Character Interview: Hattie Davish, A March to Remember

Traveling secretary Hattie Davish is taking her singular talents to Washington, D.C., to help Sir Arthur Windom-Greene research his next book. But in the winding halls of the nation’s capital, searching for the truth can sometimes lead to murder. 

Hattie is in her element, digging through dusty basements, attics, and abandoned buildings, not to be denied until she fishes out that elusive fact. But her delightful explorations are dampened when she witnesses a carriage crash into a carp pond beneath the shadow of the Washington Monument. Alarmingly, one of the passengers flees the scene, leaving the other to drown. The incident only heightens tensions brought on by the much publicized arrival of “Coxey’s Army,” thousands of unemployed men converging on the capital for the first ever organized “march” on Washington. When one of the marchers is found murdered in the ensuing chaos, Hattie begins to suspect a sinister conspiracy is at hand. As she expands her investigations into the motives of murder and closes in on the trail of a killer, she is surprised and distraught to learn that her research will lead her straight to the highest levels of government . . .


 

Q: Miss Davish, thank you for coming by. Tell our readers a little bit about yourself–maybe something readers might not guess?

Yes, Sir Arthur said that you would like to be introduced. I have to admit I’m not in the habit of exchanging personal information with complete strangers but since you are readers, Sir Arthur deemed it not too improper.  So, I will do my best to indulge your curiosity. First of all, of course, I’m Miss Hattie Davish. I grew up a good Catholic in St. Joseph, Missouri, where my father owned the city’s most successful men’s hat store- hence my name. I adore hats, my father taught me well, and although I usually have little appetite, I have never let a slice of cake (or sweet of any kind) go uneaten.  I fancy myself an amateur botanist, my collection being quite extensive and my knowledge coming in handy when solving a crime or two.  I thrive on a good hike.  I rarely sleep well so I often hike early before the day’s work begins. I was trained at Mrs. Chaplin’s School for Women to be a secretary and lady typewriter.  After both my parents died, my training and my typewriter were all that kept me from destitution.  As you must already know, I’m currently the historian Sir Arthur Windom-Greene’s private secretary.  I’ve worked for Sir Arthur, off-and-on, for several years now, accompanying him wherever his research of the Civil War takes him. I have also worked for several of his rich and influential friends, traveling to wherever they may be.  One might not guess that I am an avid baseball fan.  My father taught the local boys team and followed the St. Louis Browns religiously, though they were called the Brown Stockings then. I couldn’t help but be a fan.

Q: Who’s the character you get along with the best? 

Of course, Sir Arthur would expect me to mention him as we have a very good working relationship.  But since I’m being so bold to reveal other details about myself without proper introductions, I will tell you that there is another character I get along with, quite well in fact. His name is Dr. Walter Grice and he is the most handsome, caring, witty and clever man I have ever met.  We met in Eureka Spring, Arkansas when I was working for Mrs. Edwina Trevelyan, the temperance leader.  Walter, I mean, Dr. Grice has his practice there.   Despite my distrust of physicians (they treated my father terribly), Dr. Grice’s charm won my heart.  And perhaps, may I dare dream, he’ll win my hand one day as well.

Q:  Which other character do you have a conflict with?

Oh my, I must admit, I have had my share of conflicts over the past few years, especially with policemen and high society ladies.  As a working woman, I must guard my position carefully. However, when someone threatens that position, I have been known to hold my ground, if not my tongue.  And of course, I have increasingly indulged my curiosity of late, which has not won me favors or friends, except maybe Miss Lucy Shaw, an elderly lady that befriended me and relies upon me for her gossip.  Must I name them all?

Q:  Just between you and me: What do you really think of your author?

Must you ask? I think Mrs. Loan-Wilsey is quite a competent lady.  Sir Arthur is my mentor, but she is my creator.  And, although I wouldn’t admit it to her, she has done right by me, forcing me out of my sheltered existence and setting me on the path to adventure.  Without her, I wouldn’t have overcome my deepest fears, I wouldn’t have grown in confidence, I wouldn’t have met Walter, I mean, Dr. Grice.  Of course, I could’ve done without the murders she insisted I involve myself in, but alas, that is what you enjoyed the most, is it not, dear reader?

Q: It’s the reason you’re here. Miss Davish, what’s next for you?

Oh, I was afraid you were going to ask that.  May I simply reply, “I don’t know?”  The end of this current adventure, called A March to Remember, set me on an adventure of quite a different nature, both unpredictable and thrilling.  It also marked an end point, at least for now, for many of my current associations, including dear Mrs. Loan-Wilsey.  She and I must part for now.  Whether we met again for another adventure, I can only say, “I do hope so.”

 


 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Anna Loan-Wilsey, biologist, librarian, and author, writes the historical Hattie Davish Mystery series featuring a Victorian traveling secretary who solves crimes in every historic town she visits. The first in the series, A Lack of Temperance, set in 1890’s Eureka Springs, Arkansas, (an Amazon #1 bestseller) was followed by Anything But Civil (set in Galena, IL), A Sense of Entitlement (an iBook #1 bestseller set in Newport, RI), and A Deceptive Homecoming (set in St. Joseph, MO, Hattie’s hometown). A March to Remember finds Hattie caught up in the political intrigues surrounding Coxey’s Army and the first “march” on Washington, D.C. Anna lives in a Victorian farmhouse near Ames, Iowa with her family where she is happily working on new mystery adventures.

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