Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Today I'm joining Berkley Mystery
in hosting author
Victoria Thompson
and her new release
Book 2 in the Counterfeit Lady Mysteries

An exciting new book in the series featuring woman-on-the-run Elizabeth Miles--from the beloved national bestselling author of the Gaslight Mysteries.

Elizabeth Miles knows that honesty is not always the best policy when it comes to finding justice.

Elizabeth has discovered that navigating the rules of high society is the biggest con of all. She knows she can play the game, but so far, her only success is Priscilla Knight, a dedicated young suffragist recently widowed for the second time. Her beloved first husband died in a tragic accident and left her with two young daughters--and a sizable fortune. While she was lost in grief, Priscilla's pastor convinced her she needed a man to look after her and engineered a whirlwind courtship and hasty marriage to fellow parishioner Endicott Knight. Now, about nine months later, Endicott is dead in what appears to be another terrible accident. 

Everyone is whispering, but that is the least of Priscilla's troubles. She had believed Endicott was wealthy, too, but her banker tells her she has no money left and her house has been mortgaged. He also hints at a terrible scandal and refuses to help. 

Priscilla stands to lose everything, and Elizabeth is determined not to let that happen. But, as always, Elizabeth walks a fine line between using her unusual talents and revealing her own scandalous past. Elizabeth soon discovers that Endicott's death was anything but accidental, and revealing the truth could threaten much more than Priscilla's finances. To save her new friend's future--and possibly her own--Elizabeth, along with her honest-to-a-fault beau, Gideon, delve into the sinister secrets someone would kill to keep.

Victorian Fetishes and How to Avoid Them
By Victoria Thompson


What does that make you think of?  Probably shady doings and scandalous photographs and demands for money that never end. When I was trying to come up with an idea for the second Counterfeit Lady novel, City of Secrets, my wonderful editor suggest blackmail as a topic.  I couldn’t remember the last time I read a book about blackmail, so I was intrigued. 

How could I use that crime to motivate my Counterfeit Lady, Elizabeth Miles, to arrange another con when she’s promised her beloved Gideon that she’ll reform?  The answer, of course, is blackmail.  When Elizabeth’s new friend is suddenly widowed, she discovers that her late husband has left her penniless because he’d used all his money paying a blackmailer.  Elizabeth, naturally, wants to help, and of course she does.

But what, you may ask, had this respectable gentleman done that he wanted so desperately to hide? That, of course, was important information for the story, so I had to come up with something good—or rather something very bad.  It had to be something he would give anything to conceal. It also had to be historically accurate. But most importantly, it had to be something that wouldn’t make readers go, “Ewwww!” and stop reading the book (which would be a very bad thing in itself!).

This was a quandary! I naively decided it should be some kind of sexually deviant behavior, but what kind? Something shocking but not disgusting or offensive to readers. What could that be?  So I did some research and things only got worse.

If you search for “Victorian fetishes” (and I definitely don’t recommend it!), you will discover that most Victorian fetishes actually sound funny to modern folks. Being tickled with feathers. Watching a woman walk around in boots. Seriously. Everything I found would either make readers laugh or go, “Ewwww!” and close the book. Definitely, a quandary.

So how did I solve it? I think I did so very cleverly, although I’ll rely on my readers to give me their opinions. Please let me know how I did!
“This is a suspenseful and twisty story guaranteed to bate breaths and engage readers until the wee hours. Fans …will welcome the addition of another strong woman to the ranks of early-twentieth-century crime solvers.”

Edgar®  and Agatha Nominated author Victoria Thompson writes the Gaslight Mystery Series, set in turn-of-the-century New York City and featuring midwife Sarah Brandt. Her latest, Murder on Union Square, was a May 2018 release.  City of Lies was the first book in her new Counterfeit Lady Series, and it came out in paperback in October 2018. The second book in the series, City of Secrets, will come out on November 13. She also contributed to the award winning writing textbook Many Genres/One Craft. Victoria teaches in the Seton Hill University master's program in writing popular fiction. She lives in Illinois with her husband and a very spoiled little dog. 

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