Penelope Cress tells us about Holy Homicide and Divine Death


Welcome to Penelope Cress, author of the Reverend Jessamy Ward Mystery Series! 

Penelope Cress lives on an island off the coast of Kent, England, with her four children and an elderly Jack Russell Terrier. A lover of murder mystery and cups of tea (served with a stack of digestive biscuits), she writes quaint cosy mysteries and other feel-good stories from a corner table in the vintage tea shop on the high street. Penelope loves nostalgia and all things retro. Her taste in music is also very last century.

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What would you say are your strengths as an author?

When I was younger, I trained to be an actress. I learnt about various methods for getting into a role and I think that helps with my writing. Readers say that they love my characters, even the setting is a character. I see them in my mind like a movie. I spend most of my prep time on the characters - their quirks, their motivations. And then let them loose. They live their story. I just take notes.

How often do you write, and do you write using a strict routine?

I try to write every day. I find that when I leave it for a few days, those days become weeks and often months and then it becomes a terrifying prospect to return to. Once I start again, I wonder what the issue was as I love writing! I am part of a writers’ group than runs online sprints three times a day across all time zones and I aim to join at least one of them each day. Most days I manage two online sprints and edit etc. outside of those times. I am always trying to be more disciplined because when I am I get better results.

Five years from now, where do you see yourself as a writer?

In five years, I want to be able to give up the day job and be more mobile, earning enough from my books to travel and write as I go.

If you could offer once piece of advice to a novice writer, what would it be?

Get out of your own way! I spent years writing my first book. The whole Wesberrey series was heavily inspired by my mother. I wanted to publish it so, hopefully, I could start to earn enough money to reduce my day job hours and spend more time with her as she was not well. I wasted so much time. Even when I had the first book finished, I didn’t show her. I wanted it to be perfect. Sadly, she took very ill suddenly and died ten days later. I eventually published on what would have been her 80th birthday six months later. I didn’t earn enough money to give up the day job, but the worse bit is that my mother never got to see my work in print. As they say, time waits for no man. It will never be perfect – just do it!

What would you consider to be the best compliment a reader could give your book?

I didn’t want it to end.

What are you working on now?

I am increasing my workload as I am writing two books. The fifth book in the Wesberrey series, Consecrated Crime is underway, and I have outlined a second series and have begun to plot the first book. I am also working on a short story for an upcoming anthology.



Despite her cat allergy and her mother’s warnings of doom and disaster, Reverend Jessamy Ward is excited to return to the Isle of Wesberrey to take up her promotion as parish priest of St. Bridget’s Abbey.

Tourists know Wesberrey is famous for three things: there are no cars, there are lots of cats, and there is a legendary fertility well. Shortly after Jess’s arrival, it will be famous for something else - murder!

Can Jess root out the killer or will the unearthing of her own family’s mystical pagan history threaten to destroy her new life?

Holy Homicide is the first book in the exciting new Reverend Jessamy Ward Mystery Series by Penelope Cress.

Escape to a new mystery. Buy Holy Homicide to explore the often quirky and sometimes seedy secrets on the Isle of Wesberrey today!



Things appear to be settling down in the island parish of St. Bridget's, and Rev Jess Ward is enjoying the relative peace in the lead up to Pentecost. So, maybe it's unwise to invite in the local archaeological society to dig up the old well?

What will the dig beneath the floor of the baptismal font uncover?

Spring is a time of fresh starts and new beginnings. Is that romance we smell in the air?

Life is skipping along until a sudden death takes the spring out of Jess’s step.

Old rivalries, deception and ambition are all viable motives for violence, but could it be a crime of passion, or even self-defence?

In a mystery that appears to involve some of her closest family and friends, Jess turns to her ancient past to help solve this latest tragedy.

Divine Death is the fourth book in the Isle of Wesberrey Series.

Find out more about the island's history as the latest mystery unfolds. Buy Divine Death now!


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