Come on in. I don't bite…


The Last Call (adapted from Vivika Widow’s Maestro)

Something had to be done. After her sister – in – law, Alice, died, Elizabeth had stepped in to help her brother take care of the two children left behind. The eldest, Catherine, was no longer a problem. She had been sent to boarding school in the city. George, a boy of seven, was proving to be more than she could handle. Elizabeth wasn’t long home from the hospital after losing her leg in the alleged accident and should have been resting.

She had no children of her own so she wasn’t prepared for the emotional strain. Alice always complained about how difficult motherhood was and how her children were uncontrollable at times – especially George. She even said there were times she hated the blonde haired, blue eyed child she had bore. Elizabeth didn’t believe her. Whenever she saw her nephew at holidays or on short visits throughout the year he seemed a normal boy to her. He was a little spoiled perhaps but that was to be expected from his privileged upbringing.

When Elizabeth moved in she quickly realised there was a distinct difference between seeing the children on holidays and providing full time care for them. She begged Ernest to take his son in hand more but her brother showed no interest in the boy. He was consumed almost completely with the running of the investment firm that their father left to him.

One afternoon at the club she overheard her neighbour, Mrs Peterson, discuss a local music tutor. They spoke amongst themselves with barely a smile to offer Elizabeth. She didn’t blame them – not after what George had done to Oliver, one of Mrs Peterson’s twin boys. The news of the music tutor was helpful to her though. Piano concertos were all that seemed to calm George down some days.

‘Perhaps music lessons would give him something more positive to focus on,’ she reasoned.

Hesitantly Mrs Peterson gave Elizabeth the number where the tutor could be reached. He had been teaching her twins for some time now and she vouched that they were making remarkable progress on piano and cello.

He may refuse to teach George,” Mrs Peterson warned with a slight sneer crinkling the bridge of her long nose. Elizabeth ignored her and noted the number in the small silver notebook she always carried with her. “Don’t tell him it was my recommendation,” the neighbour added. The sneer became more prominent. Elizabeth’s first instinct was to protect her nephew but having been the one to find Oliver Peterson covered in so much blood it was difficult to argue George’s innocence.

Later that afternoon she tried the tutors number.

Good afternoon. Vincent Baines speaking. Can I help you?” asked a polite voice.

Good afternoon, Mr Baines. I was just wondering if you were accepting any new students?”

The voice on the other end drew away for a few moments. “I have room for one or two more,” he replied.

He’s seven years old and he has a fondness for piano,” explained Elizabeth.

Yes…” Vincent said as though writing something down.

We were hoping for perhaps two hours a week. We have our own piano at home.”

That’s fine. I can stop by Wednesday around five.”

Elizabeth bit her lip. She couldn’t understand why the thought of the tutor refusing her nephew made her so nervous. Perhaps because she felt Vincent was her last hope.

Actually, would you be able to come tomorrow at eight? Before school? It’s not for a lesson, it would be just to meet him. He doesn’t do well with strangers and he will find it easier if he meets you first,” she hoped she sounded more confident than she felt.

Of course,” said Vincent. “I look forward to seeing you then.”

Vincent’s voice had a delicate balance of warmth and formality that was well practiced. Elizabeth gave the address of the Beckingridge Manor and rang off.

She didn’t know what she would tell George about his new lessons or how he would take the news. He would just have to accept it. She was the adult and was doing something proactive. She couldn’t have another death in the house or another police investigation.

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Vivika Widow’s MAESTRO available now!

When Vincent Baines is given the job of teaching music to little George Beckingridge he expects a typical commission from a privileged, wealthy family. George’s outbursts become more and more violent. His father is always absent, his aunt is afraid of him and his sister has been sent away to boarding school. Vincent is the only one who can get to the bottom of what is causing the child’s manifesting distress and unearth what wicked things the boy has seen.


Available in paperback and to download. Click HERE to read the full story.

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Meet the Maestro players…

Meet some of the principal players from Vivika Widow’s hit novella MAESTRO.

They say behind mansion walls is where you will find the most skeletons. That was true for music teacher, Vincent Baines, when he accepted the job tutoring little George Beckingridge. When a music teacher with a sketchy past meets a disturbed little boy there will surely be blood.


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The Mind Map of a Maniac Maestro

The mind of an author can be strange place, escpecially when building a story from the mind of a crazed killer.

Here’s a little look at the early thinking behind thriller Maestro!

maestro planning promo

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Instrument of choice; Adapted from Vivika Widow’s Maestro

“Mr Baines! Mr Baines!” the little boy came running to the door to greet him. “I’ve been practising.”

“That’s good,” said Vincent as he crossed over the threshold and into the warm mansion home of the Peterson family.

“I’m getting much better,” added the little boy with pride.

Vincent sat his violin case down. “Glad to hear it.”

He doubted it. Oliver Peterson had been struggling with the same piano piece since lessons began four months before. He was a cute kid but he lacked the musical ability his mother had expected of him. He couldn’t fault his enthusiasm though. Oliver’s twin brother, Osmond, on the other hand had shown great promise on the cello.

Vincent felt long fingers grip his shoulders.

“Can you stay an extra hour this evening? The ladies are coming round and I would love to hear them play.”

‘So I can take responsibility if they sound awful?’ Vincent thought to himself.

“Of course,” he replied. As their teacher it was his responsibility anyway.

Most of the families in the mansion houses of Filton had staff to clean, cook and perform all the domestic chores. Mrs Peterson took pride in controlling these things with her own hands, whilst still finding time to head several charity committees, social chairs and school societies.

“I’ll leave you to it,” said Mrs Peterson as she dashed off to retrieve something from the oven.

Vincent followed Oliver to the music room. Osmond was seated on the stool holding his cello. He wore the white shirt and grey trousers of his school uniform but he was barefooted. Oliver sat at the piano and started pushing the keys with no melody in mind.

The identical boys in different poses seemed surreal. The features were the same but the expressions different. Their chosen instruments were different. Their sounds were different. Their screams would crescendo through the hallways of the large mansion house like an echoing choral of a tragic opera.


“Why do you feel that way?” asked the professor.

Vincent leaned back in the chair. It rocked a little. It gave a grudging squeak as he reached both hands up above his head and rested them on top, smoothing the brown curls beneath.

“Those two little boys have a world of Hell coming their way.”

The professor showed no emotion. “Why is that?”

“I can just tell. I can hear it every time I see them.”

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Vincent loved his students but his past was bound to catch up with him. Click HERE to read the full story.

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10 things you didn’t know about Maestro


Maestro features appearances of characters from various other Vivika Widow stories, including Sam Crusow from the Knock, Knock series and Tracey Campbell from Confessions of an Anatomist. Can you spot them all?


The main character, Vincent Baines, hadn’t always been written as strange as he was. As the story unfolded Vivika Widow decided to take him on a descent into madness leading to the stories explosive conclusion.


When pitching thriller ideas to the publishing firm, Vivika Widow offered them three different stories. Each of them were so well liked the three were combined creating the entire body of Maestro.


Vivika loves music but she can’t play any instruments. She allowed her love of music to flow into Vincent. Vincent wasn’t the first time that Vivika Widow’s desire to play had fallen onto one of her characters. Thomas (Red Snow) was the first.


No one is inherently good. At least they are not in Maestro. There are lots of people who have questions to answer over the fate of some of the young characters. Repentance? Don’t expect any anytime soon in this dark, melancholy tale.


Prior to writing Maestro, Vivika Widow had been hearing that many of her author friends were receiving abuse and poor reviews due to their use of LGBT characters. In protest Vivika decided to give Vincent a live in boyfriend whilst he still obsessed over an old girlfriend. Her protest paid off because this scenario offered a new dimension to the story overall and now we can’t see Vincent being any other way.


Throughout the story Vincent is conducting a new piece of music. As each new piece is added it tells a story. If you piece all those little bits of story together it reveals a little fairy tale which is astonishingly like Red Snow.


Most of the characters derive their names from literary figures.

Henry James, Ernest Hemingway, Elizabeth Browning and George Eliot are just some of them. See which others you can spot.


Sticking to good old fashioned paper, Vivika Widow wrote the first complete manuscripts of Maestro by hand. We think she could save herself some time (and paper) …


Maestro begins with a lot of events having already occurred. It also ends with a lot of things still to happen. This is deliberate in the writing so that the thrill is intensified and the appetite is whet to the point where you are chomping to read more. Can we be seeing a prequel book sometime in the future? Will there be a follow up?

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Escape: The First Concerto; Adapted from Vivika Widow’s Maestro

He was running again. It felt like for days he had been constantly on the move. It wasn’t the first time he had tried to escape his horrid home life but this time was different. This time he would run farther and faster than he had ever gone before. He would not go back.

He finally slowed down when he reached the edge of the town of Filton. He had run away in such a hurry he had failed to bring food, provisions or even warm clothing with him. He walked along the main street as casually as he could but he was still drawing derisive stares from the locals. He was a scruffy little boy, lost and alone, cold and hungry. The town of Filton had little sympathy to spare. Its residents were wealthy and with that wealth brought a certain detachment from humanity. Their concerns were too wrapped up in holding on to their station in society that there was very little care to spare for others.

He stood outside of a bakery, too nervous to enter into the warmth. People passed to and fro. Some would leave the bakery, carrying with them the scent of warm pastry of sweet cakes. The rushed past the boy as quickly as they could. Nannies pulled children away for fear they may catch the boy’s wretched luck.

It was a busy Saturday morning. The owner of the bakery had glanced out his large window at the boy who was spoiling his view of the beautiful apartment complex across the street. He didn’t invite the boy in nor did he chase him away. After having stood for so long his legs began to weaken, he slid down the building and sat on the ground. It was wet from the earlier rain fall but he didn’t care. He had nowhere to go and he would not return to that place.

Finally an older woman stopped.

You there?” she barked. “What are you doing sat there? You will catch a death of cold,” she barked.

She was in her later years. Her hair was grey but still holding on to the warm, honey tones of her youth. Her face was pretty, with finely carved features. She wore a fur coat that not many would dare to sport. She examined the boy closely. The plain white t shirt he wore was filthy and soaked through. Across the chest was a spatter of blood. His curly brown hair was matted and uncared for. His pale face was awash with the marks of the tears he had shed. He looked around seven years old. His skinny frame was malnourished.

Are you lost?” the old woman asked. The boy shook his head. “Where are your parents? What is your name?”

The little boy’s voice croaked as though he hadn’t spoken in some time. His throat was dry and painful. His entire body ached.

Vincent,” he said. “My name is Vincent. Please don’t make me go back to that place.”

The old woman reached her hand out. He took it and she helped him back onto his feet. He stumbled and walked with a slight limp in the right leg.

I’m Miss Spencer,” she introduced herself. “You can call me Agnes.”

Vincent managed a smile. She took him into the bakery by the hand and bought him all the sweet delights he could manage. Agnes was obviously a woman of great respect in the town. The staff of the bakery treated her as though it was the arrival of a queen.

Bring the boy some warm water to drink,” she ordered.

The baker who had been decidedly indifferent towards Vincent was now giving him all the care and attention he could.

Shame on you, Derek, keeping the boy sat outside like that,” Agnes continued to scold.

With a full stomach and quenched thirst, Agnes bought Vincent a warm coat and some clothing. She noticed that he winced as he tried to pull the coat on as though he had been beaten badly.

We have to find your parents,” she reminded him.

Vincent glanced up at her. His eyes were wide and frightened. “Please don’t make me go back there,” he cried. “They will kill me.”

Agnes couldn’t dismiss this as childish imagination gone wild. The boy did look like he was in genuine distress.

Well, you can’t live with me,” she stated. “I’m far too old to take care of a child.” Vincent pulled the new coat closer round his shivering body. “Come with me and I’ll call the police.”

Vincent shrieked. “You can’t! They’ll just make things worse.”

Agnes eyed him suspiciously. “You’re a strange boy, Vincent. Whatever will become of you?”

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Check out Vivika Widow’s Maestro to read about what did become of Vincent.