Today Emily Gates is visiting Ascroft, eh? to tell us about Murder at the Marlowe Club, the latest novel in Kate Parker’s Milliner mystery series.
Welcome, Emily. Let’s get started, shall we?
Tell us about the novel that you live inside. Is it part of a series? If so, please tell us about the series too.
Hi, I’m Emily Gates, a milliner (hat maker) in London in 1905. My newest story is Murder at the Marlowe Club, the second in The Milliner Mystery series.
Does the writer control what happens in the story or do you get a say too?
Kate Parker, the author, keeps presenting me with murder victims. After that, I keep demanding time to work in my shop, and Kate, through Lady Kaldaire, keeps throwing roadblocks in my path.
How did you evolve as the main character?
It’s my life. It’s my story. Of course, I’m the main character. If Kate gave Lady Kaldaire half a chance, she’d become the main character and then who knows what kind of silly trouble we’d find ourselves in. Kate wants someone with common sense to solve these murders.
Do you have any other characters you like sharing the story with? If so, why are you partial to them?
My grandfather is wonderful. He’s wise and witty and very sympathetic. Since I’m his only granddaughter among more than a dozen grandsons, I’m his favorite. He’s the head of our family and the family business, which I take no part in.
Since you ask, no, I don’t want to be part of the family business. They’re conmen and burglars and criminals and swindlers. My late mother kept us far away from my father’s family and their business, and while I learned to pick locks and find hidden cubbyholes while on visits to my grandparents, I try not to use those skills. Ask anyone. I’m a respectable milliner with an aristocratic clientele.
And if I weren’t respectable, Detective Inspector James Russell of Scotland Yard would have nothing to do with me. He was raised by a clergyman and stays very much on the right side of the law. On the other hand, he thinks of my grandfather as a gentleman.
What’s the place like where you find yourself in this story?
I live in London, a teeming, smoggy city. I live in a flat above the shop with Noah, my mother’s cousin and my business partner, my younger brother Matthew, and Annie, an eight-year-old we found hiding with our horse the winter before last. She’s afraid to tell us anything about her family, and as I won’t have turning the child over to the poor house on my conscience, I’ve made her my apprentice and send her to the local school.
Across the alley in back of the shop is Noah’s workshop where most of the work in making hats takes place. It’s a thriving business. Everyone always needs a new hat. We’re located in the near West End so our customers don’t have to travel far to visit us. My father’s family live in the East End, although with their criminal ingenuity, they could afford to live someplace better.
There’s a mix of automobiles, busses, horse drawn carts, elegant carriages, and hansom cabs on the crowded streets. The city is ringed with train stations taking people all over the country. There’s even an underground train taking people across London, but I’m not daring enough to use it, and seldom need to go far enough to make it worthwhile. London is the greatest city on earth and is the center of the Empire. And we’re in a brand new century with a new King and Queen. Things couldn’t be better.
Is there anything else you’d like to tell readers about you and the book?
Just that Kate did a great job of telling my story. I had quite an adventure, and now I’m happy to be back to life as usual.
Thanks for answering my questions, Emily, and I’d like to wish you and your author, Kater Parker good luck with Murder at the Marlowe Club, the latest book in the Milliner Mystery series.
The novel is available at the following online retailers:
About Kate Parker: Kate grew up reading her mother’s collection of mystery books and her father’s library of history and biography books. Now she can’t write a story that isn’t set in the past with a few decent corpses littered about.