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Wednesday 31 August 2011

Fabulous 'Thyme' Competition

That continuously inventive author, Panama Oxridge, has designed an ingenious competition open to all bloggers.

It's simple, it's fun and it's free! And wow! What very special prizes. If you win the books, I suggest you wrap them in brown paper and lodge them with the bank - they could be very valuable. (Then buy a copy from us to read!)

Here's the author setting out the rules - over to you Panama.

To celebrate the paperback release of JUSTIN THYME, the Tartan of Thyme Blog is running a competition with signed/doodled copies of both JUSTIN THYME and its forthcoming sequel THYME RUNNING OUT as the prize.
All readers have to do is visit the participating blogs, note down the letters and numbers on the Justin Thyme bookmarks (see photos), then rearrange the letters in numerical order. This spells a secret message (Justin’s description of himself). Visit the TOT blog to find links to all participating blogs, and to email your answer. The competition will close on September 7th, when a winner (picked at random from the correct entries) will be announced. 

You will need to start at the 'Tartan of Thyme blog - 

And here's our photo. Don't forget, clicking on it usually gives a larger image

Tuesday 30 August 2011

Thyme Travel and a Book Launch

Talking of mysteries, I hope that it has dawned on all our readers that only through the use of Time Travel will Panama Oxridge be signing Thyme Running Out nearly three whole weeks before the official publication date.

Books signed at the book launch on 10th September, here at Cotswold Bookstore, will have the edge on all other signed copies and, obviously, there will only be a limited number.

Panama Oxridge will also be signing the paperback of Justin Thyme on the day. Again, they will be dated first editions. The paperback differs slightly from the hardback so even collectors who have some signed hardbacks may be interested in adding a paperback or three

We are receiving phone calls (01608 652666) and e-mails ( from across the world for these books but I'm sure that the bulk of those sold will be on the day.

Do contact us soon, if you wish to order, as things are hotting up!

The Lol Robinson Mystery

The big book-signing on the rather close horizon (10 Sept) is that of Panama Oxridge who will be here to launch the exciting Justin Thyme sequel, Thyme Running Out. The paperback of Justin Thyme will also be available. However, you know all that. You also know that there is a great deal of mystery about both books and about the author.

Strange then that, just one week later we have an author here who also has a great deal of mystery about him - Phil Rickman. Not only are his books mysteries in themselves but also, they are in a genre of his own creation. Murder mysteries that edge towards the dark arts but never quite get there, or do they?

However, there is an even bigger mystery that comes with his books. They contain a character called Lol Robinson, a musician. Now characters in books are just that aren't they? So how come I've just been listening to a Lol Robinson CD? Rather good it is too. I'm no judge but I'd say there was a Simon and Garfunkel touch in the sound (with a chunk of Bo Diddley in there too!) though Nick Drake is the big influence according to the books.

When Phil Rickman is here for his signing of his not-yet-published The Secrets of Pain on 17th Sept, he will also have Lol Robinson CDs for sale. So who the heck is Lol Robinson? Can anybody out there tell me?

Monday 29 August 2011


Now this is unusual. Popster here was totally uninterested in our biscuits.

We rattled the tin and even opened it under his nose but he didn't even twitch his tail.

Not to worry. At least three other dogs soon made up for his lack of appetite.

Saturday 27 August 2011

The Secrets of Pain

We've not told you much about Phil Rickman's books yet, though there is a recent review of  To Dream of the Dead in our REVIEWS section. Here we fill the gap. (No, that's not what the Welsh call him)

The Secrets of Pain by Phil Rickman
Hardback at £18.99 
Those of you who have not come across this author's unusual pairing of country hating Scouse detective, Francis Bliss, and his real heroine, vicar/exorcist, Merrily Watkins, have missed a treat.
The ongoing conflict between established villagers and newcomers and between country folk and town folk, are central to his books, as is his evident concern for small town life. Despite being set across the border in Hereford, these themes will resonate with people in The Cotswolds. However, it is to be hoped that the mixture of crime and the almost supernatural elements of his plots are not quite so familiar to local residents.
His latest and best novel uses the extreme training methods of the SAS and their misuse as a constant threat hanging over Merrily and her daughter. However, the cruelty of cock-fighting gangs may not be a red herring and the creepily insane (or possessed?) are not to be ignored. There is tension from the first page as two of his characters battle their way through a violent winter storm only to witness horror in the snow and this tension hardly lets up through the entire book.

Well written and carefully plotted with moments of comedy to relieve the tension, this book is full of great characters and is gripping throughout. It also gives great value for its page count as well as for its quality (This new hardback runs to nearly 600 pages). 

First rate.

Friday 26 August 2011

Windows for Signings.

 Here are our windows ready for the signings in September.

Just in case you've forgotten, on Saturday September 10th at 11am we have the Thyme Running Out - Justin Thyme signing by Panama Oxridge.

It will be the event of the year with a special cake cooked by Mrs Kof to celebrate it.

Already over 100 copies of Thyme Running Out have been pre-ordered and there are very few hardback copies of Justin Thyme left. (Paperbacks are available)

Our adult window for the Rebecca Tope/Phil Rickman signing on Saturday 17th September is looking a little bare.

I intended putting in some murder weapons smeared with blood but David wouldn't oblige. He's selfish like that.

We have Rebecca's latest, Deception in the Cotswolds, Phil's new hardback, The Secrets of Pain and a wide selection of their paperbacks.

Rebecca should be here before 11 am but Phil is unfortunately delayed so midday is a more likely time for him.

As well as the guide book,to Merrily's haunts, called Merrily's Border, we will also have CDs of music by Lol Robinson, a character from Phil's books.
(No, I don't know how that works either - one of the many questions I have for Phil)

Star Wars stars in the shop?

It's a while since we had a dog on the blog.

This delightful animal is Yumi, a Golden Doodle, ie a Golden Retriever/Poodle cross.

However, I'm convinced there's a lot of Wookiee in this new friend of ours.

I've not actually heard her make Chewbacca noises but I'm sure she does.

With Alfie the dead spit of an Ewok, we are starting to get a Star Wars cast in here some days.

Wednesday 24 August 2011

Merrily's Border

After our 'children's' signing (Panama Oxridge on 10September) we have another biggie - that is Rebecca Tope and her Cotswold murder mysteries and, on the same day, Saturday 17th September, Phil Rickman with his Merrily Watkins series including the new hardback The Secrets of Pain.

Just arrived, Merrily's Border, a photo guide to some of the locations in which Phil sets his stories, words by Phil himself and photos by John Mason. This is a must for Rickman fans, especially if you want to track Merrily down in her natural habitat.

In the same way that fact and fiction blur in the Merrily Watkins series, the landscape pictured is little removed from the myth of the Marches and much of the book tells strange tales of pagan places.

I'm looking forward to meeting Phil but now I also want to follow the Merrily trail in those border lands that this excellent author so obviously loves.

So, not only will we have Phil's fiction in stock and CD's staring Lol Robinson and Hazey Jane ll but now we'll have this evocative guide-book too. Maybe at a special price! (To be announced)

Saturday 20 August 2011

Fantastic 'Thyme' prizes!

A new competition has recently been announced by Panama Oxridge, the author of Justin Thyme and the soon to be released Thyme Running Out.

It's open to all blog followers and the prizes are very special indeed and very limited in number.


See for details

Oh! Did I mention the book signing on September 10th?

If you missed out on a signed hardback copy of Justin Thyme then please get in touch quickly. Hardback numbers are dwindling fast and there may not be many left for the author to sign. However, we will have paperbacks.

Wednesday 17 August 2011

Tartan of Thyme special

Oh! I forgot to mention - before the damp author vanished off to the past (or future?), he told me about the 'special something' that he was going to present to some of those first in the queue on his signing day AND I WANT ONE!

If you like to see details, look in on his blog

Tuesday 16 August 2011

A visit from Panama Oxridge

As no other than Panama Oxridge paddled out of the water, his trademark Panama hat floated beyond reach.

It was another two hours before the RAC was able to haul his Time machine onto dry land and by then, the simple explanation for his visit came to light.

"What Ho!" he said. " I simply forgot when I was due to be at your shop. I know the signing is on September 10th, but is that 2011 or 1102? I can come on either date."

I put him straight on the date and after a chat and a few mechanical adjustments, he started the machine and disappeared back to where (and when) he had come from.

The Panama Oxridge signing -
Saturday 10 September at 11 am
The author will be signing copies of
Thyme Running Out,
the amazing sequel to Justin Thyme.

Hardback and paperback copies of Justin Thyme will also be available.

Monday 15 August 2011


When I was away for those few days recently, I frequently had the strange feeling that I was being followed.

Despite using all the old MI5 tricks, stopping to tie up my already tight shoelaces, peering at reflections in shop windows and car mirrors, turning abruptly and walking back the way I had come and sitting at park benches with a small hole cut through my copy of The Times, I couldn't spot him anywhere.

Then, when I turned suddenly and still failed to see anyone unexpected, I heard the sound of a small, distant splash...

27 Days

Saturday 10 September 11am

Saturday 13 August 2011

Sworn Sword - A great signing

 Here, at the start of a great day for both James Aitcheson and Cotswold Bookstore, the proud author of Sworn Sword stands outside the shop, showing us his book.

(Notice the excellent castle in the background wot I built)

I know it should have been a Motte and Bailey Castle but, unfortunately, Usborne don't publish one.

Even more unfortunately, even the one in the window is out of print for we could have sold a dozen in the past month.

Here's James, head down, busily signing the first of about half a dozen advance orders.

The admiring public. These good people have come out of their way to meet James.

And here are his proud folks who came up with him to lend support and who wandered around Moreton for over 3 hours before admitting defeat.

Good to meet you folks.

A really amazing day James.

We all hope the rest of your signing tour goes well.

Do give his site a look to see if he's anywhere near you in the next few weeks.

Homecoming praise

Here's a glowing review of the book I have been praising lately, The Homecoming of Samuel Lake by Jenny Wingfield.

As you can see from this link, this book of riches is being warmly received elsewhere.

Friday 12 August 2011

Mead missing.

Here's that incredibly young (and even younger looking) man who is coming tomorrow to sign his historical novel, Sworn Sword.

However, disaster looms as I forgot to order that traditional Norman drink, mead.

Apparently, James Aitcheson will drink nothing else.

I'll see what I can do as I swing past Tesco in the morning.

He's not due in till after 10am, so I'll have time.

Sunday 7 August 2011

The Castle - another view!

Did I remember to say that James Aitcheson, author of Sworn Sword, has his own site?

Yes, I know I'm overdoing the pictures of my fantastic castle but at least this is from a different angle.

And David's 'bee damage' has been put right.

Sales and orders have been very good so I think I'll be ordering more copies tomorrow.

By the way, if you want a signed copy but cannot get here on the day, mail or phone us and we will either post it on to you or put it aside for you to collect.   01608 652666
Do try to make it though, as we will be serving a honey cake baked by our very own Mrs Koff (Marilyn) and there may be traditional Norman drink on offer.

Saturday 6 August 2011

Wodehouse 3 for 2

With praise such as 'Sublime comic genius' (Ben Elton), 'Quite simply, the master of comic writing at work' (Jane Moore) and 'The funniest writer ever to put word to paper' (Hugh Laurie), it is surprising that we are not asked for PG Wodehouse books more often.

If you've never tried him, now is the time to do so for we have about 20 titles on a 3 for 2 offer.
Jeeves and Wooster must be his most famous characters but I'm a fan of 'Uncle Fred' so if you want Uncle Fred in the Springtime, you'll have to be quick - I've already nabbed one.

Friday 5 August 2011

Dinky Jane Bailey books

A pair of books that we've been waiting on are two of our biggest sellers, Tommy Glover's Sketch of Heaven and Mad Joy.

These two warm, captivating reads by Jane Bailey have been out of stock with the publishers for a few months but have now just arrived - diminished both in size and in price. (Only £6.99!) 

They really are dinky and are even more of a perfect holiday read now that they can be tucked into even a small handbag.

It's a while since I read either but thumbing through them makes me want to read them both again.

When's your next book Jane?

Sworn Sword arrives

I've just returned from a few days off. Nina was away too.

That left David in charge of the fort and what do I find on my return?

Actually, he was in charge of the castle - the one in the window, the one I spent three weeks patiently cutting and glueing.

In my absence it seems that a bombardment has damaged the South Tower and killed several of the battle hardened troops outside the castle walls!

David claims the damage was wrought by bees!

However, doesn't the window look so much better now that we have copies of Sworn Sword actually there!

This very reasonably priced (£12.99) novel is already selling well, so do come along at 10.30am on Saturday 13 August to meet James Aitcheson. A remarkable young man at the start of an exciting career.

Thursday 4 August 2011


We were all pleased when good friends of ours brought Molly in to see us.

Molly had visited us once before, as a shy and rather timid, young pup.

As you can see, she's a whole lot more relaxed around us now.

In fact, we had to offer biscuits to just get her to stand up!