Annabelle Uncovered!

 

The life of Reverend Annabelle Dixon, in her home village of Upton St. Mary and further afield, has been reflected in the series book covers since inception, but it wasn't until 2023 that I had an exciting opportunity to explore these locations in more detail. Illustrator Ian Durneen, himself based in Cornwall (Annabelle's home county), really brought her adventures to life with this fantastic new look.

Read on to find out a little more about the journey of each cover.

Death at the CafΓ© is set in London and, if you look carefully on the second pink cover (part of a redesign in 2018), you can see the city skyline in the background with multi-storey buildings representing London townhouses in the mid-ground. In the foreground is a cafΓ© table and chairs with umbrella.

The latest blue cover takes this even further and explores London in all its glory; Tower Bridge, Big Ben, The Houses of Parliament, the River Thames, the iconic red London bus, and even the ubiquitous pigeon can be found on this fab cover.

Click on the cover to zoom in and see the details.

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…to this!

Death at the Cafe by Alison Golden

The cover for Murder at the Mansion was the first cover I ever worked on and it was in a different format to the others. In 2018 worked with my original designer to bring it in line with the other covers by adding a row of cottages that represent Upton St. Mary in the background along with a church image for St. Mary's church. A bench, the like of which Annabelle has in the church cemetery, is in the foreground and, of course, Biscuit the cat and a cake.

In the third iteration, with Ian, we developed a new scene for Upton St. Mary, focusing more on key landmarks in the story; Annabelle's church and cottage, the mansion within which who dunnit did it, rolling green fields, and Annabelle's first love… her blue Mini Cooper! Biscuit still adorns the cover, this time making an appearance on the title text, a position she covets (but doesn't always win!) for the rest of the series.

Click on the cover to zoom in and see the details.

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Murder at the Mansion by Alison Golden

As Body in the Woods is also set in Upton St. Mary, the pink covers used the same background as Murder at the Mansion but added a table set with tea to reflect the fact that Annabelle does much of her sleuthing from Flynn's Tearoom in this book.

For the latest cover, Ian's imagination conjured up another amazing scene from Upton St. Mary, where we can see Annabelle's church and cottage, the village allotments, and an oft-frequented pub, the Dog and Duck! The pigs are a personal favourite πŸ™‚

Click on the cover twice to zoom in and see the details.

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Body in the Woods by Alison Golden

Grave in the Garage continues Annabelle's adventures in Upton St. Mary. The car on the pink cover represents Annabelle's beloved blue Mini and the fact that, in Grave in the Garage, the mystery is centred around nefarious goings on related to cars.

In our latest cover, we developed the village further, with a garage and tow truck present alongside the revered church, a tea shop, a pub, and a few other pertinent locations from the story. Rolling green hills and white fluffy clouds are added to ensure we all know where the village is – the beautiful countryside of Cornwall.

Click on the cover to zoom in and see the details.

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Grave in the Garage by Alison Golden

I love the background on this cover. Vikki, my pink cover designer, did a great job building a set of hills, valley's and moor to represent the Scottish island upon which Horror in the Highlands is set. The boat adds foreground interest and, of course, relates to the fishing boat in the book.

Ian, on the other hand, went for an actual island!! I LOVE this so much, all the little details leaving me with a big smile. Horror in the Highlands features a new location where the story plays out, which Ian introduces the reader to with his beautiful cover art. Pay close attention to the fish and ferry in the foreground, the castle and kirk. Notice there is no Biscuit on this cover?! Biscuit had to stay in Upton St. Mary with Philippa, so Ian chose the next best thing… a highland goat!

Click on the cover to zoom in and see the details.

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Horror in the Highlands by Alison Golden

Killer at the Cult sees Annabelle return, briefly, to Upton St. Mary for another classic mystery. Battling unseen forces, Annabelle brushes shoulders with new characters and even partakes in a ritual ceremony! On the pink cover, a bonfire is seen front and foremost along with a pony that is at the centre of the sub-plot.

For the newest cover, Ian also uses the bonfire but brings in other locations from the story; Annabelle's church and cottage, a mysterious, run-down stately home surrounded by woods, and the now-familiar animals. And Biscuit's back to her usual spot πŸ™‚

Click on the cover to zoom in and see the details.

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Killer at the Cult by Alison Golden

Choosing the background for this cover was easy, whether pink or blue. It needed to be obviously French. Vikki and I chose elaborate French-style architecture for the pink cover and added the Eiffel Tower to make it even more clear. To make the flowers stand out against the red/pink background we changed them to blue. It was lovely writing Fireworks in France and fun to mix up the location depicted on the cover once more.

After reading the story, Ian decided to illustrate the small village of Ville d’Eauloise nestled amongst the lush green fields of northern France. Sheep, cows, and the odd chicken liven up the scene, and the fireworks add a magnificent accent to an already stunning scene. Eiffel tower? Check. Locations from the book? Check. French cat with beret? Check!

Click on the cover to zoom in and see the details.

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Fireworks in France by Alison Golden

For the final cover in the series, Vikki used the recognisable backdrop of Upton St. Mary and placed Annabelle and her niece in the foreground alongside a gypsy-style wagon. I really like the bright red and yellow of that wagon!

Ian used this as inspiration for his new cover, placing the red wagon in the centre of a green field, surrounded more conventional modern caravans, the instantly recognisable Cornish landscape, and Annabelle's church in the distance. Some wedding bells and ribbon alludes to a wedding, and two horses display proudly. Hi there, Biscuit, don’t worry, you can come to the wedding, too .

Click on the cover to zoom in and see the details.

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Book cover of Witches at the Wedding by Alison Golden

…to this!

Witches at the Wedding by Alison Golden

“These are wonderful stories.”

Death at the Cafe by Alison Golden
Murder at the Mansion by Alison Golden
Body in the Woods by Alison Golden
Grave in the Garage by Alison Golden
Horror in the Highlands by Alison Golden
Killer at the Cult by Alison Golden
Fireworks in France by Alison Golden
Witches at the Wedding by Alison Golden
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