On the Fiddle – Jane Lockyer Willis

(4 customer reviews)

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Melanie and her partner Henrietta are two small-time crooks who have chosen crime as their hobby rather than their living. From the sleepy village of Mallowmarsh, Mel plans to steal a valuable double row of pearls belonging to the late, wealthy Claribel Louise. These she intends either to sell on, or give as a present to her partner Henri whom she rightly believes would rather not take part in these dodgy, amateur escapades. But try as she may to pull off the perfect crime, Mel’s efforts turn to dust giving rise to chapters of humorous misadventures.

About Jane

4 reviews for On the Fiddle – Jane Lockyer Willis

  1. AnneS

    ‘I enjoyed your new book, ‘On the Fiddle’ very much.
    It was a really pleasant read with some lovely scenes. I particularly
    enjoyed the episode with the conjurer in the village hall.
    Nice to have an epilogue rounding it all up. I think there
    is room for a sequel. (Langers.)

  2. AnneS

    ‘I enjoyed ”On The Fiddle,’ the story of two small- time crooks, Melanie and Henrietta, in the village of Mallowmarsh. The author’s insightful descriptions of their misadventures is also vivid and humorous. Bertie’s magic show in the village hall was great fun, then the appearance of a surprise guest at a party, and a holiday visit to a farm, that changes Mel and Henri’s future lives.’ (by email, name not provided)

  3. AnneS

    A delightful novel that leads you into the lives of two petty criminals who justify and practically normalise the theft of property. There is nothing sinister about these characters, just a playful thrill of the steal. Their journey to steal the pearls revealed several unexpected discoveries but in the end justice was served. You are taken back into Mel and Henri’s past to understand how they became who they are now, and it is the past that finally takes them into different directions.
    I began to care about the characters and I wanted to know what happens next to them, which is a sign of an enjoyable few hours of escapism, which is what we need these days’.
    Angela Dimitriadis

  4. AnneS

    Melanie and her partner Henrietta are two seemingly respectable ladies who live in the sleepy village of Mallowmarsh in the Cotswolds. Melanie experienced a difficult upbringing which has left its mark and she is not averse to a bit of petty crime, though with limited success, due to a lack of planning and poor execution.

    She persuades Henrietta that they should steal a valuable double row of pearls belonging to the late, wealthy Claribel Louise. Unfortunately for them, they are not the only characters with dishonest ambitions, and their various schemes are frustrated in the most humorous escapades.

    Several of Jane’s earlier collection of short stories, Tea at the Opalaco, take place in a rural setting, possibly post-war. She returns to this theme in On The Fiddle. Jane captures the charm of village life and its cast of slightly eccentric characters very well.

    She skilfully introduces each character and we feel that we know them well, care for their wellbeing, understand their flaws and the dynamics of their relationships. In this case the two main characters are an affectionate but somewhat ill suited couple. They involve other disreputable and untrustworthy characters in their scheme which appears unlikely to succeed and in fact repeatedly ends in hilarious and embarrassing failure.

    I found Jane’s novel to be thoroughly entertaining, amusing and affectionate. Each chapter was a short story in itself, the plot moved at a pace, was unpredictable and beautifully constructed. I particularly enjoyed the scenes involving the magic show and the main characters’ encounter with a herd of lively pigs. The story held my interest throughout, the ending was unexpected and Jane tied up the loose ends in a very satisfying manner.

    Author, Jane Lockyer Willis
    Jane has written a number of one act plays, three full length plays, non-fiction a self-help book, a novel, Guys and Ghosts and a book of short stories, Tea at the Opalaco and other Stories. The Visit was commended for the 2011 John Walter Salver competition.

    Home is where the Heart is won first prize for the 2012 Irene Swarbrick Salver competition. Also Jane was awarded second prize for the 2015 John Walter Salver competition for her story The Undelivered. Several of her short stories have been broadcast on radio in San Francisco.

    Review by Simon Fine for SixtyPlusSurfers – July 2021

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