To any authors/publishers/ tour companies that are looking for the reviews that I signed up for please know this is very hard to do. I will be stopping reviews temporarily. My husband passed away February 1st and my new normal is a bit scary right now and I am unable to concentrate on a book to do justice to the book and authors. I will still do spotlight posts if you wish it is just the reviews at this time. I apologize for this, but it isn't fair to you if I signed up to do a review and haven't been able to because I can't concentrate on any books. Thank you for your understanding during this difficult time. I appreciate all of you. Kathleen Kelly April 2nd 2024

10 February 2024

A Deadly Portrayal by LM Milford Blog Tour!


When local crime reporter Emma Fletcher is asked to help identify her friend's blackmailer, she discovers a link to the recent death of a teacher at Allensbury Dance and Drama School.

Meanwhile, a police investigation is uncovering some dark secrets, and it is clear that someone is seeking revenge for past wrongs.

As Emma's list of suspects continues to grow, the discovery of a second body puts her in the killer's sights.

Warned off the investigation by the police for her own safety, Emma decides the best way to save herself is to find the culprit first.

With the help of fellow news reporter Dan Sullivan, Emma must work out who is targeting Allensbury Dance and Drama School before the killer strikes again.

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A Deadly Portrayal

This extract comes from chapter six of the book. Up to this point, the body of drama teacher Travers McGovern has been found in his office at Allensbury Dance and Drama School. We’ve also seen Natasha messing up a rehearsal, distracted by personal issues – discovered in the opening of the book – with Travers taking an interest in her.

Chapter 6

Students were streaming out of the doors of the school as Emma arrived. As she headed towards the entrance, she felt like a salmon desperately trying to swim upstream. She was almost knocked off her feet by a burly male student carrying a sports bag. He gripped her arm to prevent her falling, apologising, leaving Emma just enough time to detain him and ask if he knew what was happening.

‘One of the drama teachers is dead,’ he told her, shifting his bag to his other shoulder and bashing into a woman passing on his other side. ‘Someone found him on the floor in his office.’

‘Who is it?’ Emma asked.

‘Travers McGovern,’ came the answer. ‘The cleaner found him. She’s in a right state apparently and—’ But before he could say anymore, there was a surge in the crowd and he was buffeted away.

Emma scribbled the details in her notebook and looked around. Then she spotted a familiar tear-stained face, sitting on a bench to the side of the building entrance.

A woman in tracksuit bottoms and a denim jacket sat alone, apparently unaware of the people standing in groups around her, heads together in full-on gossip mode. A large canvas tote bag lay at her feet and her head drooped.

Emma approached. ‘Natasha?’ she asked. ‘What’s wrong?’ This was not the usual smiley, graceful woman who taught the adult ballet classes she was secretly taking.

The woman looked up, wiping the back of her hand across her face and smearing her eye make-up. She stared for a moment and then said, ‘Emma? What are you doing here?’

When Emma explained about the call to the office and mentioned the dead teacher, Natasha’s face crumpled and tears started sliding down her face. Standing there awkwardly, not really knowing what to do, Emma dug a hand into her shoulder bag for a small packet of tissues. But before she could hand them over, Natasha wiped a sleeve across her face.

‘Oh,’ she said, looking down at the sleeve as if surprised to find it covered in warm caramel-shaded make-up.

‘How about using these?’ Emma offered the packet.

Natasha gave a weak smile and took the tissues, pulling one out of the pack and offering it back. Emma shook her head to show that she could keep them.

‘My mum will kill me,’ Natasha said, holding up the sleeve. ‘She only just got the face paint out of it from the dance class I taught last weekend. The Tumble Tots can be a bit boisterous.’

Emma smiled. ‘You enjoy teaching?’ she asked.

Natasha nodded. ‘It’s such fun watching people develop. You’re one of my best,’ she said with a watery smile.

Emma blushed. ‘I don’t think so. I was there, remember? It’s the wine we drank at the summer party that’s fuddling your brain.’

Natasha smiled and then stared sadly down at the ground.

‘Was Travers McGovern a friend of yours?’ Emma asked, sitting down beside her on the bench.

The dancer opened her mouth to reply, but before she could, a voice called, ‘Natasha? Are you OK?’

Emma turned to see a short man with glasses and a round, balding head. He reminded her of a mole.

‘Oh, hi, Mr Dickens,’ Natasha said, wiping her eyes and face with another tissue.

‘Who are you?’ he demanded, looking Emma up and down suspiciously.

‘This is Emma; she’s a student in my adult improvers’ ballet class,’ Natasha said, gesturing to her unnecessarily.

Emma smiled, but the mole man continued to look at her as if she were in the way.

‘Natasha, I thought Sally-Ann told everyone to go home? Why are you still on campus? Do you need to speak to the police?’

Emma stayed silent, wondering if that was true.

Natasha shook her head and got to her feet. ‘No, I wasn’t on campus after five thirty, so they said they didn’t need me.’ She glanced at her watch. ‘I think I’ll just head home. I’m getting a bit of a headache,’ she said.

‘I think that’s for the best,’ the mole said, moving behind Natasha as if to shepherd her away.

Turning to Emma, Natasha said, ‘Call me and we’ll get a coffee or something. You’ve got my number from class, yeah?’

Emma nodded. ‘I’ll definitely call,’ she said.

Natasha turned and began walking away, but then she turned back and stared at Emma, as if trying to send a message without speaking. She disappeared through a side gate and up the street outside. Emma turned and found the mole staring at her. She stared back.

‘Who are you?’ he asked, hands on hips.

Emma introduced herself and then frowned. ‘Have we met before?’ she asked, feeling a bell ringing in the back of her brain.

But the man was backing away, muttering something about assignments to mark.

‘I’m here to find out more about what happened to Travers McGovern. Did you know him? Any chance of a comment?’

‘Very sad,’ Mr Dickens said, taking off his glasses and polishing the lenses on his jumper.

‘Did you know him well?’ she asked, pen poised against her notebook.

Mr Dickens opened his mouth to speak, seemed to think better of it and closed it again. Then he glanced at his watch.

‘Sorry, I’d better go and … There’ll be stuff I need to…’ Without finishing either sentence, he thanked Emma and went back into the school.

She frowned as he retreated. Mr Dickens looked really familiar, but she couldn’t put her finger on where she’d seen him before. Then she took a deep breath. Time for a word from the principal.

LM Milford is a crime fiction author who writes the Allensbury mysteries, covering the exploits of local newspaper reporter Dan Sullivan.

A former newspaper journalist, Lynne’s experience has influenced her work, although her stories were never as exciting as Dan’s.

Lynne was born and brought up in the north-east of England, but now lives in Kent with her husband and far too many books. She loves cooking, baking and holidays in Spain. She’s partial to a good red wine and plates of cheese.

Bluesky -

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