Edith here, basking in having family around me. Our guest today is the fabulous Victoria Thompson. City of Scoundrels, her third Counterfeit Lady Mystery, came out last month and I just finished reading the latest adventure of Elizabeth Miles. I wanted to be sure our Wicked fans knew about it too, so I invited Victoria back on the blog. She’s giving away a copy, too!
Imagine getting sick with a deadly disease for which there is no treatment or cure. Then imagine hundreds of people getting sick with the same disease at the same time, whole families, whole neighborhoods. Then imagine this happening in every city and town in the entire world! Sadly, we don’t have to imagine this because it actually happened in the fall of 1918, and at least 50 million people died world-wide.
In my new book, City of Scoundrels, con artist Elizabeth Miles and her fiancé, Gideon Bates, are holding down the home front while WWI rages a continent away. Gideon knows he will be drafted soon, so he’s spending his time helping soldiers write their wills before they ship out. When a widow of one of these men gets cheated out of her inheritance by her scoundrel of a brother-in-law, the law is on his side, so Gideon and Elizabeth must go beyond the law to get justice. Using Elizabeth’s skills as a grifter, they must outwit not only the brother-in-law but a gang of German spies into the bargain.
But as Gideon and Elizabeth work desperately to beat their adversaries, a new disease begins striking down their friends and neighbors. The influenza epidemic began in an army camp, and it quickly spread, going with the troops as they shipped out across the world. The press—restrained by war-time censorship—fails to adequately warn the public, and thousands die. The flu finally strikes very close to home for Elizabeth, and takes someone near and dear.
New York City lost more people to the flu than to the war. To this day, no one is really sure what strain of flu it was that proved so deadly. We like to think something like that could never happen again, outside of a horror movie, but can we really be sure?
I’ve been amazed at how many fans had a relative who died of the flu back then.
Readers: Did your family lose someone in the great flu epidemic, or in WWI? Leave your comments below. I’m going to give away a signed copy of City of Scoundrels to a randomly selected commenter. US residents only, please.
Victoria Thompson is the USA Today bestselling author of the Edgar® and Agatha Award finalist Gaslight Mystery Series and the Sue Grafton Memorial Award finalist Counterfeit Lady Series. She has published 24 mysteries. She currently teaches in the Master’s program for writing popular fiction at Seton Hill University.
Contact Victoria through her website, www.victoriathompson.com, on Facebook at Victoria.Thompson.Author or twitter @gaslightvt.