I’ve been busy finishing the first in my new series of 1920s murder mysteries, Blackmail in Bloomsbury. The manuscript is off to my editor next week.
It’s my first historical mystery and I’ve discovered a few challenges along the way. For example, in one scene a man arranges to meet somebody at Piccadilly Circus, by the statue that Londoners call Eros. I wanted to check people used that name in 1922, so I looked it up – only to discover that Eros was removed from his pedestal in 1922 for the building of the new Piccadilly Circus underground station! Cue some hasty re-writing.
Next month you’ll receive Murder at the Ritz, the prequel novella which introduces the series. My beta reader team has been busy checking it through and I’ve been delighted with their responses.
Here’s a taster of comments: “Hugely enjoyed it… I really liked all the characters, especially Marjorie Swallow and Mrs Jamieson, and the story was fantastic… It is a great start to a very promising series… I loved the setting of a luxury London hotel.”
I hope you’ll enjoy it just as much.
Deal Music and Arts Festival
I’m thrilled to be appearing at the Deal Arts Festival in my home town of Deal in Kent in July. I’ll be on a panel with one of my favourite crime writers, William Shaw, to talk about writing crime by the seaside! The box office opens on 9 May if you’re interested in coming along. Link here: https://dealmusicandarts.com/festival/
What I’ve enjoyed this month
On TV, I loved watching The Gold, a dramatization of the aftermath of the massive Brinks Matt gold robbery which took place in London in the early 1980s. I grew up in south London at the time, so a lot of the pleasure was from recognising places, faces and fashions. I didn’t know that development of the area of London now known as Docklands was funded from the heist. I remember going for a ride on the brand-new Docklands Light Railway in the early 80s, across acres of derelict former docks and building sites. It’s now home to half of London’s biggest banks, not to mention very posh flats.
The novel Godmersham Park, by Gill Hornby, was another peek into English history. This was a bit longer ago, and a bit more decorous than the 1980s criminal underworld. It tells the imagined story of the real-life Anne Sharp, a governess to the family of Jane Austen’s brother Edward. The difficult position of an independently-minded (but unfortunately not independently-funded) woman in Georgian England is keenly exposed. It includes tantalising glimpses of Jane Austen herself, who understood only too well the perils of her situation.
The big question!
What have you been reading or watching this month? Hit ‘reply’ and let me know.
Have a wonderful May, and happy reading.
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