I want to welcome Dianne Freeman to the blog today. She is the author of A Lady’s Guide to Etiquette and Murder, which is available now. Let’s get started, shall we?
Name: Dianne Freeman
Book title: A Lady’s Guide to Etiquette and Murder
Book genre: Historical mystery
Release date: Available now
Publisher: Kensington Books
Dianne, please tell us about your book.
Victorian widow, Frances Wynn, Countess of Harleigh, is dealing with a high society burglar, a marriage-mad sister, and a murder. When the London season turns deadly, she rallies her wits and a circle of gossiping friends and enemies to unmask the killer before she becomes his next victim.
What sparked the idea for A LADY’S GUIDE TO ETIQUETTE AND MURDER?
The Victorian era is a favorite of mine. I’ve been reading books from and about that period for as long as I can remember. The American heiress concept came from Edith Wharton’s The Buccaneers. Further research showed me they didn’t all meet with such wretched ends. I liked the idea of a more upbeat version where my heiress pushes some boundaries, and because I love a good mystery, I thought I’d give her a knack for solving crimes.
How long did it take for you to write the book? Did you do have to do any research?
It took about two years to write the book, but there was a kitchen remodel in the middle of that time. This is historical fiction so, yes there was a great deal of research. I spent a lot of time in the newspaper archives, much of it researching things that were totally unnecessary but I find this era fascinating and I distract easily. Since I mention specific dates in the novel, I did think it necessary to find out if any major events took place during that week that my characters would have noted. It was also important to understand the technology of the day. How did one send information quickly from London to New York? What was photography like at the time? I needed to know not just when something was invented, but when was it available and if my characters were likely to use it.
How did you celebrate when you learned the book was going to be published?
My agent had prepared me for a long wait when the book went on sub, so when she sold it in three days, it took some time to get over the shock. Then my husband and I celebrated with a nice dinner and some cocktails.
If you were speaking to someone who hasn’t read your writing before, why should they want to read A LADY’S GUIDE TO ETIQUETTE AND MURDER?
A Lady’s Guide is a fun whodunit in an historical setting. If you enjoy a good laugh while searching for clues and unraveling a mystery, this is the book for you. If you enjoy reading about how women still managed to get the job done even when hobbled by restrictive social rules, this is the book for you too.
Where can readers find you (website, blog, social media, etc.)?
Book link: https://www.amazon.com/Etiquette-Murder-Countess-Harleigh-Mystery-ebook/dp/B07638LZZB/
Thank you, Dianne! A Lady’s Guide to Etiquette and Murder is available now.
Frances Wynn, the American-born Countess of Harleigh, enjoys more freedom as a widow than she did as a wife. After an obligatory year spent mourning her philandering husband, Reggie, she puts aside her drab black gowns, leaving the countryside and her money-grubbing in-laws behind. With her young daughter in tow, Frances rents a home in Belgravia and prepares to welcome her sister, Lily, arriving from New York—for her first London season.
No sooner has Frances begun her new life than the ghosts of her old life make an unwelcome appearance. The Metropolitan police receive and anonymous letter implicating Frances in her husband’s death. Frances assures Inspector Delaney of her innocence, but she’s also keen to keep him from learning the scandalous circumstances of Reggie’s demise. As fate would have it, her dashing new neighbor, George Hazelton, is one of only two other people aware of the full story.
While busy with social engagements on Lily’s behalf, and worrying if Reggie really was murdered, Frances learns of mysterious burglaries plaguing London’s elite. The investigation brings death to her doorstep, and Frances rallies her wits, a circle of gossips, and the ever-chivalrous Mr. Hazelton to uncover the truth. A killer is in their midst, perhaps even among her sister’s suitors. And Frances must unmask the villain before Lily’s season—and their lives—come to a most unseemly end.
Dianne Freeman is a life-long book lover who left the world of corporate finance to pursue her passion for writing. After co-authoring the non-fiction book, Haunted Highway, The Spirits of Route 66, she realized her true love was fiction, historical mystery in particular. She also realized she didn’t like winter very much so now she and her husband pursue the endless summer by splitting their time between Michigan and Arizona.