‘Tis the day of Woden, also known as Odin (amongst other handles) – which conjures up (OK, maybe only in my rather warped imagination) a vision of hairy Vikings charging around the fjords, wearing designer horned helmets and waving mean-looking spears. These scary beasties are en route to raping, pillaging and ultimately Valhalla, all to a background score of Flight of the Valkyries, or something else suitably Germanic. Make that very warped imagination – helps no end, when you write crime and cannot actually draw from personal experience.
Wednesday is not a bad word in itself, once you master its quirky spelling – a word from which you can randomly extract wed, wend, weed, wean, weedy, send, sewn seed, seedy, say, nay, day, need, needy, deny, weeds (v), needs (v), aye, add, awe, adds (v), weds (v), sand, saw, dean, eddy, wad, dawn, was – and probably a whole lot more, if you are that way inclined … or at a very loose end.
Am I waffling? Sorry – which reminds me, I haven’t had any breakfast.
I have a short working week this week – an invasion of departed offspring (not unlike those marauding Vikings when it comes to pillaging), along with their various entourages, is expected from Friday night, so spare rooms to make up and housework to do, o joy. On Saturday we will have our annual Halloween/Guy Fawkes bun fight – early this year because of various commitments.
Until I either receive my edits for Hostile Witness, out in February, or come over all domesticated, (that’s as domesticated as I can manage, which is around 30% on a very good day) I’ve been reading through Double You, which is part of my backlist. I’ve written two books featuring protagonist Rose Huntingford, and I think it may end up as a trilogy – number two is entitled Santa’s Slays, which, once it came into my mind wouldn’t budge.
I’m particularly fond of Rose. Her fictional presence is as a DCI who covers all the ‘F’s – female, fat, forties, frustrated (possibly flatulent too, I haven’t asked her) as she daydreams of getting a proper job, where she could vegetate between lunch and tea breaks and never again have to look at a dead body, especially pre the dawn chorus.
In factual terms, Rose was my paternal great-grandmother, born illegitimately in Kingston upon Thames workhouse in 1876 – as was her mother (also Rose) before her. It’s difficult/impossible to imagine the degree of poverty and hopelessness suffered by people (especially women) at the bottom of the heap in Victorian patriarchal, highly-stratified society. However, Rose somehow managed to pull herself up by the bootstraps and marry into money – a landowner, no less – at a time when that (or any) kind of social mobility was almost unheard of. One of her sons, my grandfather, lied about his age to become a pilot in the Royal Flying Corps at the beginning of World War I – their average life expectancy was seventeen flying hours. Years later, he again listened to the call of patriotism and sailed one of his boats to Dunkirk to rescue troops.
So, two very hard acts to follow. Unlike Rose, I managed to marry out of money – c’est la vie. I really hope she would approve of her namesake, who, to a much lesser degree, has fought patriarchy through the ranks during her career.
Have a good day, y’all.
Nell Peters is the author of By Any Other Name:
“Twists abound as love blossoms amongst the dead bodies in a genre-crossing novel with a dark undertow all its own.” Marika Cobbold, best-selling author.
Emily Kelly cannot believe her luck when she is employed as companion to wealthy Sir Gerald Ffinche. (OK, luck had nothing to do with it – but all’s fair in love and job-seeking, right?)
She soon settles in chez Ffinche and builds an excellent rapport with Sir Gerald – but it’s his son Richard who really interests her, and they quickly become inseparable.
However, it seems their happiness has enraged someone closely associated with the family, and a series of tragic events is set in motion. Subtle clues are left to incriminate Emily and when she determines to expose the real culprit, she is spoiled for choice. As the body count mounts, Emily and Richard – and the police – are perplexed. They’re clearly looking for someone who projects a mask of sanity to the world whilst being dangerously disturbed: but who?
With a whole shoal of red herrings and a plot that veers from the almost cosy to a taut psychological thriller, By Any Other Name is an enthralling, chilling whodunit.