Related to: 'A Countryman's Lot'


The Luck Of A Countryman

Max Hardcastle

This Country Business

Max Hardcastle

Max and Vicky Hardcastle, newcomers to the beautiful Yorkshire village of Ramsthwaite, are finallly settled into their tumble-down old farm. But their new rural life doesn't always go to plan, for whether Max is plotting to get the better of rival antiques dealers or battling Elspeth the obstinate goat or restoring the burnished nether-regions of a Greek statue, every day seems to bring new excitement and intrigue. Meanwhile fellow villager Canary Mary finds romance, Long John gets a scorching surprise and local poacher Rabbit Joe devises a wily scheme to make a few bob on the races. And somehow Max ends up right in the middle of every incident!

Max Hardcastle

Max Hardcastle was born in the old West Riding of Yorkshire, just before the outbreak of the Second World War. He started collecting antiques at an early age, hoarding his treasures ? including a five-foot stuffed crocodile ? in a disused hen house, known ever after as the 'junk hut'. After National Service and a brief period working for an engineering company, Max and his family heard the call of the Yorkshire Dales, where they bought a cottage, hung out their sign ? Bullpen Antiques ? and made a happy living for many years. Max and his family now live in Leyburn, North Yorkshire, with two dogs, two ponies and an ever-fluctuating population of hens, ducks and pigeons. His only regret is that he no longer has contents of his treasured 'junk hut'.

The start of a magnificent new trilogy

An Extract from The Summer Queen

Overflowing with scandal, sex, triumph and tragedy. Read the first chapter of The Summer Queen, the gripping new novel from New York Times Bestseller, Elizabeth Chadwick.


Now Then Lad...

Mike Pannett
by Amanda Carlson

Full Blooded

Read the first chapter of Full Blooded by Amanda Carlson, the start of an exceptionally fast-paced and irresistibly sexy new urban fantasy trilogy!

C & R Crime

The Lovejoy Omnibus (Books 1-4)

Jonathan Gash

Mammoth Books presents Demonic Dreams

Christopher Fowler, Norman Partridge, Robert Shearman

Mr Key's Shorter Potted Brief, Brief Lives

Frank Key

Wesley, Samuel (British clergyman and poet, 1662 - 1735). On Christmas Day 1716, Wesley was haunted by an apparition of a badger with no head. It was called Jeffrey. Frank writes: "It occurred to me that it would be a good idea to write a modern, updated version of John Aubrey's Brief Lives. But it further occurred to me that some books are unimproveable, and that in trying to follow in Aubrey's footsteps I would embarrass myself and become the butt of ridicule. The idea continued to nag at me, however, and eventually I decided the solution was to outdo Aubrey in brevity. My own Brief Lives would consist of a single, unadorned fact about each of my subjects. So the reader may not learn very much about the life of X or Y or Z, but they would be armed with one little nugget which might come in handy to chuck into a lull during the conversation at the kind of swish sophisticated cocktail party to which they no doubt get invited." Other entries include: Gibson, Willie (Irish, 2nd Baron Ashbourne, 1868 - 1942). An enthusiastic Gaelic nationalist, Gibson was rumoured to keep a tortoise in his sporran. Harmsworth, Alfred, Lord Northcliffe (British newspaper magnate, 1865 - 1922). One day at a seaside resort, Northcliffe wantonly struck down a seagull with his stick and beat it to death on the sand. Jansson, Tove (Finnish writer and illustrator, 1914 - 2001). When staying at her Finnish island retreat, it was Tove Jansson's practice to get out of bed at four o' clock in the morning and stand stock still, pretending to be a tree, while a squirrel ran up and down her frozen limbs. Lennon, John (British musician, 1940 - 1980). According to Bernard Levin (q.v.), "there is nothing wrong with John Lennon that could not be cured by standing him upside down and shaking him gently until whatever is inside his head falls out". Stein, Gertrude (American writer, 1874 - 1946). Stein liked to write while looking at cows. She and Alice B Toklas would drive around until they found a suitable spot, then Stein would sit on a campstool armed with pad and pencil, while Toklas coaxed a cow into her line of vision. Nixon, Richard Milhous (American politician and Potus, 1913 - 1994) Nixon's favourite pastime was mashing potatoes. Schubert, Franz (Austrian composer, 1797 - 1828). Upon his deathbed, Schubert's final wish was that someone would bring him some books by James Fenimore Cooper. Tippett, Michael (British composer, 1905 - 1998). Tippett called the refrigerator in his kitchen "Bernard Levin". Anderson, John Henry (British magician, 1814 - 1874). The first magician to pull a rabbit out of a hat, Anderson also did a trick which he described as "a Grand Ambidexterological Illusion with 12 Handkerchiefs, into which will be introduced the Enchanted Loaf and Learned Bottle, the Animated Orange and the Invisible Pigeon". Brooke, Charles (British, Rajah of Sarawak, 1829 - 1917). An austere character, Brooke deemed jam "effeminate" and replaced his glass eye with one taken from a stuffed albatross. Callaghan, James (British politician and Prime Minister, 1912 - 2005). When Tom Driberg married Ena Binfield in 1951, Callaghan gave them as a wedding present four ashtrays, two of which were broken. Russell, Ken (British film director, 1927 - 2011). According to Glenda Jackson, the only direction Russell ever gave to his actors was to say "It needs to be a bit more . urrrgh", or "a bit less hmmm".

by Nora Roberts

The Witness: Chapter 1

Chapter One of Nora Roberts' thrilling romance, The Witness.

Right Way

Afternoon Tea

Sue Simkins

This book contains a fascinating collection of delicious recipes for every kind of tea you could imagine, whether it is simple tea and biscuits, traditional afternoon tea, or a more substantial high tea for the children. You'll also find lots of ideas for special occasion teas such as children's parties and christenings. It includes Sandwiches and savouries Cakes, buns and scones Pastries and biscuits There is also an overview of all the different kinds of tea available to drink plus lemonade recipes for summer tea in the garden.


Sugar-Free Baking

Sue Simkins
How To Books

How To Start and Run a Holiday Cottage Business (2nd Edition)

Gillean Sangster
How To Books

The Urban Hen

Paul Peacock
New Harbinger

Overcoming Compulsive Hoarding

Fugen Neziroglu

Although the much-satirised image of a house overflowing with National Geographics and infested with cats may make us chuckle, the reality of compulsive hoarding is no laughing matter. Three compulsive hoarding experts team up in this book to provide the first research-based cognitive behavioural treatment plan to help compulsive hoarders learn to recognise the problem, understand the treatment options, and learn gently techniques to free themselves of this life-threatening disorder.

How To Books

Chickens, Ducks and Bees

Paul Peacock

Chickens, ducks and bees are the most likely candidates for the first-time livestock owner - especially if you live in the town or have only a small amount of land. This book is full of sounds practical advice and looks at exactly what you need to get started: the equipment, housing, space and feed. It also covers the responsible care and management of the breeds most suitable for the smaller garden.


No Going Back

Martin Kirby

The Last Matchmaker

Willie Daly

One Girl And Her Dogs

Emma Gray

What happens when you swap 'I do' for pastures new? When twenty-three-year-old shepherdess Emma Gray breaks off her engagement, the chance to take over an isolated Northumberland farm seems just the fresh start she needs. But while the beautiful scenery certainly offers plenty of scope for contemplation, a night out with an eligible bachelor soon seems more remote than the farm itself. And once you add fugitive sheep and freak blizzards into the mix, Emma's dreams of a happy future at Fallowlees Farm quickly begin to fade. Throughout the long nights of lambing, the highs and lows of the local sheepdog trials and the day-to-day chores of maintaining a large, ramshackle farm, Emma's collies are her most loyal companions. With Bill, Fly, Roy and Alfie by her side, she'll never really be alone. Emma's remarkable first year at Fallowlees - the triumphs, the disasters, the heartbreak and the glimmer of romance on the horizon - is an inspiration for anyone who has ever dreamt of changing their life and starting all over again.

How To Books

A Family Guide To Keeping Chickens

Anne Perdeaux

Chickens are an ideal family pet, requiring less attention than a dog yet being entertaining, productive and educational. For the family and would-be smallholder, chickens are the obvious first step when venturing into keeping livestock. This practical, full colour book, is ideal for the complete beginner. Even someone who has never kept animals before should be able to follow the clear, detailed guidance that is given at every stage. It includes: Planning for your first chickens. Understanding chicken behaviour. Choosing housing for different sized gardens. Choosing the right chickens for the job. Exploring useful equipment such as poultry feeder and drinkers. What to feed your chickens on. Buying your chickens and introducing them to their new home. Routine care for your chickens. Outfoxing The Fox - and other predators. Eggs - and What to do With Them. Dealing with parasites and ailments. Keeping a cockerel. Broody hens and hatching eggs. When Chickens Die. Chickens and the Changing Seasons. With true-life portraits of chicken keepers, little known facts, and personal anecdotes this accessible book is an easy and enjoyable read, suitable for both adults and children.