Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Favourite Things : Launch of Linda Stratmann's The Daughters of Gentlemen

Some people like a good funeral. I prefer a nice book launch :
It's an excuse to visit a (usually) posh part of London
The bookshop ambience is convivial
The author gives a little talk about his/her next book
There's a chance to talk to friendly book-readers
Not least, there's free wine and nibbles

Daunt books on Holland Park Avenue is a 'really lovely bookshop', according  the person of whon I asked directions, having made the mistake of walking first to Notting Hill Waterstones. Notting Hill has more shops but Holland Park is more 'select' and foodie - it has both a Paul and a Patisserie Valerie, which some might think excessive.

Linda has written a lot of true-crime books but The Daughters of Gentlemen  is only her second work of fiction. As before, it stars female detective Frances Doughty and is set in Victorian Bayswater. Linda says her next book features that ubiquitous Victorian bugbear, the fear of being buried alive. The other ingredients sound a bit racy. I expect other readers enjoy as much I do the gradual uncovering of the dark forces underlying the respective veneer of Victorian society.

It was good to catch up with someone I'd first met at the launch of The Poisonous Seed, in which Frances worked in her father's pharmacy and was set on proving he hadn't done in one of his customers with cyanide. Or was it strychnine? Something fatal, anyway. In the current one she's called in to solve a crime in an a genteel school for girls and rather hopes it won't turn nasty. Fat chance!

After that I had a chat with a lady wasn't so old as to be Victorian, but had toughed it out as  the youngest of five children with a widowed mother who ran out of money when it came to her turn to go to university.

All this, plus wine and nibbles and a book signed by the author. Definitely one of my favourite things.

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