The Poinciana Tree

by | May 10, 2023 | Author, Crime Fiction | 0 comments

Thank you, Readers Magnet, for the opportunity to be interviewed on your Author’s Lounge website. I have published ten books, including two children’s books, and write as Rita Lee Chapman. I added the middle name because there was already a Rita Chapman who wrote vampire stories! 

I didn’t publish my first book until I retired.  We had some rainy weather and I was looking for something to do inside and thought ‘Maybe I could write that book I always wanted to”. The result was Missing in Egypt, the first book in my Anna Davies Mystery Series. I mainly write crime mysteries, although I have also written a book for horse lovers. 

The book I would like to tell you about here is The Poinciana Tree, which is set in Australia and the Sudan. This is the blurb:

This story is set around the beautiful Poinciana tree, with its amazing red flowers.

Suzanne Matthews arrives home from work to find the kitchen in disarray and her daughter missing. After searching the house, her eyes turn towards the garden, drawn to the Poinciana tree.  Underneath its canopy, she sees her daughter, slumped against its trunk. 

When the police are unable to identify Jennifer’s killer, they turn their attention to her husband, Mark. Whilst trying to cope with her grief, she finds herself fighting to prove her husband’s innocence, as her world is turned upside down.  She is inspired by another woman, who went with her husband to Sudan as a medical volunteer for a charity organization.

A tale of raw emotion, desperation, and acceptance.

I wrote this book because I thought a Poinciana tree would make a great cover! These amazing trees grow everywhere, in the suburb where I live. The title was easy – so then I had to come up with the story! Usually, I work on the cover after I have finished writing the book.

I would say my target audience is women who like mysteries and travel and I would hope that readers would take away the message of hope and acceptance, but mainly, just enjoy the read.

My last two books have been for children, The Unicorn Angel and My Very Naughty Pony. The idea for the first one came to me whilst I was in the swimming pool!  Having spent a lot of time around horses when I was younger, it was only natural that my next children’s book would be about a pony. I love the cover for that one – he looks full of mischief.

Naturally, I am an avid reader myself.  I read a lot of mysteries and detective stories, but also memoirs, animal stories, and historical fiction. I love our Australian authors, Fiona McIntosh, Kate Morton, and Natasha Lester. When I’m not reading or writing I enjoy playing tennis and walking on our beautiful beaches or alongside our river, which is different shades of blue, depending on the weather.  I enjoy cooking and spend a lot of time socializing and entertaining! I’m Australian and live in Queensland, which is very sunny and hot, although I was born in London and emigrated in my early twenties. My favorite drink is champagne and my favorite food is chocolate!

I like looking at photographs, so I have holiday photos on my website. At the moment it features last year’s trip to the UK and Malta. I also host a different author each week, which introduces me to many authors from around the world and draws more readers to the website.  

Details of my other books:

The Anna Davies Mystery Series (five stand-alone books)

Winston – A Horse’s Tale

Dangerous Associations

The Unicorn Angel

My Very Naughty Pony



The Poinciana Tree:


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