Tour: A LONG SHADOW by Caroline Kington

A Long ShadowA Long Shadow
When farmer Dan Maddicott is found shot dead in one of his fields, he leaves behind a young family and a farm deep in debt. Although the coroner records accidental death, village rumours suggest he has taken his own life so that the insurance payout can save his family from ruin.


Dan’s wife, Kate, refuses to believe the gossip and is determined to prove to herself, and her children, that his death was an accident. But could it have been murder? Kate discovers a set of old diaries containing secrets that may reveal how Dan really died.
Set against the backdrop of the farming crisis of the turn of the millennium, Caroline Kington’s absorbing family drama also tells the secret history of another resident of the farm, decades before, whose tragic tale will come to have major repercussions in the present day.

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*Author Bio
Caroline Kington spent most of her working life in theatre and television, as a director, producer and founder of the fringe theatre company Antidote Theatre.

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Since the death of her husband Miles Kington, the columnist and broadcaster, she has posthumously published three of his books: a humorous memoir of his illness, called How Shall I Tell the Dog?; a collection of his columns and other writings, The Best By Miles; and a collection of his celebrated ‘Franglais’ columns that had not appeared in book form before, Le Bumper Book of Franglais.

In her own right, she is the author of the Summerstoke trilogy of rural comedies. She insists that no character in the series is based on anybody from the small village near Bath where she has lived for many years. Nobody believes her.

Her novel A Long Shadow had its origins in a feature she made for Channel 4 News at the turn of this century about the pressures on farmers as a result of BSE and foot-and-mouth disease.

Social Media Links –
Twitter: @carolinekington


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A Long Shadow is a multi-layered saga, set against the backdrop of the countryside.
Watersmeet, a prosperous West Country farm, belongs to the Maddicott family. At the wedding of his cousin, Mary, in 1990, Dan Maddicott meets Kate. They marry and have two children, but their happiness and prosperity are compromised by the struggles of those close to them and then by the arrival of BSE and foot-and-mouth disease.

Then Dan is found dead. Was it suicide? All the circumstances point to that conclusion. Kate faces two seemingly impossible tasks: how to prove it was an accident and how, when faced with many obstacles and prejudices, to take control of the farm herself.

A series of potentially fatal incidents occur, which appear to target Kate. But why?
This haunting story spans a period of fifty years with many inter-weaving threads and different characters providing the narrative.

DAN 1990

It was a cousin, Max’s younger sister Mary, who was getting married on this day. Their father worked in the diplomatic service and so the brother and sister had been frequent visitors to the farm. From their early years they had hunted hens, dammed streams, leaped among the hay bales in the barn, spied on the farmhands, and with their hearts in their mouths, had sneaked into the yard of Woodside Farm to look with fascination at old Jem Leach’s collection of caged birds.

The Leaches had been tenants of the Maddicotts for as long as the Maddicotts had owned Watersmeet. There was little love lost between them. If the children were caught, they could expect a vicious clip round the ear followed by an angry telephone call and a ticking-off from whichever exasperated parent had been forced to collect them.

The last excursion they had ever made to Woodside was vividly imprinted on Dan’s memory. And as he watched the little bride smiling up at her new husband, Dan’s thoughts wandered back to that time when he, Max and Mary, she was about ten, had slipped into the empty yard of Woodside and crept into the gloom of the big barn where old Jem kept the large cage…


A barn owl, a buzzard, two kestrels and a falcon, all fastened by short trusses to individual perches, stared at them with angry eyes.
‘They shouldn’t be in here,’ Mary whispered. ‘It’s cruel. I can’t bear it. We must do something!’

Max was all for instant action. ‘Let’s set them free. He’s a bastard, keeping birds shut up like this. Dan, your clasp should break this lock… now… while the coast’s clear. Imagine old Jem’s face when he discovers his birds have flown!’

Dan hesitated. As he did so there was a roar of anger from the barn door.

‘What yer think yer doin’. Getaway from they birds. Little varmin. Jest wait till Oi gets thee…’ And he rushed forward. They were too quick for him.

Scattering to the left and right of the old man, they made for the door and the freedom of the yard. Out in the sunlight they pelted across its uneven, dried-mud surface, to the open gate and the safety of the woods beyond. Dan made the trees first, Max hard on his heels.

There was a cry and spinning round, Dan saw Mary stumble and trip. She had barely got to her feet when Jem, with a shout of triumph, grabbed hold of her. Max pulled Dan down into the undergrowth and dismayed, they watched Jem march a weeping Mary across the yard back into the barn.

Moments later he appeared without her and, with a triumphant lifted of his head in the direction of the woods, shouted ‘Oi’ve got thee now my little varmin. Oi’ve got yer sister under lock and key. Give thyselves up and Oi’ll let her go. No show an’ her stays there. All noight if necessary. Geddit?’

The boys got it all right.


One Comment Add yours

  1. Thanks @KimberLiAuthor, i appreciate this!@carolinekington


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