Today Evelyn Christie is visiting Ascroft, eh? to tell us about Murder in Belgrave Square, the latest novel in the Tommy & Evelyn Christie mystery series.
Welcome, Evelyn. 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.
Evelyn Christie here with you today. Murder in Belgrave Square is the 4th book in this series and is set in the spring of 1922. It features me and my husband, Tommy. We are Lord and Lady Northmoor, who ordinarily live in the village of Hessleham in North Yorkshire. If you are interested in where we live, look along the north-east coast of England and find a place called Filey. Hessleham is right near there J Our previous three cases are all set in and around the village and Tommy’s ancestral home, Hessleham Hall. As well as lots of villagers, family and friends, the previous stories all feature my beloved Gordon Setter dogs. In this story we are in our London home because Tommy’s Aunt Victoria, newly returned from France, wants her daughter Madeleine to have a London Season. Madeleine’s elder sister, Elise, is horribly jealous of her sister. I rather think she would have liked a Season too. Old family friend, Frederick Ryder, is staying with his family. We had just got nicely settled in when my maid found Madeleine’s French boyfriend dead on the back kitchen step. As if that wasn’t shocking enough, a newborn baby was in a basket at his feet. The police are convinced some sort of gambling club is involved, but Tommy and I believe the answer lies closer to home.
Does the writer control what happens in the story or do you get a say too?
We allow the writer some control over the story. She starts out with neat outlines, plenty of research, and a good idea of what she will write in each chapter. Then Tommy and I chime in with things she wasn’t expecting. She mutters and mumbles but always finds, towards the end, something she hadn’t planned to write works out very well for her. They attacked me in our last mystery—she had no idea that was going to happen when I went poking around in a coal bunker! In this mystery, I am caring for the abandoned baby as well as trying to unmask a killer. Our writer thinks she has given me too much to cope with and I’m going to struggle—she will find I have a much stronger backbone than she gives me credit for J
How did you evolve as the main character?
In our first mystery, we were plain old Tommy and Evelyn Christie. However, with the death of Tommy’s Uncle Charles, Tommy was elevated to second in line. I don’t want to give away too much information, but when Tommy was arrested for that crime, I simply had to step in and clear his name. Before the war, Tommy worked in the police force and I also worked in the same profession during the war. Afterwards, they no longer wanted policewomen, so solving the murders that seem to happen all around us has been a way to prove to myself I am a good detective despite being a woman!
Do you have any other characters you like sharing the story with? If so, why are you partial to them?
I’m quite partial to my husband, Tommy J As I’ve mentioned, we are a team and solve mysteries together. He can be a little over-protective but, as I point out at the beginning of this story, I rarely have cause to doubt that he absolutely adores me. I’m a very lucky woman. I’ve also mentioned our dogs, who are also characters to me. Especially the very mischievous Davey who has a penchant for stealing items of clothing and making off with them across the lawn at Hessleham Hall! The other human I am incredibly fond of is Aunt Em. In her eighties, she says things that other people would not dare. She is great fun and can usually be found in the drawing room, bossing everyone around while sipping on a gin and tonic—heavy on the gin, light on the tonic!
What’s the place like where you find yourself in this story?
This is the first time I have visited the family home in Belgrave Square. I knew it would be posh, but I wasn’t expecting the house to be quite as grand as it is. Of course, it’s smaller than our main home in Yorkshire, but it seems neater and newer. Maybe, like Aunt Em says, it’s because the furniture in the Belgrave Square house is not covered in dog hair J
Is there anything else you’d like to tell readers about you and the book?
The book is fast moving with plenty of suspects. Expect a little humor because, of course, Aunt Em is in the house! You will also see friendships and respect between me, Tommy, and our staff. Tommy understands the responsibilities he has as Lord Northmoor, but he hasn’t allowed that to spoil him as a person. This book is slightly different than the others in that we are not in our little village with all our family and friends—and the writer has given me a baby to look after(!)—but it still full of the usual murder, jealousy, love, and quite possibly a bit of blackmail. Readers have suggested the series is: Downton Abbey…with murder and mayhem! And, I must admit, I rather like that description J
Thank you for answering my questions, Evelyn, and good luck to you and your author, Catherine Coles, with Murder in Belgrave Square, the latest book in the Tommy & Evelyn Christie mystery series.
The novel is available online at Amazon
About Catherine Coles: I’ve always wanted to be an author…or a songwriter…or a nurse…or a teacher…I never have been able to make up my mind. My working career is a testament to this. Over the years, I’ve worked as a legal secretary, a night carer, in a bar while I completed my law degree, a family law practitioner, a childminder, a foster carer, a home carer, a receptionist, facilitating car deliveries for online customers, and a PA/HR Manager. Now I am living my dream as a full-time author. Well…in truth…one of my dreams—a girl should never have only one dream! Catherine lives in the northeast of England where she shares her home with her children and two spoiled dogs who have no idea they are not human!