Historicals: escape, or…?

[A piece I wrote for Crime Reads, an excellent daily blog, about writing Island of the Mad and historical mysteries in general…]

Cole Porter (2nd from right) in the Piazza San Marco, Venice

The historical mystery is a curious thing.  Why worry about a crime that took place decades—centuries—ago?  Surely it’s been long solved, with both victim and villain moldering in their graves.  The past, after all, is a foreign country, one we may not have a visa for.

But as the writer of historicals, I find it’s not always that clear-cut.  Instead, off I’ll set for my own little corner of the Twentieth century—the 1920s—looking forward to a nice long escape from reality as I immerse myself in the mores and customs, fashions and foibles, dusty technology and quaintly simple lives of that sepia-toned world… only to discover the modern age has come along, too, and now stands behind my shoulder, snarling in my ear.

Take the book I wrote last year.  I anticipated…

[To read the rest, pop over to Crime Reads.]


  1. Liz Ryan on June 14, 2018 at 5:29 pm

    Oh, thanks so very much for this fun story! And no bodies or gore; at least no visible gore. And sends me back to Cole Porter.
    In return, I send you our favorite summer tall drink, like a Venetian Sunset. Small amounts of Aperol and ruby grapefruit juice, a little bit more of prosecco, and seltzer water to fill up the glass. I give no amounts because we have already messed with the first two in order to reduce the sticky quotient.
    And, finally, in homage to the brave ladies in the book, Tracey Thorne’s new feminist dance tune “Sister”, featuring the lyric “And I fight like a girl”… sung in the sexiest voice ever.

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