Sunday 28 April 2013

Guest blog: Ros Gemmell - 'The Jigsaw Puzzle' (A Tween Mystery Fantasy)

Twelve-year-old asthmatic Daniel stays with his bossy cousin, Amy, her mum, and two cats in the Scottish countryside during the Christmas holidays while his parents take a trip to sort out their problems. When Amy and Daniel make up an old jigsaw puzzle, the cottage and garden gradually change to resemble the Victorian cottage pictured on the box lid. In between searching for the missing Title Deeds of the cottage to save it from land developers, they complete the jigsaw and find a strange rhyming puzzle hidden within the box. What does it mean? Daniel and Amy soon find out when they become trapped in the past.

Will they solve the cryptic written puzzle and find their way back to the present before it’s too late to save themselves, the destruction of the woods, and their cottage?

The Jigsaw Puzzle (excerpt)

“I know what we’ll do.” Amy suddenly ran into her room, startling him out of his thoughts. “I found an old jigsaw in the attic one day and I haven’t tried it yet. Let’s take it downstairs and we could start it now.” 
Hardly pausing to see if Daniel agreed, Amy led the way down to the living room as though expecting him to follow. So, he did. He didn’t really care what they did today. Anything would do to stop him picturing his mother and father driving away without him.
He didn’t even want to think about them flying across the Atlantic to America with the kinds of trouble these days, or accidents. No, don’t think of that. At least Amy kept him amused in her bossy way, taking charge. He used to like jigsaws and hadn’t done one for years. In fact, he loved any kind of puzzle, especially anything in code. It was a change from playing computer games, though his friend back at school, Paul, would never believe Daniel put together a jigsaw.
Once seated at the big table in the corner, they opened the jigsaw box, standing the picture lid against the fruit bowl so they could see it clearly. Hundreds of small pieces lay in the box. Daniel picked one up, surprised to find the pieces made of thin wood instead of cardboard. It appeared very old and cut a bit differently from more modern jigsaws.
Some of the curved edges had no cut-out bit to attach to another piece. He reckoned they probably shaped against another curve to join up. Other pieces looked more like the kind he knew with notches or spaces to connect to each other.
Daniel stared at the picture on the lid. “Huh, a house and garden. Why can’t it be something interesting like wild cats or birds?”
Amy shrugged, not bothering to answer. She might be bossy, Daniel thought, but at least she didn’t chatter all the time like the girls at school.
Then he stared at the picture more closely, noticing something strange about it. The house did look a bit familiar. But the old-fashioned crisscross windows had tiny panes of glass which he’d never seen before. A strange doorknocker shaped like an old face hung on the door, and the garden bloomed with lots of colourful flowers and plants. A stone sundial stood at the bottom of the garden, casting a shadow across its surface. Daniel’s stomach flipped. The house in his dream!


A freelance writer for many years, Rosemary Gemmell’s short stories and articles are published in UK magazines, in the US, and Online and she has won a few short story prizes over the years. Her first historical novel, Dangerous Deceit, was published by Champagne Books in Canada in May 2011 (as Romy), and Victorian novella, Mischief at Mulberry Manor, was published on kindle in December 2012.

First tween novel, Summer of the Eagles, was published by MuseItUp Publishing in Canada in March 2012 (as Ros) and The Jigsaw Puzzle is now released in April 2013. She describes herself as a butterfly writer, as she writes in so many different genres and different styles. Rosemary is a member of the Society of Authors, the Scottish Association of Writers and the Romantic Novelists’ Association.

Available from MuseItUp:



Rosemary Gemmell said...

Many thanks for featuring me here, Lindsay!

Dihiwi said...

What a wonderful excerpt and write-up. I'm hooked and I couldn't be further from a Tween. I've always loved those mystery/suspense books that I loved as a child (Witch of Blackbird Pond, The Secret Garden, the Narnia books). Thank you for sharing. If you have a spare minute, visit my blog at

Rosemary Gemmell said...

Thank you very much for such a lovely comment, Diane!