Welcome Lindsay Downs!
Of the four previous Rogues and Rakehells Mystery series novella this one was the most difficult. First off, I’ve never written a book set entirely, or at least partially, during a house party. Thinking back to all the regencies I have read not one, to the best of my knowledge, addressed this type of event.
Was I on my own? No. As I thought about this book I remembered an online workshop I took years ago. During it one of the topics was house parties. I dug out my notes.
Now I had sort of a direction to go.
Of course writing romantic suspense I needed to bring conflict not to mention a body into the story. That was not only but fun. After all, who doesn’t like a spiteful young lady or a young gentleman who isn’t see all that much. When all was said and written I give you- A HOUSEPARY TO DIE FOR. Can you solve the murder?
Justin, Earl of Rosewood, has a problem. He has affections for three ladies. To help him decide which to wed several friends, former rogues, and their wives suggested he have a house party.
Then, Lady Prudence arrives. Almost immediately Justin realizes she could be the one.
As the party, over several days, progresses Justin devotes almost all his time to the lady.
The three ladies who Justin thought had feelings for him try to make Prudence unhappy to the point where one is sent packing.
When the body of Lady Anna is in the maze almost all of the guests save Prudence, her newest friend Ida and the rakehells and their wives attempt to solve the mystery of who killed Lady Anna.
Suspects are ruled out. How the body got into the maze was studied to no success.
Questions remained. Answers are never found. Or are they?
“Hurry back, dear, and I’ll have a footman move your work over to where Lady Prudence is,” Augusta, Ida’s mother, said.
Following the two mothers, Prudence made her way back to the rear lawn. As she strolled along she studied the others going back with her. She found it interesting Ladies Lara and Anna were continuing to whisper with heads together. Prudence had seen this over lunch and knowing both were close friends with Phoebe, she wondered if they might be planning to cause some sort of mischief.
While she ambled along, Prudence happened to glance ahead only to see something out of place. Before retiring for luncheon, she knew she’d put everything away, as was her habit even at home. Her painting case had been opened. From what she could tell her equipment had been disturbed.
“Mother, someone has been digging through my case,” she declared, rushing ahead.
As she got to the easel Prudence noticed the cover over the canvas had been disturbed. Lifting it, she screamed on seeing someone had taken one of her painting knifes and slashed it.
“Daughter, this is horrible. We must inform Lord Justin at once,” Julia declared.
Turning, Prudence happened to glance at the mansion, and saw Phoebe once again standing in the same window. This time, instead of a glare, the girl smiled at her. She knew Phoebe couldn’t have done this act as she’d been restricted to her suite, and there were footmen at each end.
“No, not now, but later. His Lordship is planning to go for a ride, as you heard. We also have no idea who could have done this. I know it’s a setback, but I won’t be discouraged. The next one will be even better,” Prudence told her mother as Ida walked up.
“Oh, heavens. What happened?”
“My dear Lady Ida, it seems someone doesn’t wish me to complete the portrait of His Lordship. As I was just telling our mothers before you stepped up, this won’t stop me. Now, let me get another canvas so we may return to our projects.”
Accepting a smile from Ida, Prudence hunted down Leland and shortly returned with a new stretched canvas. It made her happy that this one was taller and wider than the original. With help from the butler, she waited while it was settled on the easel but wouldn’t let him take the damaged one away. As she explained, “I wish for His Lordship to see what was done to his portrait.”
“As you wish, m’ lady.”
After retaking her seat, Prudence returned all her paints, brushes, and painting knives to where they belonged. Next, taking up a pencil, she started drawing in the major parts which included Justin and Sullivan. As she worked, she could feel the corners of her lips curl into a smile. Occasionally, she glanced over to Ida, giving the girl a few suggestions.
One even had the girl almost bouncing in her chair.
I’ve been an avid reader ever since I was old enough to hold a red leather bound first edition copy of Sir Walter Scott’s The Lady of the Lake in my lap.
So it only seemed natural at some point in my life I take up pen and paper to start writing. Over time my skills slightly improved which I attribute to my English teachers.
My breakthrough came about in the mid 1970’s when I read a historical romance written by Sergeanne Golon, Angelique. This French husband and wife team opened my eyes to the real world of fiction. Stories about romance, beautiful damsels, handsome heroes and plots which kept me hooked. Of course, being a man, I had to keep my reading hidden from others as that wasn’t appropriate reading for men.
With this new found appreciation of the written word I took up other books and devoured them as a starving person would a plate of food. I them attempted to write again. I still wasn’t satisfied so I put it aside for years as other events entered my life.
Finally, in the early years of the new millennium I tried again to write and once again met with limited success. At least now I was able to get past the first page or two. Then, in 2006 a life changing event brought me back to my love, I took a job as a security officer. This allowed me plenty of time to read different genres.
My favourite was regency. As I poured through everyone I could get my hands on I knew this could be something I wanted to attempt.
Since 2012 when my debut regency romantic suspense released I was hooked and have, except for a few contemporaries, focused on this genre.
Since 2012 I’ve lived in central Texas. I’m also a member of Romance Writers of America and their local chapter.
Where you can find me-
Facebook Pages- http://tinyurl.com/nresq5j
Lindsay Downs-Romance Author- http://tinyurl.com/kvfz468