I’m so happy to announce the release of the next Concordia mystery.
It seems that, no matter where the lady professor may go, trouble is sure to follow. Not even wedded bliss can stop our intrepid Concordia from getting involved in something dangerous…
When a killer crashes the honeymoon, three’s a crowd…
It’s the summer of 1899, and Professor Concordia Wells—now Mrs. David Bradley—eagerly anticipates their honeymoon in the Hamptons. She has one errand along the way, to visit a former student seeking advice. About a love interest, no doubt.
If only it were that benign. The young lady, now employed as a switchboard operator, inadvertently eavesdropped on a murder plot involving the high finance world of the Stock Exchange Luncheon Club. How to notify the police without losing her position? Before Concordia can think of something, the girl is murdered.
Without proof, the police give little credence to second-hand conspiracy tales. David convinces Concordia to leave the matter to the authorities and go on with their honeymoon. Little do they know that trouble will follow them to their peaceful getaway, and entangle them in secrets and long-standing grudges until they are fighting for their very lives. “’Til death do us part” may happen sooner than the couple ever imagined.
Just in time for your holiday relaxation, curled up in a cozy chair on a wintry afternoon! *wink*
I know many of you enjoy the background research behind my books. While writing Unseemly Honeymoon, I needed all sorts of info: 1899 telephone operations, turn-of-the-century honeymoon customs and behaviors, the terrain of the Hamptons area of Long Island, the system of jurisprudence in Suffolk County, and the Long Island RR in 1899 – it’s stops, platforms, and schedules. And then there’s 1899 baseball, yachting, hotels, and theatre performances. Fun stuff! I’ll probably be developing some of these as more extensive blog posts down the road. But for now, here are a few fun little facts that I picked up along the way:
- Ever wonder why the stereotypical notion of a telephone operator is that she’s female? It didn’t start out that way. In the 1870s, when the telephone systems were just getting established, the switchboards were staffed by teenage boys. But they didn’t work out so well: they were rude and argumentative with customers, lazy, and frequently fought among themselves. We’re talking fistfights, I kid you not. That’s when the companies started hiring young women instead, considering the fairer sex more polite and docile.
- The East Hampton Ladies Village Improvement Society was an active force in the town of East Hampton (a summer tourist destination). Their fund-raising efforts helped improve road drainage in the wet months, reduced road dust in the dry months, built sidewalks and maintained parks. One of their biggest fundraisers each year was the East Hampton Summer Fair, which figures prominently in Unseemly Honeymoon.
- In Concordia’s time, baseball trading cards were included in tobacco tins. Not for kiddie consumption.
- Hoyts Madison Square Theatre in New York City (where Concordia and David attend William Gillette’s long-running production Because She Loved Him So) had an interesting ventilation system by which to keep its patrons cool in the summer: the cooler outside air from the roof was pulled in and redirected to vents under the patrons’ seats. In addition, Hoyts had a double stage that could be raised and lowered by gears and pulleys, thereby enabling quick set changes.
I love my job.
So, that’s the big news around here! Thanks to everyone for your support, and best wishes for a wonderful holiday season, no matter how or what you celebrate.