It’s finally here – the first Marjorie Swallow adventure. Murder at the Ritz will be the first in a new series of murder mysteries set in 1920s London. The novella is available free to all newsletter subscribers.
Tea, cucumber sandwiches and a sprinkle of cyanide…
October 1922. Marjorie Swallow isn’t a regular at The Ritz. But she really, really wants this job. She’s been summoned to an interview to become a personal secretary to the mysterious Mrs Jameson, who wants assistance with ‘social engagements and private investigations’.
Over afternoon tea in the Palm Court, Marjorie’s detective skills are put to the test when a fellow guest keels over in suspicious fashion. Who killed the colonel? There are no shortage of people who wanted him dead. But which of them managed to slip a spoonful of poison into his Darjeeling?
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Deal Festival reminder
Tickets are selling like hot cakes for my panel session at the Deal Music and Arts Festival! If you want to hear me and William Shaw talking about crime writing by the seaside, you’ll need to book soon. Check out the website here: https://dealmusicandarts.com/festival/
While the first full book in the series, Blackmail in Bloomsbury, was with the editor, I took the opportunity to do some in-person research in London. I enjoyed a (rather damp) tour of London’s West End crime hotspots, and a trip to the Bow Street police museum, tucked around the back of what was formerly Bow Street police station and magistrates court.
The eye-opening tour taught me about the close working relationship between police at Bow Street and the various nightclub owners, criminal gangs and pornographers of Soho. Apparently businesses only got raided if they weren’t sufficiently generous in their hospitality to certain policemen. Oddly enough, Bow Street museum didn’t make much of this – but you can see the original cells where the likes of the Pankhursts, Oscar Wilde and the Kray twins were held before their appearance before the magistrates.
Staying with the 1920s crime and nightlife theme, I’m really enjoying Kate Atkinson’s Shrines of Gaiety, a novel set among the women running and working for 1920s nightclubs. It owes a lot to the true history of Kate Meyrick, the Soho ‘Queen of Clubs’ I heard all about on my West End walk.