Danvers Tincture


pouring teaMBA&M: Donna, please give our readers some insight into the mind and life of Donna Fletcher Crow?


Donna: Wow, that’s a hard one. How to describe oneself? First, I’d say I’m a very happy person. I’m very aware of my blessings: a wonderful husband of almost 49 years, 4 children and 11 grandchildren and a job I love.  Also, I think I’m well organized. I love having a structured day that allows me to go to my computer after breakfast and stay there until 3:00 when we stop for Afternoon Tea— a major tradition in our family— then a cozy evening by the fire watching old black and white movies with my husband. That’s a perfect day. Sometimes it happens.


MBA&M: What was your inspiration behind writing “A Tincture of Murder”?

DONNA: Because Lord Danvers is a Victorian True-Crime series each book has to begin with a true crime so I start by searching history and law books. I was thrilled when I found the case of the William Dove poisonings. It happened at just the right time to carry on from “To Dust You Shall Return” where we left Charles and Antonia the year before and it was set in York— one of my all-time favorite cities.

As to the fictional story I build around the true crime, I knew York was an important center for the work of Oxford Movement priests who chose (rather scandalously) to live and work among the poorest of the poor including fallen women (women who have hurt their knees, in the Monty Python phrase).

And then, just for good measure I found another horrific true crime that’s far more bizarre than anything in Dickens. So I had plenty to work with in this rather short novel.

Danvers TinctureMBA&M: How much research is involved in writing a Victorian True-Crime mystery? And where do you go to find your information?

DONNA: A lot. Fortunately, I love research. I have several books on Victorian crime, and then, of course there’s always the internet. Once I’ve identified the case I want to work with I start requesting interlibrary loans. Our Boise Public Library is wonderful and very happily borrows dusty tomes and microfilm from all over the country for me.


As to the Victorian period detail I keep files on Victorian life based on years of reading. 

MBA&M: Who was your favorite character in “A Tincture of Murder”? Why?


DONNA: That’s interesting because when I began this series Charles, Lord Danvers, was my entire focus. Antonia features very little in the first book “A Most Inconvenient Death.” As the series has progressed, however, I find myself being more and more drawn to Antonia and find it easier to write from her viewpoint. Perhaps her becoming a wife and mother rather than a “toast of the town” society leader has led to that.

MBA&M: What were the hardest/and the easiest scenes to write, why?

DONNA: The courtroom scenes were both the hardest and the easiest. They were easiest because I was using actual transcripts of the trial so I didn’t have to make anything up. They were hardest because I had to pare down hours and hours of courtroom drama to a few pages hoping to give enough information for my readers to understand it all and not so much they would become bored. Also, I had to keep the fictional story going, largely through what was happening in my viewpoint character’s mind.

MBA&M: If you could pick any character in one of the “Lord Danvers” series to be, who would it be and why?


DONNA: Oh, I would love to be the Dowager Duchess of Aethelbert— Charles’ Aunt Aelfrida. She is always so absolutely sure she is right about everything, she won’t put up with anything she considers nonsense, she rules all around her by terrorizing everyone and yet her family secretly adores her.  She is the handiest character a writer could possibly have because when I want to move the plot ahead all I have to do is have Aunt Aelfrida march in and pronounce on a subject. A perfect deus ex machina.


MBA&M: I understand the “Lord Danvers” series has 3 other stories, do you feel the reader should read the others to better understand the series, in what order or can each be read as a stand alone?


DONNA: Each story is a stand alone as to the settings and murders. The thing that progresses is Charles and Antonia’s relationship. In the first book “A Most Inconvenient Death,” set in a country house in Norfolk, Charles is grieving the death of his fiancé and only realizes at the end that he cares deeply for Antonia. “Grave Matters” is the story of their honeymoon in Scotland. In “To Dust You Shall Return,” set in Canterbury, they are finding their footing as a married couple. I think I give enough, although brief,  backstory information that the reader will understand the situation wherever they pick up the series.


MBA&M: Describe 3 words that give the reader a better understanding of this series?


DONNA: Victorian True-Crime Novels.

MBA&M:  What is the first book you remember reading?


DONNA: I remember my mother reading “Heidi” and “Bambi” to me. I read The Bobbsey Twins on my own. Since I was an only child living on a farm books were my friends and I dreamed of living in a family like the Bobbseys. That probably influenced the fact that we had 4 children— none of them twins, but now we have twin granddaughters.


MBA&M: Last but not least, please tell readers how and where to contact you and where they can purchase “A Tincture of Murder”?Danvers Tincture


DONNA: Please visit my website at www.DonnaFletcherCrow.com to see all of my books, pictures of my research trips and a tour of my garden. My blog and contact information are there, too.

“A Tincture of Murder” is available in all ebook formats.

            Kindle: http://ning.it/UsLegU

            Nook: http://ning.it/UsLyw6

Thank you, Donna for this most fascinating story of Lord Danvers,the Victorian era and a true-crime story!




Danvers Tincture

A Tincture of Murder

Charles and Antonia are off to York leaving the smoking ruins of Danvers’ ancestral home behind them. They need peace and quiet to recuperate from the near-tragedy. Instead they are thrown into nursing destitute fallen women in one of York’s worst slums. Women who keep dying inexplicably. Is a mad poisoner stalking the streets of York?

A Victorian true-crime mystery with two historical crimes, one which set legal principles still followed in courts of law today and one more bizarre than anything dreamed up by Charles Dickens.

  • Publisher: Greenbrier Book Company (November 30, 2012)
  • Language: English



(Sponsored by the author)

We are offering 1 lucky commenter a PDF copy of “TINCTURE OF MURDER”. Giveaway open internationally and will run from today January 29 until February 6,2013.



Please check out “Our Thoughts” on this title!


Thank you for spending time with us and our wonderful guest today. Please spread the word!




“A London Murder Mystery based on a true historical crime”


Inline image 1


So without further ado, welcome and now dear readers sit back and enjoy our guest….


MBA&M: Please send our readers some insight into Kate Riordan?
I am a magazine journalist by trade. These days I write on a freelance basis but previously I worked on staff at Time Out London magazine and the Guardian newspaper. I’ve written about (and done) all sorts of weird and wonderful things in the name of work – clambering about on the roof of Harrods department store, learning to sail, being hypnotised and tobogganing in Switzerland are just a few…

I’ve always wanted to write fiction, though, and the main reasons for going freelance and moving away from London to the Cotswolds were to free up more time to do this. I love writing but will also do anything to avoid it at the same time – it’s an ongoing inner battle and so having strict deadlines makes life much easier for me!


MBA&M: Where did the idea of “Birdcage Walk” come from?

A friend of mine’s aunt had been doing some research into their family tree and discovered George Woolfe (the main character) was an ancestor by marriage. In a sense, I got the skeleton of the story from that initial tip-off and my other research into the criminal case. The fiction part of it was putting flesh on those bones – hopefully in a convincing way!

MBA&M: How hard is it to write a true historical crime title and keep it true to the era and hold readers interest?

I think you have to be mindful that, even if the story is based on fact, it’s still got to be an interesting story for readers. The danger with doing too much detailed research is that you want to cram it all in and the book becomes an exercise in showing off how much you know about the period. I think a flavour of how people spoke, what they wore and what their rooms looked like is what’s important. Similarly, in terms of the facts of the criminal case in my story, I kept in as much as I could but occasionally had to whittle down the cast so readers didn’t get lost. So what was actually three witnesses in real life became one. The nice thing about writing something based on fact is that in the course of the research you get a real feel for the period just by being immersed in the language and concerns of the day.

MBA&M: 20th century London was a time of turmoil, interest, and changes. How hard was it to find research information on this crime? Where did you find the information?

 It’s true that the book is set during a fascinating period in English history. It marks the end of Queen Victoria’s long reign and, though they didn’t know it, the First World War is looming on the horizon. I began my research of the case with the Old Bailey Online, which allows you to sift through the proceedings of London’s central criminal court from 1674. It’s an absolute mine of period colour and many of the cases make fascinating – if occasionally gruesome – reading.

Aside from the case itself, I looked up all the main ‘characters’ in the 1901 English Census. This told me where they lived, their ages, occupations and the people they lived with. I discovered that two of the main characters lived just a road away from each other and that helped me to imagine how they might have met. The 1901 census was taken just months before the book’s action begins and it gave me a little shiver to think that when the forms were being filled in, none of them knew what would unfold in the coming months.

I also used the notebooks of philanthropist Charles Booth for my research, directly quoting from them a couple of times. Booth wrote a series of socially important books about London’s poor as well as creating ‘poverty maps’ showing what people earned (or didn’t) by street. These are kept at the London School of Economics but are also available to read online. They have been scanned in so you can read Booth’s footnotes to himself. I also went to Hackney Library in east London and read microfiche records of the local newspapers of the day.

MBA&M: Who was your favorite character in “Birdcage Walk” and why?

It seems like an obvious answer to choose the main character, George, but it has to be him. I wanted him to be someone the reader identified and sympathized with from the beginning and all through the events that follow. To me, he represents so many people who, in those days, were completely restricted by their low birth (as it would have been viewed then). Social mobility was non-existent for the vast majority.

MBA&M: Tell our readers a little about the secondary characters? Why some are and their importance to the storyline?

Without some of the secondary characters, the outcome of the book would have been very different indeed. I think all the secondary characters are important in one way or another. No one in real life exists in a vacuum and so the main characters inevitably do what they do in part because of those around them. George’s dissatisfaction with his lot is directly linked to his mother, for instance, and she’s not even alive when we meet him.

The key secondary character is Charles Booth, the well-known philanthropist mentioned above. As far as I know, he had no connection to George Woolfe – that part of the story is entirely invented by me. However, Booth did accompany a Constable Ryeland down Wiltshire Row around the time George was living there. I took that slender possibility of a meeting and ran with it! Other key characters are George’s father – the reticent birdcage maker – Charlotte’s odious brother-in-law Ted and her worn-out sister Annie. Poor Ted may have been very nice in real life but he’s not in the book!


MBA&M: If you were not writing,what would you be doing? Thanks, for writing…
I would be reading. I’ve always got a book on the go, almost always fiction. I read really quickly because I skim read, which is awful because sometimes I can’t remember a book and end up reading half of it for the second time before I realise. Obviously you remember all the really good ones though! I’m just about to start Hilary Mantel’s Bring up the Bodies.


MBA&M: If you could rewrite history, what would you rewrite and why?

Following on from the mention of Hilary Mantel’s books about the Tudor period, I’ll borrow something my mum has said about that time in England (she is obsessed with Elizabeth I!). If Elizabeth had married her sweetheart Robert Dudley and had lots of healthy children then the Stuarts – who were a bit of a waste of space – would never have ascended the throne after she died. Less specifically, and what should go without saying, I would do my best to un-write the two World Wars.


MBA&M: Please tell our readers where to find you and where they can purchase “Birdcage Walk”?
Birdcage Walk is an ebook (and shortly to be an audiobook available from AudioGO). It’s available online for Kindle, Nook and iPad.

Thanks,Kate, for spending a few moments with us and our readers. What a fascinating and wonderful interview! Good Luck in your future endeavors!


Birdcage Walk: A Novel

By Kate Riordan

Inline image 1

On Sale 11/6/12

Diversion Books

$3.99 U.S., eBooks


A London Murder Mystery Based on a True Historical Crime

British writer and journalist Kate Riordan combines artistic imagination with detailed research into early 20th century London, to bring readers a new work of fiction based on a true historical crime.


A young working class east London printmaker befriends a well-to-do family in the hopes of escaping the constraints of his class and station, but this auspicious relationship takes a turn when, within six months, the printmaker is charged with the murder of a young woman.


Set in the early 1900’s, at the dawning of a new century when the rigid class and gender boundaries of the Victorian age were soon to shift and realign,Birdcage Walk is a historical novel that vividly brings to life a real-life Edwardian murder and the possible miscarriage of justice that followed it.  Kate carefully researched records of London’s criminal courts, family trees, the 1901 Census, and archived handwritten notebooks, to bring her characters to life in Birdcage Walk.


READ AN EXCERPT of Birdcage Walk.



Barnes and Nobles




   Kate Riordan is a writer and journalist from England. Her first job was as an editorial assistant at the Guardian Newspaper, followed by a stint as deputy editor for the lifestyle section of London bible, Time Out magazine. There she had assignments that saw her racing reindeers in Lapland, going undercover in London’s premier department store and gleaning writing tips (none-too subtly) during interviews with some of her favorite authors. After becoming a freelancer, she left London behind and moved to the beautiful Cotswolds in order to write her first novel. Now at work on her second, a ghost story, she is visiting haunted pubs as part of her research.




“Our Thoughts” on the “Birdcage Walk” by Kate  Riordan!



*All images,descriptions,from the author’s website*
Good morning and welcome to My Book Addiction and More…
MBA&M: Give our readers some insights into Jeannie Walker,please?
Walker:  Most of the reading and writing I did was in school. Growing up on a farm didn’t leave a lot of time for anything else except tending to farm animals. Any spare time I got, I spent outside sitting under a big oak tree enjoying nature and reading a good book. A master writer once told me, “If you want to become a good author, reading a lot of books will help you become a good writer.”
MBA&M: Where did the idea of “FIGHTING THE DEVIL” come from?
Walker: It came from a real-life scenario with the arsenic poisoning murder of my ex-husband and the pursuit of justice to find his killers.
MBA&M: What character is your favorite in “FIGHTING THE DEVIL”?Why? 
Walker: Sheriff Jake Bogard is my favorite – He was a very colorful person, but also a very devoted lawman and a real-life Marshall Dillon. The Sheriff reminded me of the lawmen of long ago; like Wyatt Earp and Marshall Matt Dillon of the TV show GUNSMOKE, who would jump on their horses and chase down the bad guys.  Sheriff Bogard’s deputy was also a real-life “Festus”.  I dedicated my book to Sheriff Jake Bogard. He passed away before seeing any justice in the murder case.
MBA&M: I understand “FIGHTING THE DEVIL” is a true story, how hard was it write this amazing story?
Walker: It was incredibly hard to write. Writing it brought back a lot of bad memories and the injustice that oft times happens in the Criminal Justice System.
MBA&M: In telling your story to another crime victim of how you fought for justice what would be the first thing you would advise them to do?
Walker: Don’t give up!  It is my hope that anyone who reads my book will come to the realization that they are not alone in their struggles, no matter how big or small. And that they have the ability to overcome and the right to become their loved one’s advocate, and if necessary to become their own, real-life Sherlock Holmes.
MBA&M: How has this horrific event changed you and your family’s lives forever?
Walker: My children lost their father in a horrific way. I lost my best friend. This case is still an open murder case, as the main suspect (the widow) has yet to be tried or convicted for her part in the heinous murder. The good news is that there is no time limit on murder.
MBA&M: Did you get much backlash for writing “FIGHTING THE DEVIL”?
Walker: No, people wanted me to write the story. Some even begged me to write a book about it, after seeing the story on TV.
MBA&M: How did your family and other loved ones feel about you telling your story?
Walker: Some of my family wanted me to tell only parts of the story. But, a true story has to contain the facts, and the good with the bad.
MBA&M: What where the challenges in writing ‘FIGHTING THE DEVIL”?
Walker: Condensing three file cabinets full of binders loaded with medical records, police reports, trial transcripts and other information into an informative, interesting and entertaining concept for the reader.
MBA&M: Please tell our readers where to find you and where “FIGHTING THE DEVIL” is available. 
Walker:  My true crime story is available many places.  My Author Website at: http://jeanniewalkerbooks.com 
                 Jeannie, do you have anything else to add today?
I would like to thank you and your readers for the kindness, valuable time and the opportunity to tell you about my true crime story.
Jeannie, it must have been very rewarding while exhausting fighting for justice. My heartfelt congratulations go out to you on your courage, bravery, and your desire for justice.
Thank you so much for sharing your story and that of your ex-husband with us and our readers!!   
Video “Fighting the Devil”

Fighting the Devil: A True Story of Consuming Passion, Deadly Poison, and Murder by Jeannie Walker

Editors Choice

Publisher:CreateSpace (May 25, 2011)



ISBN-13: 978-1460992333

Description(from the author’s website)

A Texas millionaire rancher discovered his wife and bookkeeper had stolen thousands of dollars from him. After he demanded the money back, he started getting sick. While in the hospital, doctors were mystified as to how an otherwise healthy, energetic man could become so deathly ill. The dying man told everyone within earshot that his wife and bookkeeper were killing him. The man’s wife said her husband was hallucinating from drugs the doctors were giving him. The millionaire rancher succumbed in the hospital while strapped down to his bed with restraints on his hands and feet and tubes in every orifice. After the rancher died, an anonymous caller tipped off the police. The widow was the sole beneficiary of the estate and a $350,000 life insurance policy. A week before the man’s death, a teenager visited the rancher’s home and became deathly ill after he drank juice that was in the rancher’s refrigerator. Two years after the millionaire’s death, a bottle of arsenic was found in a storage locker rented by a woman under an assumed name. The millionaire’s ex-wife, the mother of his children, became a sleuth to help solve the murder. No one could have predicted the aftermath with its strange twists, unexplained phenonema and  unexpected results.




*Please Facebook,Twitter,Linked,”Like”,Tag,blog, and spread the work about this fascinating story of true courage,bravery and determination,”FIGHTING THE DEVIL”*


*Sponored by the author*
We are offering 1 e-book copy from Amazon of “FIGHTING THE DEVIL” by Jeannie Walker to 1 lucky commenter. Giveaway open from today April 23 until April 30,2012.
“Coming soon”
*Please visit www.mybookaddictionreviews.wordpress.com for our “Thoughts” on “Fighting The Devil” by Jeannie Walker*