We have a gorgeous new look for The Julia Probyn Mysteries series by Ann Bridge. In Julia – journalist, amateur sleuth, occasional spy – Bridge has created a heroine that charms and amuses in equal measure. Wife to a diplomat, Bridge draws on her experiences brushing shoulders with royalty and politicians across the globe. Set in the Cold War era, communist plots are set against the backdrop of palaces and beautiful exotic countryside, combining courtship plots with vividly-realized settings and demure social satire.
In The Lighthearted Quest, we meet Julia, who’s cousin and childhood friend Colin cuts off all contact with his family. Setting sail for Morocco – the last place he was seen – and using her occupation as a journalist as a cover, Julia is ready for a fairly lighthearted quest. But Julia wasn’t counting on the level of secrecy surrounding her cousin’s disappearance.
Book two, The Portuguese Escape, finds Julia acquainting herself with the world of counterespionage. Hetta, a young Hungarian Countess, just released from behind the Iron Curtain, is drawn into a communist plot. Together the two young women will need all of their strength to unravel the schemes and machinations closing in from all sides.
In The Numbered Account, Julia’s cousin, Colin, asks her to look into the matter of an anonymous Swiss bank account containing a fortune for his fiancée Aglaia Armitage, left to her by her Greek grandfather. When the account is compromised, and documents of vital interest to the British Secret Service go missing, it is again down to Julia to foil a communist plot.
The Dangerous Islands sees Julia and cousin Colin sailing off the west coast of Scotland when they stumble upon a suspicious sky-blue pole, rising from the ground on the desolate island of Erinish Beg. Colin, who works for the British Secret Service, immediately suspects Russian surveillance. Military Intelligence sends Colonel Jamieson to investigate this find, and together he and Julia must unravel the mystery. But as the Cold War rages, the pair are soon to find out that the antenna-like pole is only the beginning. As the conspiracy grows, so too does their affection for each other, which seems rather likely to complicate matters.
Book five, Emergency in the Pyrenees, takes us to the French mountain range bordering Spain. After the perilous circumstances in which the newly married Julia and Philip met, it is no wonder that the Colonel wants his pregnant wife safe and away from too much excitement. Unfortunately, the remote French mountain village he chooses is not only impractical, isolated, and far from medical assistance, but is unfortunately also in the path of smugglers and saboteurs.
Bridge takes us back to the beautiful countryside of Portugal in The Episode at Toledo, where erstwhile British secret agent Julia Probyn is to attend a royal wedding. But her former acquaintance, Countess Hetta Páloczy, the young Hungarian refugee, unwittingly gets them both tangled in Cold War intrigue. After Hetta accidentally uncovers a communist plot to assassinate an American admiral in Spain, she is a marked woman yet again and must flee to Portugal. But even in the tranquil beauty of Gralheira, peril lurks. Unluckily for the assassins, these women are no strangers to danger.
In The Malady in Madeira, the last thing recently widowed Julia Probyn expects to find on the lush and charming island of Madeira is a clue to her husband’s mysterious death, for Colonel Jamieson perished somewhere in the wilds of Central Asia while on a top-secret mission for British Intelligence. No sooner does Julia arrive at Madeira with her infant son and his devoted Nanny, however, than a series of strange, sinister, but apparently unconnected events begin to occur. Suspecting a Cold War plot, Julia summons her cousin, Colin Munro, and together they might just be able to blow the entire Russian scheme wide open.
Julia in Ireland, the concluding novel in The Julia Probyn Mysteries, brings us to the Emerald Isle. While on an assignment with British Intelligence in Morocco, the widowed Julia Probyn Jamieson loses her heart to Gerald O’Brien, a kind and unassuming lawyer. Together with her five-year-old son, Julia travels to Gerald’s family home in Ireland to see if the country life could be for her. Julia’s quiet vacation is interrupted when she stumbles upon a plot by a cunning landowner. It is down to Julia to investigate the devious scheme, which would destroy the wild beauty of the coast and disrupt the peace of the community.
Whatever mystery you choose to cosy up with, whether you are unearthing communist plots or unpicking a mind boggling murder, we hope you can enjoy it from the comfort of a restful weekend!