Today I’m on the blog tour for The Convalescent Corpse, such an unusual title and a quirky sounding book too. I’m trying to focus more on my existing to-read pile and therefore reviewing less on blog tours at the moment, therefore for my spot on the tour I have a guest post for you, on the background to the book. And if that wasn’t enough there’s a giveaway as well!
A story of Family, Rationing and Inconvenient Corpses.
Life in 1918 has brought loss and grief and hardship to the three Fyttleton sisters. Helped only by their grandmother (a failed society belle and expert poacher) and hindered by a difficult suffragette mother, as well as an unruly chicken-stealing dog and a house full of paying-guests, they now have to deal with the worrying news that their late – and unlamented – father may not be dead after all. And on top of that, there’s a body in the ha-ha.
‘I love it. A delightfully unusual mystery with wonderful characterisation and historical detail.’ – LESLEY COOKMAN BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF THE LIBBY SARJEANT MYSTERY SERIES
The Background to the book
Something that surprised me as the book began to develop was the age of my characters. They were so young! In previous books I’ve had a wide range of ages, including some feisty old ladies who have proved popular, and in my contemporary Harriet Quigley Mysteries I have a sleuth in her early sixties, as is her cousin and sidekick, the Rev Sam Hathaway. Discovering that I was dealing with young women still in their late teens came as a shock.
The eldest, Alix, is nineteen. She has a morning job as companion to a crochety old lady and in the afternoon, she volunteers at the nearby convalescent hospital for wounded officers. The middle sister, Christabel – the narrator is eighteen and spends her days typing her author mother’s books, writing her own ripping yarns for boys and young men, and helping her grandmother run the house. The youngest, Adelaide, is fifteen and still at school.
I didn’t set out to dream up characters that young, they just appeared and I gradually realised they fitted the time. When you think about the casualties of the First World War the thing that shocks us most, apart from the sheer scale of the dead and wounded, is how young they were, with tombstone after tombstone in the war cemeteries recording eighteen- and nineteen-year-olds, early twenties; not to mention the graves that make us all want to weep – the fifteen-and sixteen-year-olds who lied about their ages. A young man’s war meant a young woman’s war too, the girls they left behind them, and there was the reason for my girls’ youth.
I grew up reading Victorian and Edwardian novels, particularly the books that began to appear during and following WW1, school stories where girls were encouraged to think beyond marriage and children as their future, and romances and mysteries where young women branched out and seized hitherto unheard of opportunities. I didn’t want to write a school story; what I wanted to write about was how a family of women managed life in wartime, dealing with rationing, grief and other hardships, so my heroines are officially ‘out’, although in their circumstances that doesn’t mean being presented at Court or going to grand balls. Instead they ‘put their hair up’ and – in the case of my girls – they find jobs.
This book is about how my characters how they cope with those jobs when murder starts to stalk them!
Giveaway – Win a paperback copy of The House of Ladywell (Open Internationally)
*Terms and Conditions –Worldwide entries welcome. Please enter using the Rafflecopter box below. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data. I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.
About the author:
Nicola Slade lives in Hampshire where she writes historical and contemporary mysteries and women’s fiction. While her three children were growing up she wrote stories for children and for women’s magazines before her first novel, Scuba Dancing, was published in 2005. Among other jobs, Nicola has been an antiques dealer and a Brown Owl! She loves travelling and at one time, lived in Egypt for a year. The Convalescent Corpse is Nicola’s 9th novel. Nicola is also a member of a crime writers’ panel, The Deadly Dames https://www.facebook.com/DeadlyDames/