It’s back to the Victorian age for Harpenden crime author
- Credit: Archant
A prolific Harpenden crime author has released the fifth book in her acclaimed Victorian Detectives series.
Wonders and Wickedness is the latest outing for Det Insp Leo Stride and Det Sgt Jack Cully, who operate in Victorian London in the 1860s, the favourite time period of creator Carol Hedges.
In the novel, which takes its title from a quote in Charles Dickens’ novel David Copperfield, a dead body is found in one of the display windows of a London department store, and two parents receive an unexpected letter from their daughter who died in a railway accident two years previously.
Carol publishes her novels under her own imprint, Little G books, named after her granddaughter, and the other books in the series are Diamonds and Dust, Honour and Obey, Death and Dominion and Rack and Ruin.
The series features cameo appearances from famous historical figures including Dickens and Queen Victoria.
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Carol, who has also written 17 novels for both adults and teenagers, said: “I do a lot of research both before and during writing: I read the novels of the time, I research online using the many Victorian sites that have original articles from the time, and I visit London and take photos of the places I feature.”
She explained that she chose to write about the 1860s partly because of the extent of societal change at the time and because most Victorian detective novels tend to be set at a later period.
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She said: “I love the Victorian age - I studied it at university and I wanted to write about the period but I didn’t want to write about the 1880s, which is Jack the Ripper and Sherlock Holmes because that’s quite overcrowded.
“I decided to write about the 1860s because a lot was happening. It’s not a period that’s written about a lot.
“Each book is set a year ahead so the first is in 1860, the second is 1861 etc. We are now up to 1864, which is the year that the first John Lewis department store opened in Oxford Street.
“The 1860s were the start of the detective novel. Wilkie Collins wrote the first detective novel and Dickens had Inspector Bucket in Bleak House.”
Carol is currently working on the sixth book in the series. Each one takes her eight or nine months to write a first draft, followed by a break before going back and editing.