Wednesday, May 11, 2022



On the road with Figgis Green, professional musician / amateur sleuth Jason Davey must track down the source of a series of escalating mishaps before he--and the band--are permanently canceled…

By Winona Kent

In Lost Time, the third book in Winona’s Jason Davey Mystery series, professional musician / amateur sleuth Jason Davey was rehearsing for Figgis Green’s 50th Anniversary Tour of England. Now they’re on the road in Ms. Kent’s fourth book in the series, Ticket To Ride.

But when a fortune-teller in Sheffield warns them of impending danger, the band is suddenly plagued by a series of seemingly-unrelated mishaps.

After Jason is attacked and nearly killed in Cambridge, and a fire alarm results in a very personal theft from Mandy’s hotel room, it becomes clear they’re being targeted by someone with a serious grudge.

And when Figgis Green plays a gig at a private estate in Tunbridge Wells, that person finally makes their deadly intentions known.

Jason must rely on his instincts, his Instagram “guardian angel,” and a wartime ghost who might possibly share his DNA, in order to survive.

Book Information

Release Date: March 26, 2022

Publisher:  Blue Devil Books

Soft Cover: 978-1777329433; 230 pages; $15.70; E-Book, $3.93





 had a sort-of day-of-routine that I followed on show days. I showered and shaved at the hotel, then I walked ‘round to the sound check at the theatre (or took a taxi, if we were staying more than twenty minutes away). Dinner followed the sound check, and then there was a period of waiting around to perform—which, for me, usually involved a ciggie or two out back with Tejo, a packet of M&M’s for that all-important additional sugar boost, a mug of coffee, some conversations on Instagram, and a personal tour of the venue.

I tried not to vary the routine too much. I wasn’t superstitious. Oh all right, maybe I was.

I’d taken it easy during the sound check. Playing the guitar wasn’t a problem. But singing was absolute torture, so I’d decided to preserve my voice and I’d got Bob to stand in for me while Tejo tested my mic levels.

An empty theatre before a show always gives me a sense of something privileged and exclusive. I used to feel the same way when I was at sea and wandering around the Sapphire at two in the morning, when all the passengers were asleep and the decks were deserted.

The Pantheon was gorgeous inside and its predominant colour—like the colour in a lot of those old nineteenth century theatres—was red. Rich red upholstery on the seats, flocked red wallpaper, a decorative scarlet curtain with gold tassels and fringes.

I hiked up the stairs to the gods and stood on my own at the very top, gazing down the steep pitch to the stage, where all our instruments had been set up by Kato, our equipment manager. Kato was an interesting addition to the crew—a female in a role that had always been traditionally male. She had short blonde hair and large teeth and she was gregariously friendly when she wasn’t insulting me.

Old English music halls were designed by architects who weren’t all that worried about health and safety. Their main concern was the audience’s sight line, and because of that, the railings at the bottom front of the balcony were usually less than three feet high.

I was standing in Row A, acutely aware that all that was between me and a drop of about thirty feet into the stalls was that slim brass rail that didn’t even reach my waist. Suddenly, I had the creepiest feeling that I was being watched.

And along with that came a sudden and dramatic paralytic fear. I’m not afraid of heights, but Mitch is. And I remember him explaining to me that his wasn’t so much the fear of being so high up, as it was the fear of not being able to control himself if he was suddenly seized by an irrational desire to jump.

It was exactly that fear I was experiencing. I was terrified to move. Someone was behind me. I could feel their eyes burning into my back. And what overtook my imagination was my only means of escape—leaping over that railing.

It was, of course, utterly ridiculous. I shoved my phone into my jeans pocket and grabbed hold of the brass rail with both hands and gripped it, tight, focusing my attention on my Strat, propped up on its stand on the stage below.

I listened to my pounding heart and my breathing and the silence all around me. Whoever was behind me wasn’t making a sound. And then…it was over. They left. I didn’t hear them, didn’t see them…but I sensed it. They’d gone.

I let go of the railing and backed up the stairs, gripping the arms of the seats. At the top, when I felt safe, I turned around. And I saw them: two grotesques, fixed to the back wall, laughing at me.

At first glance you’d have thought they were cherubs, fashioned out of white marble, the sort of thing you’d find decorating a chapel. But no, these were not in the least cherubic. In fact they reminded me of those drama masks, Comedy and Tragedy. Which was probably what they were intended to portray.

But both of them had completely twisted faces and they frightened the life out of me.

Perhaps it was just my state of mind.

Perhaps it was just the Benylin.

But I had the creepiest feeling they weren’t the only ones who’d been in the balcony with me just then.




Our caterers were another luxury provided by my mother, who had less-than-enthusiastic recollections of tours, back in the day, fuelled by a never-ending menu of cold chicken sandwiches.

Roadworks wasn’t a big outfit, but the two ladies who ran it—Mary and Janice—were event veterans. And they’d stepped in at the last minute when our original firm, Up the Hill, had to pull out of the tour due to a family emergency.

Mary and Janice drove their own truck and fitted everything into flight cases, which they rolled on and off at each of our venues. They came complete with their own portable chairs and tables and tablecloths, disposable stuff—napkins, tin foil, plastic wrap, paper towels—and compostables—our meals were all served on fabulous bamboo plates with matching knives, forks and spoons which were completely recyclable.

They were dab hands at doing the local scout for fresh food and then getting everything set up and cooked in time to feed our little entourage—and whoever else we might have had dropping in as special guests.

They served dinner backstage after our sound check on show nights, using whatever empty space could accommodate us. They provided handwritten menus and cuisine lovingly prepared with fresh ingredients from local markets.

That night, we had a crab starter, goat cheese ravioli and a raw spinach salad with honey Dijon dressing. And to finish, raspberry and almond tarts and a little bowls of custard topped with Devon cream and blueberries.

“You all right?” Rolly asked, as I helped myself to the ravioli.

“I’ve been better,” I replied.

My experience in the theatre had rattled me. I suppose it showed.

“Cheer up,” Rolly said, adding an extra serving of ravioli to his plate. “We’ve got a sellout crowd tonight.”

“We’ve got a sellout crowd every night,” I said, opting for two bowls of spinach salad to make sure I was staving off tour scurvy.

It wasn’t until I was deciding between the raspberry and almond tart and the custard with Devon cream and blueberries, that my mother decided to tell me about the anonymous message someone had left on her phone that afternoon.

“On your mobile?” I said.

“On the phone in my hotel room,” she replied. “While I was out shopping.”

“What did they say?”

“They informed me that we were lucky not to have been killed by the gargoyle. Had a little rant about the state of the country. And told me to watch out.”

“Sorry?” I said. “You’ve received a threat?”

“I suppose you might call it that,” my mother replied, helping herself to the custard and blueberries. “It might just have been a nutter, blowing off steam. I haven’t deleted it. Come back to my room after the show and have a listen.”




I don’t really get nervous before a performance. I used to, but I’ve done it so often now, especially at the Blue Devil, that it’s second nature to me. What I do get is a little adrenaline kick just before I go on. And I don’t mind admitting that I love the attention, the applause, the feeling of connecting with an audience that I know has come specifically to see us. I love their affection. I love the feeling I get knowing that they want to hear us—me—play. I suppose they feed my sense of accomplishment and my ego. I wouldn’t go so far as to say I crave their validation. But I grew up in the spotlight. And because I had well-known musical parents, I was always going to be put under the microscope and comparisons were always going to be made.

I gave up trying to compete with their legacy a long time ago.

The Figs weren’t—and never have been—a high-tech act. No lasers or Live and Let Die pyros, no huge screen up the rear with rolling cameras on tracks in the pit, no complex SFX and multi-level stages.

No multiple trucks filled with rigs and hundreds of rolling flight cases, either. We had a single van for all our equipment and it was driven by Kato, who also took care of moving our gear on and offstage and setting it all up.

Our stage was decorated simply, with a series of long curtains suspended from rods, and for lighting we used the permanent spots supplied by the venue, plus a couple of extras that we’d brought along to enhance the mood during some of our songs. We had wedgies in front of us and amps in the back and Tejo with his trusty mixing board to make us sound excellent.

I’d like to say that night’s show went well and without incident. But that wouldn’t be true.

Our gigs usually ran to about two and a half hours. Eight tunes in the first set list, a thirty minute interval, then another nine tunes and the two encores. Figgis Green’s songs have never been long, drawn-out affairs. Quick and to the point for maximum radio play, relaxed a little for live shows. And we were sticking to the familiar versions of nearly everything.

We’d come back from our break and had played through the first three songs, “Viaggio Italiano” (which was a jaunty tale based on a nightmare vacation my dad’s sister had taken with her husband in the 1970s, with rollicking riffs from the first movement of Mendelssohn’s Italian Symphony thrown in for good measure); “Jay-Jay,” which was a lazy, slow shuffle jazz piece that my dad had composed about me (and which was, secretly, my favourite tune in the show); and “Four Strong Winds,” the Ian and Sylvia classic where I sang the lead vocal and mum joined me on the chorus.

Mum has always loved the loneliness and futility in the lyrics describing the end of a love affair—and though she’s never been to Alberta, she believes wholeheartedly in Ian Tyson’s claim that the weather’s good there in the fall. (I have been to Northern Alberta and I can tell you, reliably and without any word of a lie, that it’s very fucking cold in the middle of February, never mind the fall.)

We’d finished “Four Strong Winds” and I was beginning to swelter under the lights. I think I may have had Helix Aspersa Muller dripping off my face and onto my guitar. I really hoped Janice and Mary weren’t planning on serving escargot anytime soon. I hated to think I might be chowing down on one of my humanely-farmed certified organic facial product’s cousins.

We started “The Fog’s Lament,” which my parents had always claimed was an old English folk song, but in fact they’d made the whole thing up, cleverly creating lyrics that sounded like something a fair damsel stuck in a medieval turret would have dreamed about as she waited to be rescued by a lusty knight.

And, as I waited for a break in my fingering so I could wipe the sweat out of my eyes, there was a commotion down in the front row.

Our audiences were fond of getting up to dance during our more energetic songs, and “The Fog’s Lament” was very definitely one of those.

You can’t really make out a lot from the stage when the spots are on—they essentially blind you. You can see the general shapes of people but you can’t really single out their faces. But we all saw someone keeling over and not moving.

We stopped the show and waited while the person was brought ‘round and then helped up and taken out to the foyer by a couple of guys from Security. It looked like a woman, and, while she was able to walk, she was very unsteady on her feet.

After the show, in the foyer, we signed things and chatted and glad-handed and posed for pictures, but nobody had any news about the woman, whether she’d been able to leave on her own or had been taken to the hospital.

Afterwards, still buzzing and not nearly tired enough to sleep, we all walked back to the hotel and gathered in my mother’s room to listen to her message.

“Well, hello, Mandy.”

The voice was female.

“About that gargoyle. Weren’t you the lucky ones, eh? You could have been killed. Or Jason.”

She wasn’t wrong.

“Accident waiting to happen, if you ask me. Shoddy workmanship. Bloody foreigners coming over here, taking all our jobs, lowering the standards.”

There was a pause.

“Or maybe it was deliberate. There’s a thought, eh? The perfect murder. You never know, do you? You’d best watch out.”


I studied the phone. It had a little screen in it and lots of buttons you could press to see a record of who rang you and who left messages. The sort of phone that often confounded my mother, who grew up and lived a good portion of her life in an era when you just lifted the receiver when you heard the double-ring and you said hello and that was that.

I pressed the buttons and read the information. Mum had only received the one call. In fact, that was the only call she’d got all day—because anyone who knew my mother personally knew the best way to reach her was on her mobile.

The little screen on the phone didn’t reveal the number of the caller and it didn’t provide a name.

In the old days, hotels had switchboards and operators. These days it’s all conference bridging and VOIP, virtual receptionists and in-room checkout.

“Don’t you think we should report this to the police?” Beth asked, doubtfully.

“Not worth their time,” mum replied. “I’m not even sure it’s a crime. A crank call, yes. But it’s not really a threat, is it?”

“It’s an implied threat,” I said.

“It’s not,” mum said. “I think we can safely delete the message and say goodnight.”

I stopped her from erasing it until I’d played it again and recorded it on my phone.

Just in case.



Winona Kent
is an award-winning author who was born in London, England and grew up in Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada, where she completed her BA in English at the University of Regina. After moving to Vancouver, she graduated from UBC with an MFA in Creative Writing. More recently, she received her diploma in Writing for Screen and TV from Vancouver Film School.

Winona's writing breakthrough came many years ago when she won First Prize in the Flare Magazine Fiction Contest with her short story about an all-night radio newsman, Tower of Power.

Her spy novel Skywatcher was a finalist in the Seal Books First Novel Competition and was published in 1989. This was followed by a sequel, The Cilla Rose Affair, and her first mystery, Cold Play, set aboard a cruise ship in Alaska.

After three time-travel romances (Persistence of Memory, In Loving Memory and Marianne's Memory), Winona returned to mysteries with Disturbing the Peace, a novella, in 2017 and the novel Notes on a Missing G-String in 2019, both featuring the character she first introduced in Cold Play, professional jazz musician / amateur sleuth Jason Davey.

The third book in Winona's Jason Davey Mystery series, Lost Time, was published in 2020.

Ticket to Ride is the fourth book in Winona’s Jason Davey Mysteries.

Winona has been a temporary secretary, a travel agent, a screenwriter and the Managing Editor of a literary magazine. She’s currently the BC/YK/NWT rep for the Crime Writers of Canada and is also an active member of Sisters n Crime – Canada West. She recently retired from her full-time admin job at UBC’s School of Population and Public Health, and is now happily embracing life as a full-time author.

You can visit her website at and connect with her on Twitter, Facebook and Goodreads.



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