Welcome Guest Heather Redmond

Clemmie Jackson is the winner of A Tale of Two Murders!

Welcome, Heather! I love the concept for Heather’s A Dickens of a Crime series. Heather is giving away a copy of A Tale of Two Murders (US only) to someone who leaves a comment.

I’ve always been a sucker for “fun” crime fiction, the kind with food and friends and light hearts despite the ugliness of the crimes that happen in cozy mysteries. As a writer though, I seem to return to English historical settings, most often the nineteenth century. So when I had the chance to write a mystery novel, I had to come up with some kind of concept that allowed me to both write to my strengths and my interests.

What did I envision? A young Charles Dickens mystery series!

The word “Dickensian” these days brings up the image of Victorian horrors – workhouses, London squalor, and of course, little orphan Oliver Twist from Dickens’s novel of 1837. This is a change from how the word was originally seen. In his time, he was known for putting Christmas back onto the map in England, and the word “Dickensian” meant something much jollier. He’s known for writing about food (just like me) and he created extraordinary characters. Luckily for me, he was quite a character himself!

I start A Tale of Two Murders, the first in my A Dickens of a Crime series, on January 6, 1835, the night he (could have) met his future wife, Kate Hogarth. I inject the enthusiasms of a young man building his career, his friendships, and his future, into my crime fiction.

I have to admit it’s been both fascinating and a challenge to write mysteries set during the relative dawn of London policing. 1829 saw the founding of the London Metropolitan Police, but the Bow Street runners were still around and the police force didn’t have Scotland Yard yet. Coroners were holding inquests in pubs and murder victims were left in place so jurors could examine the scene of the crime in person. There isn’t a lot of detailed information out there, which leaves me much room to invent while still being as accurate as my research allows.

As much as I enjoy modern crime shows and fiction with all of their specialized technology, it’s a delight to go back to a time where solving a murder meant burning shoe leather and actually talking to people, learning their secrets, instead of dancing fingers across computer keys.

I’m amazed by what Charles Dickens could accomplish with just a quill and a piece of paper and I hope I embody the spirit of his times in my books.

Readers:  If you were trying to solve a crime without modern techniques like fingerprints, how would you proceed?


Heather Redmond bio:

First published in mystery, Heather Hiestand/Redmond took a long detour through romance before returning. Though her last known British ancestor departed London in the 1920s, she is a committed anglophile and lover of all things nineteenth century. Her 2018 Heather Redmond debut, A Tale of Two Murders, received a starred review from Kirkus and has been a bestseller at various booksellers. Visit her at http://www.heatherredmond.com.

A Tale of Two Murders short blub:

On the eve of the Victorian era, London has a new sleuth . . .

In the winter of 1835, young Charles Dickens is a journalist at the Evening Chronicle. Invited to dinner at his editor’s estate, Charles is smitten with his boss’s daughter, vivacious Kate Hogarth. They are having the best of times when a scream shatters the evening. Charles and Kate rush to the neighbors’ home, where Christiana Lugoson lies dying on the floor. With a twist or two in this most peculiar case, he and Kate may be in for the worst of times . . .

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42 Thoughts

  1. What a great sounding series! I love historical English mysteries and adore Dickens. After checking out the crime scene to the best of my ability, I would talk to everyone I could think of who might in any way know something of interest. Would LOVE to win this book.

  2. What a fantastic take on Dickens! I sometimes think detecting, before computers, was more thorough than it is today. Hitting the pavement, talking to people, looking for and following up on clues, are things that cannot be replaced. I love research and while it is more convient to use computers, spending time with the written word on paper is hard to beat.was
    I am looking forward to reading this new series!

  3. Welcome, Heather! Yes, I also love writing Victorian-era mysteries (late 1880s). No fingerprinting, no blood-typing, and more. Your concept sounds fabulous – I look forward to reading A Tale of Two Murders!

  4. Wow this sounds very interesting. If I didn’t have the technology like today for fingerprint & the like then me & my partners in solving crimes would have to do some fancy footwork & brainstorming.

  5. “A Tale of Two Murders” sounds like a fabulous book and the start of a wonderful new series. I look forward to the opportunity to read not only book one but the entire series.

    I would think that if you were back in the time without all the modern technology for assistance that you would have to depend on what you actually saw, found or heard about. That would mean not only having your eyes and ears but also those of reliable sources. It would mean having the ability to shift through the information collected from others and figuring out what was fact and worth of further investigation. That being the case, I think the first thing a detective would have to set up would be a reliable network of informers and fact finders. It would also take experience and knowing how to see what was before your eyes. It’s usually the little things, the things overlooked or seen as too insignificant at the time, that solve the case.

    Thank you for the wonderful chance to win a copy of “A Tale of Two Murders”!
    2clowns at arkansas dot net

  6. This series sounds fantastic. I think if I had to solve a crime back in the 1800s I would have spent most of my time interviewing people. I have to say, I find it a little creepy–both for the victim’s family and the jurors–that murder victims would be left where they are for the jury to study. I guess nobody can complain about boring trials back then though!

  7. I know Dickens best from A Christmas Carol, so I can see the light side of the series. I find the idea of this series completely intriguing. I don’t have this book, yet. But I am definitely interested in reading it.

  8. Sounds like a fun historical mystery series. Can’t wait to see how it progresses. Thanks for the giveaway.

  9. I’ve been obsessed with Dickens since I was in 7th grade and he was on our curriculum. I think people forget that he was a masterful mystery author. His storytelling skills are fantastic. Congrats on the series! Sounds wonderful

  10. This sounds like a marvelous series! Sherry is my neighbor and has introduced me to the wonderful world of cozy mysteries and this is a bonus that it is a historical too!! I can not wait to read!!!

  11. This sounds like a fascinating book. If I had to solve a crime without modern technology I would get out and talk to people and spend a lot of time researching the people involved in the case.

  12. Welcome to the Wickeds, Heather! I love Dickens and confess I don’t know much about him as a young man. I look forward to reading A Tale of Two Murders.

  13. This sounds like a fun historic tale that I would enjoy. Thanks for the chance.

  14. I would have to rely on observation and asking questions, especially finding out about the victim. Maybe this is why cozy mysteries are popular because anyone can do that, unlike forensic science and computer skills. I’ve read several of Dickens’ books and seen many versions of A Christmas Carol. Your book sounds interesting.

  15. I would conduct interviews with witnesses and try to find the consistencies in their accounts to help me figure out what happened. Congratulations on the new series!

  16. It might be a good idea to take some of the suspects to the local pub to help loosen their lips. maybe they’ll incriminate themselves.

  17. I would say you have to do allot of research on your victims talking to there friends and family. I watch Miss Fishers murder mystery and she is a detective in 1900 so she breaks I to ppl homes alot.lol Plus I watch Artful detective it’s from late 1800 and he invents his own technology. It’s very interesting. You would have to rely on the body telling you alot too like he does. I love that era and add mystery and murder to the mix and it’s perfect. Fingers definitely crossed. Congrats on this book

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