Melanie finds herself single again after years of being one half of a couple. Her friends predict loneliness, frustration, disaster. Her parents are convinced she's a failure in life. But Melanie is overwhelmingly excited to be able to do her own thing - she plans a programme of behaving badly, after a lifetime of behaving properly. With her daughter off to university and ex-husband Roger married off at last - to his lamentably young girlfriend whom he accidentally got pregnant at the office party - she has what a teenager would call a Free House, and she intends to make the most of it.

I had a lot of fun with this one. It's the first time I've created a character who is a fellow novelist: Melanie writes detective fiction of a particularly gory kind and there were times when I almost frightened myself when writing about her work. I learned a lot about tropical plants too - my own garden was having a major makeover at the time so I let Melanie have one as well and gave her a similar selection of palms and succulents. Whether I also gave her the tasty gardener, generous soul that I can be, you'll have to read it to find out.