Stage Call: 'Maybe another drink would loosen her tongue?'

Welcome to author Anne Coates who has dropped by the Tequila Mockingbird to give us the lowdown on the characters from her new Hannah Weybridge series Stage Call.

While we're waiting for your guests to arrive, Anne, can you tell us a little about your book?

At the Old Vic, one of London’s most iconic theatres, the stage is set for one of our national treasures to tread the boards in a new, sell-out play. Joan Ballantyne, now in her sixties, has attracted a new fan base with her role in an award-winning soap, Chicory Road, and they’ve turned out in force. As the curtain rises, it reveals the strangely still body of the leading lady, slumped in an armchair. The show will not go on… Still recovering from the attempt on her life, Hannah Weybridge is stunned. She had been collaborating with the actress on her memoir. Now she has to contribute to her obituary. Suicide is suspected, but Hannah, from the little she knows of the woman, is sceptical. As is Joan’s son, the famous TV actor, Leo Hawkins, who implores Hannah to investigate the circumstances of his mother’s mysterious death. Hannah is drawn into the lives of those who knew Joan. But who can she trust in a world where everyone seems to be playing a part?

Who will you be inviting for a cocktail, and why?

It would be fun to meet up with DI Claudia Turner. She’s rather a mystery although she and my protagonist, Hannah Weybridge, have become friends of sorts. Claudia plays her cards really close to her chest, never mentioning her personal life and whether there is a Mr or Ms Turner. All that Hannah knows about her past is that without DI Tom Jordan’s help when they were at Hendon together, she wouldn’t be an officer now.

What will they be wearing?

Claudia is always immaculately dressed – she makes Hannah feel rather dowdy. At work she keeps a spare shirt in her bag and is ready for any eventuality. She’ll turn up in an understated cocktail dress that flatters her slim figure.

What will they order off the cocktail menu?

Well, her wine of choice is Chablis so from the cocktail menu she’ll go for something very dry and gin based.

How will they react if the waiter spills their cocktail over them?

Claudia is cool – she wouldn’t make a fuss but she will have marked that waiter’s card. She might also be wondering if he has some info she should know so might expect him to say something while supplying her with napkins to dry her dress.

What can they tell you that will make you stay for a second drink?

Hannah has an on/off relationship with DI Tom Jordan. Claudia knows more about Tom’s background and the death of his wife and best friend but so far she has revealed nothing. Maybe another drink would loosen her tongue?

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