Thursday, June 25, 2020

Blog Tour + Guest Post + Giveaway - Deadly Curious by Cindy Anstey

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Deadly Curious by Cindy Anstey
Published by: Swoon Reads
Publication date: June 23rd 2020
Genres: Historical Romance, Young Adult

A twisty tale reminiscent of Jane Austen—with a dash of murder—Cindy Anstey’s Deadly Curious is perfect for fans of Kerri Maniscalco and Agatha Christie.

Some secrets are better left buried…

1834. Sophia Thompson wants nothing more than to be one of the famed Bow Street Runners, London’s most elite corps of detectives. Never mind that a woman has never before joined their ranks—and certainly never mind that her reclusive family has forbidden her from pursuing such an unladylike goal.

She gets the chance to prove her capabilities when an urgent letter arrives from her frantic cousin Daphne, begging Sophia to come look into the suspicious death of Daphne’s brother.

As Sophia begins to unravel the tangled threads of the case—with the help of a charming young policeman—she soon realizes that the murderer may be even closer to her family than she ever suspected.

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Five things I Researched for Deadly Curious by Cindy Anstey 
As a historical fiction writer, I have to do a lot of research to ensure that I get the facts right. I would not want to refer to toothpaste before it was available or have a cook turning on a gas stove before 1828. Innovation dates differ between the US and the UK (even more confusing when you throw Canada into the mix) and so I have to make certain that my materials are country specific as Deadly Curious is set in 1830s England. Every time I shift a decade, a new set of social rules has to be learned as well as clothing styles and food preferences. There are other more insidious differences that require a little more time and consideration. Such as: 
1) Policing: Law enforcement was in its infancy and did not function in the countryside the same way as in London. I had to research how and why the Bow Street Runners left the city to investigate. How they worked in conjunction with the local constabulary, and who would be sent. Policing England’s small villages and towns was not yet a fulltime job; it was often taken on as an additional occupation without any specific education. The officers of Bow Street were trained and hired to investigate any serious crime, such as murder and arson.

2) Gamekeepers and poachers: A gamekeeper was a man hired to protect and preserve the game (deer, rabbits, pheasants, quail etc.) on a large estate. A poacher was someone who shot or trapped these protected creatures for their own purposes, to sell or eat. As anyone would imagine, there was a great deal of animosity between these two groups. 
3) Carriage Travel: While there is a plethora of books that will tell you what carriages, coaches or wagons looked like, if they were equipped with a lamp or needed 4 horses to pull them, few say ‘it took xx hours to reach London from Brighton/Bath/Edinburgh. I did learn that the average coach could travel 20 to 30 miles in an eight-hour day—depending on the terrain and fitness of the horses. Using a map, I could guess how long a trip across country would take by the distance. Some years were rainier than others. The muddy conditions would slow traffic down and so I would then turn to Google for weather conditions of that year. (Yes, you can find anything on the Internet.) 
4) Fairs: Markets and Fairs were popular as a pastime and a necessity. Food fairs/markets were held in towns weekly; specialty fairs were yearly, such as the hiring fair at the end of the farming season. A hiring fair was a type of labor exchange. Those seeking employment would carry a tool of their trade. To name a few: some carried a pail or mop, a pitchfork or a tuft of wool. 
5) Fashion: By shifting away from the British Regency period (1811 to 1820) of my previous books and stepping into the 1830s, I had a chance to learn more about their clothing, particularly ladies’ gowns. While they still had ankle length skirts, the waist had dropped to a near normal position. Puffed sleeves abounded, as did dropped shoulders, pleats, bows and embellishments of one kind or another. Soft colors were still the preferred tones for young ladies. 
These are just a few of my research projects for Deadly Curious. As I started writing I had more questions and was constantly turning to my library, the bookstore or the Internet for answers. While I may not have lived in the 1830, research helps me pull the reader into the past.

Author Bio
Whenever she is not sitting at the computer, throwing a ball in the backyard, gardening or reading, Cindy can be found–actually, not found–adventuring around the world with her hubby.
 She has lived on three continents, had a monkey in her yard and a scorpion under her sink, dwelt among castles and canals, enjoyed the jazz of Beale St and attempted to speak French.

 Cindy loves history, mystery and… a chocolate Labrador called Chester.

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