Here’s a little fact sheet about my upcoming series.
This is a historical mystery series featuring a turn-of-the-century New Woman who, along with her spiritualist friend and ex-detective-turned-deputy-sheriff brother, help the local police solve crimes in a small Northern California town.
The first book is set in 1903 and the series progresses throughout the first decade of the 20th century. From there, who knows?
The series takes place primarily in Arrojo, California, located in Northern California somewhere between San Francisco and Sacramento. Arrojo is one of those small dusty towns not completely stereotypically “Wild West” but not totally city-wise either. As the apex of Arrojo County, it includes a small population of upper class families in conflict with a middle class majority because they consider themselves superior and entitled to make all civic decisions on the town. The small working class population is its “dirty little secret” and pushed past the railroad station and the other side of the river — a sort of mini-Barbary Coast.
The Who (i.e., the main players)
Adele Gossling, a product of youth in the Progressive Era. She runs her own business and owns her own house. She is a firm believer in human rights, reforms, and philanthropic deeds but she also has her vanities, such as putting on her New Woman face even when she’s feeling vulnerable. Her stubborn personality often puts her in conflict with Arrojo’s community leaders. Her unconventional ways and interest in crime have gained the disapproval of many of Arrojo’s prominent citizens, especially those ladies who have antiquated notions of a “woman’s place” and believe profoundly in the separate spheres.
Jackson Gossling, Adele’s older brother. He’s a former detective with the vigilante Seton Agency (similar to the Pinkertons) with a rather shady past. He’s trying to pick up the pieces of his life so that he can become something more than a wastrel and idler. His devotion to his sister brings him to Arrojo and his keen eye for detail and fearless ability to ask the hard questions make him an invaluable aid to the police.
Anita (Nin) Branch, a citizen of Arrojo and considered the town “witch” because of her spiritual abilities and knowledge of healing herbs. She’s a bit of an outcast, tolerated only because her roots are as worthy as those those of the town’s prominent citizens. She loathes the term “mesmerizer” and calls herself a “vibrationist”, someone who can interpret vibrations given off by people, places, and things. Her friendship with Adele and her vibe readings lend support to police investigations.
Sheriff Horatio Hatfield, an ex-sea captain and elected sheriff of Arrojo. In contrast to Jackson’s more formal and direct interrogative tactics, he is friendly, relaxed but firm, always congenial and never threatening. These qualities contrast with his large and almost looming physical presence. He is meticulous in his job and broaches the unsavory, uncomfortable, and abhorrent with finesse and understanding.
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Photo Credit: Illustration from “The Adventure of Charles Augustus Milverton”, Sydney Paget, Strand Magazine, 1904: Sebastian Wallroth/ Wikimedia Commons http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Chas-05.jpg / PD Art (PD Old 100) http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Chas-05.jpg