I’ve been a huge fan of classic authors like Agatha Christie, Anna Katharine Green, Mary Roberts Rinehart, and Dorothy L. Sayers since I was a teenager. For more recent historical cozy mystery authors, my favs are Sara Rosett, Lee Strauss, Alice Duncan, and T. E. Kinsey.
In 2003, I was going through a period of self-doubt about my writing. National Novel Writing Month rolled around in November, and since NaNoWriMo has always been an opportunity for me to experiment outside my comfort zone, I thought, “Why not try my hand at writing a mystery?” Given my love of classic crime, the choice to write a historical mystery was a no-brainer.
I started with an idea for the Adele Gossling Mysteries (then called The Paper Chase Mysteries) that November, and I haven’t stopped getting ideas for series since (last count, my series “Book Ideas” was 35 pages long.) This series includes everything I love: a dynamic era, a strong, sassy female sleuth, an equally gutsy “sidekick,” a progressive-thinking sheriff, and a host of eccentric, lovable people in a small town setting. And a touch of romance? Well, maybe…
Here are more details about this series:
A historical cozy featuring a New Woman, who, along with her clairvoyant friend and ex-detective-turned-deputy-sheriff brother, helps the local police solve crimes in a small California town.
The first book is set in 1903. What year will the series end? Who can say!
The series takes place primarily in the fictional town of Arrojo (Spanish for “daring”) in Northern California. Arrojo is one of those small, dusty towns that started to shed its “Wild West” roots at the turn of the century. Like many small towns of that era, Arrojo shuns progress and hangs on to Victorian values, including ideas of how women should behave.
The Who (i.e., the main players)
Adele Gossling, owner of Adele’s Stationery Shop, epistolary expert, and a product of the Progressive Era. She had a former life in San Francisco among the well-to-do owing to her deceased father’s success as a criminal lawyer. She moves to Arrojo in Book 1 with the idea of recovering from her father’s death and escaping a certain young man who is trying to pressure her into a marriage she isn’t ready for.
Adele has her faults. She “talks in riddles,” as her brother calls it, and sometimes sticks her nose in places it isn’t wanted. Her interest in crime wins the disapproval of many Arrojo citizens, especially the prominent ladies in town who have antiquated notions of a woman’s place.
Jackson Gossling, Adele’s older brother. He’s a former detective who worked with the vigilante Anspach Agency (a fictional agency modeled after the Pinkertons). His father had plans for him to follow in his footsteps, but Jackson ran off to join the Anspaches and later kicked around Chicago for several years before returning to San Francisco. His devotion to his sister brings him to Arrojo, and his commitment to proper procedure and his observant eye make him invaluable to Arrojo’s sheriff.
Anita (Nin) Branch, a clairvoyant who befriends Adele. Considered the town “witch” because of her spiritual abilities and knowledge of herbs, she’s an outcast, tolerated only because her roots are as firmly planted in “old money” as some of the town’s prominent citizens. She relies on intuition and “feelings” about people, places, and things. Her gift lends support to police investigations.
Horatio Hatfield, an ex-sea captain and Arrojo’s elected sheriff. In contrast to Jackson’s formal tactics, he is relaxed and congenial, despite his massive (for the time) physical size. He approaches the unsavory, uncomfortable, and abhorrent with finesse and understanding. Around women, he is shy and a little flustered.
Here’s where you can pick up the first book in the series for free!
And don’t forget, you can get the Adele Gossling Mysteries novella, The Missing Ruby Necklace for free if you sign up for my newsletter here.