Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Victorian-era Crime and Mystery Stories

When my first two novels set in contemporary Russia were published by Club Lighthouse, I had an idea for a different style of story and had even written two scenes for it. This story was to be a mystery set in Britain in the years 1879 to 1880, where the protagonist is a governess, and for the first time I wanted to concentrate on an antagonist. In the story, Jesse West bears a deadly grudge towards Michelle Devine and her two step-children. Also there is a relationship between Michelle and a young gentleman named Paul Lawrence. Unplanned was that Michelle Devine would come across two young, working-class women who were standing on the brink of disaster. Having come into wealth, Michelle resolves to help young women such as these two.

The resulting manuscript 'The Governess and the Stalker' is complete and I have a publisher who is interested in this story. It is set in an interesting time, and it is part-mystery and a part-treatise on class divide and the mis-treatment of those less fortunate. While doing my research and writing this story I realised how bad things once were, and why Britain went through a massive, transformational change during the Twentieth Century. Even so, ther are times when I feel that we are heading in the wrong direction, and I hope that readers of The Governess and the Stalker will digest the dark side of this story and realise that we must arrest any return towards the times that I have portrayed.

A single, fiction novel can only cover so much ground, and Michelle resolving to help unfortunate women gave me an opportunity to explore this theme further. The sequel 'Maidens of the Night' is part-fiction and part-non fiction, and includes Michelle Devine and a young woman of Irish background raised in Wales; Mary Kelly. Michelle attempts to help as many unfortunate young women as she can, but she cannot help them all. This story goes beyond genre fiction, and because it encompasses dramatic events of the time it feels genuinely real. The publisher who is interested in 'The Governess and the Stalker' is also interested in 'Maidens of the Night'.