Just four more days and my second book should be available on Amazon. Here as promised is Part 2 of how the book was created.
The opening chapters of the book deal with a very long and difficult coroner’s inquest. If you are into crime writing, especially historical crime, the published coroner’s inquests are a gold mine of information. I found so much useful information in a number of old newspapers.
You have probably already guessed that the subject of my book is a poison murder. The coroner is always called to action in the case of any sudden or suspicious death. In my story the coroner faces difficulties from the start and has to send off some mortal remains to be examined by an eminent surgeon. Then some bad news. Both key suspects have disappeared! The police soon round them up and the story really gets going. Evidence soon starts to mount against the woman and not the man involved. She is trapped in an unhappy marriage, her husband is abusive and she has already reported him to the magistrates. The couple are well known for arguing but now the husband lies buried in a churchyard. It is proved that she has sent others out to buy poison.She has tried to get some witnesses to change their evidence. The most damning evidence is when two witnesses report on hearing her threaten to poison her husband. The witnesses report her exact words….
“Blast you I’ll put a stop to it; I’ll poison you if it’ll be longer first.”
Here we have some actual reported early Victorian dialogue. This is one of the things that fascinates me about researching true crime. I am amazed at how similar the language was so many years ago but sometimes you come across odd words and sayings like this. You actually have two interesting things here. First we have some authentic early Victorian swearing. Can you spot it? The first two words! Doesnt sound like swearing but it was, and this brought back a childhood memory. Brought up in 1950s/ 60s Nottingham I distinctly recall adults saying something when they were angry… “Damn and blast” I realise now some 50+ years later that the adults were swearing!
Now lets have a look at what remains. It is a phrase, it has a particular meaning and I doubt you will guess it so here is a modern translation. For “I’ll poison you if it’ll be longer first”, read…….”If its the last thing I do I will poison you!” Does it really matter how your people talk in your writing? Is it that important? Well yes I think it is anyway but even the more so if you are writing about historical events and claim yours is a true story. I certainly did not find the F word in my research and wouldn’t dream of using it even if writing early Victorian fiction. I think such small details are really important and help give your writing some gravitas,some authenticity.
Anyway I digress. Back to the inquest. After many long days the inquest is over and the jury go out to reach a verdict …… and stay out…… and stay out. At 3.00 in the morning they are locked into a room until they do come to a decision and finally after 18 hours they decide to send both man and woman to an assizes trial. The coroner is livid,he has just found out that one of the jurors is related to one of the prisoners and has been secretly working for them….
And that is where I will leave my story today. Tomorrow : The Assizes Trial
This is Indie writer and researcher Mike Sheridan signing off as he he has to get back to drafting his book……………………………………….