Who can say no to a duchesse?

by | Feb 13, 2020 | Meet my characters!, misty mac bookstore, Story writing, Writing Mystery | 0 comments

Let me tell you more about how I came to write my latest story, “An Affair at Oxbridge”.

If you’ve already read the story, then you know that my mystery takes place in 1899 England and my characters are two women: the Duchess of Clarke, who is the detective, and her partner, Doctor Adler, who is also the narrator.

So why a duchess?

First, let me just say that I’m not particularly interested in hashtag royal wedding, nor am I an anglophile, nor do I give one bit about royals of any kind. So why did I write a duchess?

The idea for this story came to me when I was talking with my partner about Sherlock Holmes, the stories, the movies, the actors, the many TV shows that are out there, and so on. And then I started wondering, more in jest than anything, what it would be like if Sherlock Holmes were a woman? Could you even have a woman private detective/consulting detective in 1890s?

And the answer is no. Having a woman detective like Sherlock Holmes in 1890s would have been a very unlikely scenario for a number of reasons.

For one thing, a respectable woman was not allowed to leave the house – that’s a pretty big reason right there; it’s hard to detect without leaving the house. That’s how things were in 1890’s England. It’s true, women were starting to enter in all sorts of professions, or I should say, women were beginning to work and earn a living, but to be a working woman was not considered the most decent thing out there. And also, how can you have a woman detective, when a woman’s opinion meant nothing in 1890s? How would you get people to listen to what you have to say?

If you think about it, a blacksmith couldn’t have been Sherlock Holmes either. Sherlock Holmes can do what he does because he’s a gentleman, and his father or his ancestors were country squire – they were people who owned property. If he had been a blacksmith, let’s say, from a long line of blacksmiths, he couldn’t have done what he does.

Well, after the idea of a woman Sherlock Holmes entered my head, I couldn’t get it out, and I decided to write a 19th century woman consulting detective.

And the only way she can be a detective and work with Scotland Yard is if she’s a duchess. You can look at it this way: it’s a play on power. She’s a woman in a society where women have no rights, but you make her a duchess and then she’s granted position, and that creates conflict. People who would dismiss her because she’s a woman can’t dismiss her because she’s a duchess.

And then there’s also the fact that she’s brilliant, which matters far less than the fact that she’s a duchess. In ‘An Affair at Oxbridge’, Scotland Yard asks for her help with the case not because they think she can solve it, but because of her title she can get admittance into the house of a lord. Of course, once she’s in the house she solves the mystery, because when it comes down to it, she’s brilliant.

Ok, and now go read the story!

See you,

Misty

Let me tell you more about how I came to write my latest story, “An Affair at Oxbridge”.

If you’ve already read the story, then you know that my mystery takes place in 1899 England and my characters are two women: the Duchess of Clarke, who is the detective, and her partner, Doctor Adler, who is also the narrator.

So why a duchess?

First, let me just say that I’m not particularly interested in hashtag royal wedding, nor am I an anglophile, nor do I give one bit about royals of any kind. So why did I write a duchess?

The idea for this story came to me when I was talking with my partner about Sherlock Holmes, the stories, the movies, the actors, the many TV shows that are out there, and so on. And then I started wondering, more in jest than anything, what it would be like if Sherlock Holmes were a woman? Could you even have a woman private detective/consulting detective in 1890s?

And the answer is no. Having a woman detective like Sherlock Holmes in 1890s would have been a very unlikely scenario for a number of reasons.

For one thing, a respectable woman was not allowed to leave the house – that’s a pretty big reason right there; it’s hard to detect without leaving the house. That’s how things were in 1890’s England. It’s true, women were starting to enter in all sorts of professions, or I should say, women were beginning to work and earn a living, but to be a working woman was not considered the most decent thing out there. And also, how can you have a woman detective, when a woman’s opinion meant nothing in 1890s? How would you get people to listen to what you have to say?

If you think about it, a blacksmith couldn’t have been Sherlock Holmes either. Sherlock Holmes can do what he does because he’s a gentleman, and his father or his ancestors were country squire – they were people who owned property. If he had been a blacksmith, let’s say, from a long line of blacksmiths, he couldn’t have done what he does.

Well, after the idea of a woman Sherlock Holmes entered my head, I couldn’t get it out, and I decided to write a 19th century woman consulting detective.

And the only way she can be a detective and work with Scotland Yard is if she’s a duchess.

You can look at it this way: it’s a play on power. She’s a woman in a society where women have no rights, but you make her a duchess and then she’s granted position, and that creates conflict. People who would dismiss her because she’s a woman can’t dismiss her because she’s a duchess.

And then there’s also the fact that she’s brilliant, which matters far less than the fact that she’s a duchess. In ‘An Affair at Oxbridge’, Scotland Yard asks for her help with the case not because they think she can solve it, but because of her title she can get admittance into the house of a lord. Of course, once she’s in the house she solves the mystery, because when it comes down to it, she’s brilliant.

Ok, and now go read the story!

Here’s the blurb:

AN AFFAIR AT OXBRIDGE, the first story in THE WIND-UP MYSTERIES, is a Holmesian mystery novella, that features Lady Clarke – a fearless consulting detective – and Doctor Rachel Adler – her loyal friend and companion.

When the Eye of the East – a diamond as famous for its immense size and quality as for the curse which it brings upon its owners – is stolen, Scotland Yard’s clandestine ‘Special Branch’ turns to the only person in the Empire who can possibly recover it – Lady Clarke. But when she and her faithful companion, Dr. Adler, travel to Oxbridge Manor, they discover there is more to the mystery than just a missing diamond.

What do dangerous highwaymen, petty thefts, and the mysterious illness of the Lady of the Manor – stricken on the cusp of her much anticipated nuptials – have to do with the theft of the famous diamond? For most observers, nothing, but for Lady Clarke, there are no coincidences.

Digging into the facts, she reveals a sinister plot that could shake the very stability of the Empire.

Read “AN AFFAIR AT OXBRIDGE” to see how it all unravels.