Olivia Denis is hesitant to help an old family friend get ready for her wedding outside London. The so-called friend is a master at using people. As a young widow trying to find her way through a new romantic relationship, Olivia would rather avoid the large party.
She definitely didn’t plan to find the bride’s grandfather stabbed to death. The cruel, enormously rich aristocrat had changed his will only the day before, angering all his children.
As Olivia is forced to investigate the murder, she’s called away by her employer, the owner of an influential London daily newspaper. She must carry out another secret assignment, one that will take her to Vienna, now part of Nazi Germany.
With war on the horizon and attacks on the old man’s family increasing, can Olivia find a way to save lives in two countries?
Q: Tell our readers a little bit about yourself–maybe something readers might not guess?
A: I’m Olivia Denis, now 26, slender, auburn haired, widowed, living in my late husband’s flat, working at a large London daily newspaper on the society columns. Your readers probably know all that about me already.
But do they know, in conflict with society’s rules, I seldom wore mourning for my late husband and have given it up altogether far sooner than I should have? Even the most modern interpretation of mourning rituals for widows has us wearing solid black with a thick veil over our faces for at least a year.
This was ruled out during working hours by the newspaper’s owner, Sir Henry Benton, as a distraction to our jobs of collecting and reporting the news. I could either wear mourning or work. And since I wanted to keep the flat and not move home, during the week, I couldn’t wear mourning.
And then there is a young man, Adam Redmond, a Captain in the British Army. We are quite good friends. In fact, he’s been hinting about marriage, but I think it’s too soon after Reggie’s death. Adam finds my wearing mourning off putting to his courting, and I certainly understand that. I don’t want to lose Adam. I’m falling in love with him. And so, as much as I mourn Reggie and regret his death, I’m flying in the face of convention by not wearing mourning throughout Deadly Scandal and Deadly Wedding.
Q: Who’s the character you get along with the best?
A: That would be Adam. He brightens my days, looks after my safety when a killer strikes, and I miss him terribly when he’s off doing who knows what for army counterintelligence. He’s handsome, brilliant, funny…I could go on, but you get the idea.
Q: Which other character do you have a conflict with?
A: My father, Sir Ronald Harper. My father was away during the Great War, and shortly after he returned, my mother died in the great influenza epidemic. After that, it was just the two of us, and we are such different types. He is stuffy, Victorian in his beliefs, and fussy in that I always had to look and behave perfectly. While he made me learn to pack and dress neatly and speak three languages fluently, I wanted some freedom. I was a teenager in the Roaring Twenties. I wanted to sneak into dance halls and roll down my stockings and bob my hair. Not with Father around. I missed out on the entire decade, hidden away in a girls’ boarding school while he traveled for the Foreign Office. By the time I reached university, the depression had started and fun was subdued.
Q: Just between you and me: What do you really think of your author?
A: I think she has a wicked sense of humor. On the other hand, she’s unkind to me. She sends me into danger and lets me make a fool of myself on occasion while she stays safely back at her computer dreaming up more adventures for me. You’d think turn about would be fair play, but no. She gets to sit home in her office surrounded by books while I go out investigating murder and mayhem…I changed my mind. I’m glad I get to have the adventures. Kate is nearly as boring as my father.
Q: What’s next for you?
A: Kate tells me I’ll start out interviewing the daughter of the Duke of Ashburn for the society page and while there I’ll meet Vivi Vienne, the famous fashion designer. Vivi, always a lover of publicity, takes a shine to me, and adventures, and murder, ensue. It will be called Deadly Fashion.
Kate Parker has wanted to travel to 1930s England since she read her mother’s Agatha Christie and Dorothy Sayers mysteries when she was a schoolgirl. After many years of studying science, she decided a time travel machine was out of the question so she found herself limited to reading about the period and visiting historic sites. Her love of this fascinating and challenging period led her to the research from which the Deadly series grew. Eventually, she found it necessary to spend several days in the British Library reading old newspapers, which meant another trip to England. Near Christmas. A sacrifice she’d gladly make every year.
The first story in the series is Deadly Scandal, released January 14, 2016.