Jim Eldridge: Murder at the Fitzwilliam Monday, Oct 8 2018 


London-born author Jim Eldridge had a host of jobs before teaching led him to writing scripts for radio and television. He’s written SciFi, Children’s and YA fiction, including books for early readers and reluctant readers.

But Auntie M’s readers will be happy to hear Jim has turned his pen to crime fiction, with a new series that debuts with Murder at the Fitzwilliam. Set in 1894, it introduces private enquiry agent Daniel Wilson, retired from his Detective Inspector duties after investigating the Jack the Ripper case. Assisting him in this case at the Cambridge museum is archeologist Abigail Fenton.

Auntie M had the opportunity recently to ask Jim about his new series.

Auntie M: You started as a teacher before turning to writing full time. Was that always your intention?

Jim Eldridge: As well as teaching (which I loved doing), I had a variety of jobs before being able to afford to become a full-timer writer in 1978. I’d worked in offices, at a petrol station, done labouring jobs in an abattoir and even been a stoker on a blast furnace, but my ambition was always to be a full-time writer.

AM: Auntie M noticed your interest in history throughout your many series, from the early and reluctant readers books to your YA series. Is this a chance to teach readers or your natural interest?

JE: I have a deep love of history. I am a great believer in we are where we are now because of the historical events that have gone before, and that as a species we seem to keep repeating the same errors. So, yes, I do tend to stress the similarities between what’s happened in the past and what’s happening now – so readers say “we never learn.”

AM: The new Museum series starts out powerfully with Murder at the Fitzwilliam. How did you decide to choose 1894 for this series?

JE: The publishing director at Allison & Busby and I discussed various potential eras (modern, early 20th century), but we both felt that the late Victorian era heralded so many changes, both in society and technologically, that it would be a great backdrop for the series.

AM: Why the Fitzwilliam and Cambridge?

JE: Once we’d agreed for the series to use Museums for the settings of the series, we began by selecting the most famous of the oldest museums in Britain, and they were The British Museum, the Ashmolean in Oxford, and the Fitzwilliam in Cambridge. We felt that Cambridge had received less attention than Oxford out of the two oldest British University cities, so we decided to set the first adventure there.

AM: Nice to see a strong female character in archaeologist Abigail Fenton. Will she appear in the other books?

JE: Yes, she and Daniel become an investigating duo, as well as her continuing her own career as an archaeologist.

AM: Where does the series head next?

JE: Book 2 is MURDER AT THE BRITISH MUSEUM, which comes out early in 2019. Book 3, MURDER AT THE ASHMOLEAN, comes out in Autumn 2019.

AM: With three planned as of this writing, might that be extended?

JE: I hope so, if the series finds its readership, so my fingers are firmly crossed for that to happen.

AM: Mine,too, as I loved this first book. How does the radio and TV work inform your adult fiction? Do you see the books in scenes unfolding as you write?

JE: From 1971 until 2010 I was primarily a scriptwriter for TV and radio (with 250 TV scripts and 250 radio scripts broadcast). Scriptwriting is very different to novel-writing. In a script there is no place for the “interior monologue” from the characters – in a screenplay the emotions the character is feeling have to be shown by their expression and their movements. In a novel you have room to expand on what a character is feeling. However, I feel my long scriptwriting career has helped me when writing novels in developing plots (and sub-plots) and the vital importance of creating characters that readers want to know about. And you’re right, I also view a scene visually so I can write it.

AM: Who would we find on your nighttable, waiting to be read?

JE: At this moment, THE RAILWAY DETECTIVE by Edward Marston, but the one I’m really looking forward to arriving in my mailbox is DEATH UNSCRIPTED: A TRUDY GENOVA MANHATTAN MYSTERY by Marni Graff. As a former scriptwriter, this sounds my ideal mystery!

AM: You’re very kind, and I hope you will enjoy it, Jim. Thanks for giving readers insight into this new series. And now for a review of Murder at the Fitzwilliam.

Archeologist Abigail Fenton has enough hard work cataloguing recent Egyptian artificts sent to the famed Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge, while she makes her way in a largely male profession, when she stumbles across a modern body inside an ancient Egyptian sarcophagus.

Daniel Wilson has been called in by the Museum’s director to protect the museum’s reputation by quickly bringing the case to a discreet close. The former London detective brings his intuition and his experience with him, and soon finds himself going head-to-head with the local Cambridge detective, who has decided the murder was an accident.

With Abigail and Daniel agreeing this could hardly be the case, Daniel calls on the archeologist to assist him in his investigation into the identity of the dead man and how his body came to be found in the Egyptian Collection room.

Then the local papers circulate a story about a murderous mummy, destined to shake up the populace, and a second body is soon found, raising the stakes and making Daniel’s investigation harder.

There will be several paths of enquiry for them to follow; red herrings abound with distractions for both sleuths as they find their way to the the answers they seek.

Abigail and Daniel are an engaging pair of sleuths, bound by the mores of the time, which include the women’s suffragete movement. They take each other’s measure and like what they see while moving the case forward.

With accurate period details, Eldridge perfectly recreates the Cambridge of the Victorian era. A highly successful start to a captivating new series.
Available in the US November 19th~

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Thomas A Burns, Jr: Natalie McMasters Thursday, Aug 23 2018 

Please welcome Thomas Burns, to tell us about his series protagonist:


Who is this Natalie McMasters we keep hearing about?

Natalie McMasters is a detective for the new millennium.
If you’re a mystery lover like me, you’ve read all the classic detectives. Sherlock Holmes. Sam Spade. Mike Hammer. Kinsey Millhone.

What do all these sleuths have in common? Each one was a product of their era and their culture. So, too, is Natalie McMasters.

Nattie is a pre-law student at State University, a mega-college in an unnamed capital city in a southern state. As the series opens, she’s renting a house in the student ghetto with her roommates Kwaneshia and Fields. To help make ends meet, she works for her Uncle Amos Murdoch, the proprietor of the 3M detective agency, which is based in a nearby small town because the frugal Amos won’t pay the high rents in the capital.

Most of his business comes from catching insurance scofflaws who say they’re hurt but aren’t. Nattie spends most of her working hours on stakeout, waiting for a subject to do something they’re not supposed to be able to, so she can get a picture. It’s a great job for a student — she can study during all those long hours in the car.

Amos even got her a private detective trainee’s license from the state, of which she’s prouder than she likes to let on. But one day, she sees something that she’s not supposed to. That’s the premise of the first Natalie McMasters story, Stakeout!

You can read it for free on Wattpad at https://www.wattpad.com/564938180-stakeout-part-1.


Stripper!
is the first Natalie McMasters novel. The action occurs immediately after that in Stakeout!.

Nattie enters the seamy world of web cams and strip clubs to hunt a killer. Her investigation forces her to reassess many of the ideas that she’s lived by her whole life and do things she’s never considered before – strip on a stage, question her sexuality, and rediscover the meaning of love itself.

Stripper! is on sale on Amazon at https://amzn.to/2vNlh5T. It’s currently rated at 4.6 stars and has had nearly 4,000 free and paid downloads, and it was the number one download for a couple days during a free promotion in June in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender eBooks > Literature & Fiction > Lesbian Fiction and in Kindle Store > Kindle eBooks > Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender eBooks > Mystery & Detective.

Revenge! is the sequel to Stripper!. A scandalous video of Nattie from her web cam days is posted on the State campus CCTV system for all to see and is just the first in a series of vicious attacks on Nattie, her family and her friends. What could she have possibly done to someone in her short life to deserve the callous revenge her unseen tormentor is so brutally exacting?
Revenge! is available for pre-order on Amazon at https://amzn.to/2vnE6gR and will go live on August 15, 2018.

The third volume in the series is a work in progress and is entitled Trafficked! in which Nattie takes Manhattan, searching for a very important missing person. It should be available early next year.

The Natalie McMasters series is notable for its intricate plots, breakneck pace and gritty, dark atmosphere. These are definitely not cozy mysteries! Keep on reading the series and you’ll experience the transformation of an innocent college coed into a hard-boiled PI for the 21st century.

Tom started reading mysteries as a kid with the Hardy Boys, Ken Holt and Rick Brant, and graduating to the classic stories by authors such as A. Conan Doyle, John Dickson Carr, Erle Stanley Gardner and Rex Stout, to name a few. Tom has written fiction as a hobby all of his life, starting in marble-backed copybooks in grade school. He built a career as a writer, doing technical writing, science writing and editing, for nearly thirty years in industry and government. Now that he’s truly on his own as a freelance science writer and editor, he’s excited to publish his own mystery series as well.

You can follow Tom and Nattie on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/3Mdetective/?ref=bookmarks, on Twitter @3Mdetective and on Instagram at 3mdetective. A web page, blog and newsletter are coming soon on WordPress at https://www.3mdetectiveagency.com/, and you can contact Tom at tom@3mdetectiveagency.com.