Darcie Wilde | The Regency Coroner
Author Guest / May 8, 2017

– or – Let Us Praise Mr. John Impey of the Inner Temple There’s a saying about the past; it’s another country and they do things differently there. That means that authors and amateur historians all owe debts of gratitude to those brave souls who penned the travel guides. This becomes really clear when you’re researching the law and policing. Before 1828, England did not have a professional police force administered by the government. In fact, the ruling elite actively resisted the creation of any such institution. They insisted it would be an infringement on the traditional freedoms of Englishmen. As an example, they pointed to Napoleon and his secret police (who were, to be fair, really bad). This freewheeling attitude created a lot of headaches back in the day. It created more than a few for me as I was trying to do my research for the Rosalind Thorne mysteries. In 1817, when my books, A USEFUL WOMAN and A PURELY PRIVATE MATTER take place, London was on its way to becoming the biggest, and wealthiest, city in the Western World. Despite this, crime prevention and investigation was performed by a really loose patchwork of institutions. In fact to…

Julia Buckley | Horace Bick, The Grizzly Bear, and The Joy of Old Hardware Stores
Author Guest / May 8, 2017

Readers who enjoyed my first Writer’s Apprentice mystery, A DARK AND STORMY MURDER, don’t have to wait much longer for the sequel. DEATH IN DARK BLUE debuts on May 2. Since I don’t want to delve too deeply into the storyline and risk spoilers, I thought I’d talk a little more about Blue Lake, the fictional town where all the mystery happens. A Dark and Stormy Murder #1 Amazon.com BN.com iTunes/iBooks Kobo Google Play Death in Dark Blue #2 Amazon.com BN.com iTunes/iBooks Kobo Google Play Blue Lake is an amalgam of any number of Midwestern small towns I’ve visited, and even Bick’s Hardware has shades of other hardware stores I’ve seen over fifty years. One in particular stands out. It was a wonderful old store in Valparaiso, Indiana—my college town!—and I happened to wander into this place when I was twenty and searching, just before Christmas break, for family Christmas gifts. I had chosen my brother Christopher’s name in the family grab bag, and I wanted to buy him a saw and a flannel shirt (both on his list). So I walked the mile from campus to Valpo’s downtown strip, and I stumbled across an amazing place called Wark’s Hardware….

Sarah E. Glenn | The WHAT is in the mail?
Author Guest / May 8, 2017

The things you learn while researching a book can be very interesting in and of themselves. Everyone of a certain age remembers the Sears catalog as a place to order clothing, toys, and home goods, but did you know that an entire house could be ordered from Sears in the early twentieth century? A mail order home, also known as a “kit house”, was a parcel of goods containing precut wood, windows, shingles, and all the other items needed to build a house. The parcel was usually shipped to the desired location by rail. The would-be homeowner provided the labor and, often, the concrete and bricks needed to construct a foundation. The pieces were often labeled to assist in assembly, just like a model kit. During the mid-1920s, land lots in Florida sold like crazy. The West Coast Development Company was selling undeveloped parcels in Homosassa, the setting of our book. The St. Petersburg papers were filled with real estate ads. Harry Prettyman was advertising Gold Rushes in Oldsmar, burying gold pieces in vacant lots as a promotional gimmick. Empty lots needed houses on them. Most of them were constructed by traditional builders, but others were built from kits. Sears…