Miss Mae and the Victorian Story
I readily admit that I’m drawn to stories set during Victorian times. There are a couple of reasons for this, I think.
While in junior high, our English literature class was required to read Dickens’ “Great Expectations”. This was nowhere as romantic as my young mind wished it to be, but Dickens’ writing was so vivid that he was able to whisk me into a different world.
So, already intrigued, I decided to read a copy of Sherlock Holmes by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Lover of mysteries by nature, I fell totally under the spell of Doyle. I thought Holmes a fascinating character, and my imagination went right along with him and Dr. Watson as they traveled the dark, shadowy, and foggy streets of London in search of hidden clues.
My first book, “See No Evil, My Pretty Lady” takes place during the height of Jack the Ripper’s reign. Though the madman left no witnesses, I wondered, ‘What if he had?’ I found the idea tantalizing, and thus, created the tale of Dorcy Edwards escaping from his clutches. The subsequent terror that enshrouds Dorcy, as the Ripper mercilessly hunts her down, leads her on a dangerous nightmarish journey.
And, still entranced with the concept of Holmes, I wrote my own take about the brilliant detective. “It’s Elementary, My Dear Winifred” is a light-hearted who-dun-it, but don’t let those words fool you. There’s mischief underfoot as my heroine, Winifred Merryweather, is kidnapped and plopped into a bizarre and spooky castle in Wales. Can she survive the perils of trapdoors, sliding panels, and vicious hounds? (Not to mention the maddeningly flirtatious charms of newspaper reporter, Remington Hawthorne.)
Below is an excerpt from “It’s Elementary, My Dear Winifred”:
“He’s a reporter.” Not entirely understanding her reason of why she should, Winifred came to his defense. “He’s trained to look at both sides of an issue without being biased. If he hadn’t been here to discuss this situation rationally, would any of us have considered the possibility of Xavier?”
“We don’t know that Xavier is responsible for any of this.” The countess waved the newspaper page that contained Remington’s article. “But we know Mr. Hawthorne’s contempt for one of the greatest minds in London, if not the world.”
“That is giving Mr. Holmes too much credit, ma’am.” Winifred spoke the words rashly, regretting them as soon as they’d left her mouth.
“Ah. Yes. How could I have forgotten?” Like a cat readied to pounce, the countess switched her attack off Remington and onto Winifred. A chill ran down Winifred’s spine as she imagined the older woman flexing her claws. “You’re not an admirer of Holmes either. You prefer the talents of his arch-enemy, Professor Moriarty.”
“What!” Remington spun on his heel, staring at Winifred with stunned eyes. “Moriarty?”
“This is neither the time nor the place to debate the matter.” Winifred rose to her feet, hoping the stony look she gave the countess might quell her acid tongue. “There are far more important issues at the moment.”
She turned her back and walked to the spot beneath the wall clock. From behind her came Lord Chatham’s gruff rebuke. “Edwina, I thought a heart used to beat inside your chest. Did it disappear when you received that dratted title?”
Winifred tuned out the sound of the countess’s angry gasp, for Remington appeared beside her. His mouth twisted in a lopsided smile.
“I believe this situation is affecting all our nerves. But I’d like to thank you for not taking the countess’s position against me.”
“No need to thank me, sir.” She grasped her hands together so tightly she flinched from the pain. “I believe in fairness, and the countess seems determined to condemn you unjustly.”
“My dear Miss Merryweather.” Remington leaned an arm against the wall, his elbow grazing the bottom of the clock and nudging it aside. “If there’s one thing I’m learning about you…” His words shut off as the wall moved from under him. Knocked off balance, he stumbled back. Like a pendulum, the wall swung around, striking Winifred and crashing her body against his. Together, they dropped through an opening that yawned beneath them.
This will be available for sale at Whimsical Publications late summer 2010. To view the book reel, please see this link at You Tube