A Lady’s Murder in Eighteenth Century Cornwall
When I attended the Historical Novel Society Conference in San Diego, one of the panels spoke of the future of historical fiction. They agreed that historical mysteries would remain one of the most popular aspects of the genre. I’d written a few historical novels up until then, so decided my next endeavor would be a mystery. Having bought a book on the history of eighteenth century Truro, Cornwall, I decided to set my mystery there.
A murder, a squire’s wife poisoned, the squire’s miserable marriage revealed, all formed in my mind. And of course, a diligent apothecary, a bold-minded woman who’d taken over her husband’s shop after his death. These two people, Branek Pentreath, the squire with a failing estate and resentment toward his arranged, childless marriage, and Jenna Rosedew, who prepared the tinctures for the ailing Lady Pentreath, would become the prime suspects in the lady’s death. Throw in a corrupt constable who has grievances against both of them, and the noose tightens around Branek and Jenna.
At first suspecting one another for the murder, an unbidden attraction forms between these two, but their places in society forbids their acting upon it—or does it? They must fight their feelings and rush to find the real killer before it’s too late.
Set during the war with the American colonies in 1781, the outcome which might ruin Branek, and the tension is rife in my historical mystery, The Apothecary’s Widow.
I delved deep into the history of the area, the eighteenth century (a particular interest of mine) and the detection of poison in a time when medical knowledge was just starting to come out of the dark ages—but was still primitive.
I also researched the apothecaries’ trade, and the medicine preparation which would have been used in the eighteenth century. The use of herbs and spices, along with more dangerous—not to mention strange—ingredients, was fascinating. My editor says she was impressed by my research.
I fell in love with these characters and hated for the story to end. So there might be a sequel—and another murder to solve.
I hope readers will enjoy this novel as much as I loved writing it.
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