – what episode in the lives of Malcolm and Suzanne or the other characters that hasn’t been shown in the series would you like to see dramatized?

Have a great weekend!



Mélanie and I spent a stormy afternoon yesterday at the Palace of the Legion of Honor Museum in San Francisco. The building itself is a treat, a replica the Palais de la Legion d’Honneur in Paris, surrounded by a rolling golf course, overlooking the city on one side and the Pacific Ocean on the other. Mélanie calls it a “castle.” We saw Raphael’s “Portrait of a Lady with a Unicorn” (and left with two stuffed unicorns from the gift shop) and a Pierre Bonnard exhibit, visited the 18th century Salon Doré that I love and the teacup display Mel loves, and listens to a wonderful organ concert.


The late 18th and early 19th century artworks and furniture and other household items feel like old friends and have inspired scenes and characters in my books. It’s fun now to tell Mélanie “that fireplace could be in on of Mummy’s books” or “doesn’t that lady look as though she could be on one of my book covers?” And just being in the museum – the soaring ceilings, the marble floors, the beautiful artwork and beautiful views is at once inspiring and relaxing – like stepping into another world. As we took a break in the café (Mel enjoying strawberry shortcake, me sipping a glass of brut rosé) I looked through the glass doors that run along one side of the room at the rain-splashed garden outside. Gray sky, a tracery of trees branches whipped by the wind, statues, a thick ivy hedge. Suddenly, a scene for the next Malcolm & Suzanne story (a novella following London Gambit) sprang to my mind. I’ve busy with research and plot logistics and felt a long way from writing, but this scene sprang vividly to mind, though I’m still not sure quite how it fill into the story. I left feeling refreshed and inspired to write and had a bonding afternoon with my daughter that exposed her to new things. Thank you, Legion of Honor!


Are there particular locations that you evoke scenes in books for you, as a writer or a reader?


At Marin Theatre Company’s The Little Mermaid


I was the wrong age for the Disney Little Mermaid – too old to be likely to go to cartoon movies myself much, too young to have a lot of friends with children or to have them myself. I had always stayed away from the fairy tale because the ending is sad. In fact I remember thinking how odd it was Disney had made it into a film until I learned they had changed the ending.

Then Mélanie discovered it, first through a lovely video someone gave us that’s a sort of novella about Ariel and a baby killer whale named Spot, then through the movie itself. She loves it. Ariel, I think, is her favorite Disney princess, alongside Anna and Elsa. We have several Ariel dolls, including two who sing “Part of Your World” (last  night we had them singing a duet). I’ve come to love it myself and find myself very grateful for the changed ending (which once horrified me).

It was only watching the movie with Mélanie that I realized the parallels to Suzanne Rannoch. A heroine who changes herself (mutes herself in fact) to live in the hero’s world. Suzanne gives up a lot of herself to marry Malcolm, including the ability to directly express much of what she believes in (though she’s finding ways around that). The mermaid saves the prince from drowning. Malcolm thinks without Suzanne he’d almost  certainly be alone and might well be dead, one way or another.

This afternoon Mélanie and I saw a wonderful children’s theatre production of the story at the fabulous Marin Theatre Company. The play was based on the Hans Christian Andersen original. I was afraid the differences from the movie she loves, and in particular the sad ending,  would bother Mélanie, but she was entranced. I was stuck by how much of the story (the mermaidcollecting things, seeing prince on his birthday, the storm) is the same as in the movie. The physical pain the mermaid feels in human skin (which isn’t in the movie) struck me as another parallel to Suzanne, who I think at times finds it quite uncomfortable to exist in her Mrs. Malcolm Rannoch persona (though less so now than at first). The fairy tale’s ending in which the mermaid has the chance to return to her old life if she kills the prince all struck me as having parallels perhaps to Suzanne’s betrayal. I’m often not sure what Suzanne might do or how far she might go, but I’m quite sure she’d never kill Malcolm. But there are echoes in the idea that returning to her old self would metaphorically kill the man she loves.

Do you see parallels between the mermaid and her prince and Suzanne and Malcolm? If so do you think their trajectory is closer to Ariel and Eric’s happily ever after or the original story in which they can’t be part of the same world?










« Previous PageNext Page »


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 124 other followers