Going Wild In The Country
With each of the Bowman Of The Yard novels and short stories set in a different month of the year 1892, I'm sending Inspector George Bowman to the country for the summer.
I have always loved reading the Sherlock Holmes stories, and particularly enjoyed those (like The Boscombe Valley Mystery and Silver Blaze) set outside Holmes' usual stamping ground. As he explains in The Adventure Of The Copper Beeches, 'It is my belief, Watson, founded upon my experience, that the lowest and vilest alleys in London do not present a more dreadful record of sin than does the smiling and beautiful countryside.' Taking this as my cue, the third novel in the Bowman Of The Yard series will be set in a village not too dissimilar to the one outside my very own very door.
The High Street in Cookham has barely changed since Victorian times (the above picture is from 1895). Scratch beneath the surface and you'll find every village has a rich history featuring an array of interesting characters. I'm particularly interested in how urban life differed from that in the country where work was scarce and people were left to fend for themselves. There was real hardship and poverty in the Victorian countryside, the perfect soil in which to sow the seeds of discord and, perhaps, even murder. My novel won't actually be set in Cookham but there will be similarities, particularly in the geography of the village. I think it'll give the reader a much needed breath of fresh air after the dank alleys and slums of Southwark or the docks along the River Thames. Quite how the troubled Inspector Bowman will cope, we will just have to see...
If you have yet to join the investigation, Bowman's story begins with the first novel, The Head In the Ice and continues through the short stories The Smithfield Murder and The Workhouse Poisoning to the second novel, The Devil In The Dock. Two more short stories follow, The Hampstead Garrotting and The Holborn Strangler. All the short stories are free to subscribers to my newsletter. The third, as yet untitled, novel in the series will be published later in 2019.