Tag Archives: Boston

December Newsletter

FACEBOOK HEADER SAM AND ANN

This week, The Big Chill, book three in the Sam Smith Mystery Series, made the top one hundred on the Amazon private detective chart, alongside Sue Grafton, Arthur Conan Doyle and Robert B Parker.

Set at Christmas, and with a snow storm gripping the city, someone is out to murder private detective Samantha Smith. Using her wits and skills as a detective, Sam sets out to track down the assassin leading to a dramatic showdown in her snowbound apartment.

https://www.amazon.com/Hannah-Howe/e/B00OK7E24E

HH Book 3 The Big Chill FINAL RGB

I have storyboarded Boston, book fourteen in the Sam Smith Mystery Series. This story takes place over Christmas and features a range of new characters, including Gabe, a Boston private eye. The picture shows a south-east view of Boston, c1730.

889px-A_south_east_view_of_the_great_town_of_Boston_in_New_England_in_America_(NYPL_Hades-250999-465401)

In chapter three of Saving Grace, my forthcoming Victorian mystery novel, Daniel Morgan, my advocate, meets Grace Petrie, his client, for the first time. Grace reminds Daniel of Jean-Baptiste Greuze’s paintings, in particular the sensuality of the lady in ‘The White Hat’, pictured, and the vulnerability of the girl in ‘The Broken Vessel’.

Jean-Baptiste_Greuze_The_White_Hat_2120759508

The picture below is from my research into Victorian fashions for my forthcoming novel, Saving Grace. Saving Grace is set in 1876 when slimline dresses, bottom left of picture, were in.

Fashions

Below, the location for the dramatic finale in Betrayal, Ann’s War Mystery Series book one. This location also features in the Sam Smith Mystery Series.

If you have any comments or questions about my books please feel free to contact me via my website. Thank you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Background on the Books

The Hermit of Hisarya is set in Bulgaria, and the dramatic finale takes place on the streets of Plovdiv Old Town, pictured.

15578573_1244246665619337_5173776458998145094_n

You can read an extract from the book here

One of the characters in Secrets and Lies is loosely based on Dorothy Parker. Here are five of my favourite Dorothy Parker quotes:

“The first thing I do in the morning is brush my teeth and sharpen my tongue.”

“If you want to know what God thinks of money, just look at the people he gave it to.”

“I hate writing, I love having written.”

“Don’t look at me in that tone of voice.”

“I’m not a writer with a drinking problem, I’m a drinker with a writing problem.”

220px-Young_Dorothy_Parker

Newton Beach. Sam’s husband, Dr Alan Storey, and a troubled Vittoria Vanzetti walk along this beach in Family Honour.

In the 1920s and 1930s a local physician, Dr Hartland, created an open-air spar on the beach and dispensed spring water. His spar was very popular, and people flocked from miles around.

received_1351061794989448

Sins of the Father features Sam’s dad and his nefarious past. The story includes a brutal murder, which reminds Sam of Bugsy Siegel’s murder, witnessed through archive photographs. Bugsy Siegel, pictured in a 1928 mugshot, was a mobster, one of the most infamous and feared gangsters of his day. He was a celebrity, a driving force behind the development of the Las Vegas Strip and a founder of Murder, Inc. A bootlegger during Prohibition, Siegel turned to gambling. Noted for his prowess with guns and violence, in 1939 he was tried for the murder of fellow mobster Harry Greenberg, but in 1942 was acquitted. Either due to mobster infighting, or an illicit affair, Siegel was shot dead on 20th June 1947 by an unknown gunman.

Although not as dark as reality or the mobster films of the 1940s through to the 1970s, Sins of the Father is my homage to that strand of the private detective genre.

Mugshot_Benjamin_Siegel

The music track is Danny Bailey from Elton John’s classic Goodbye Yellow Brick Road album. Danny Bailey is lyricist Bernie Taupin’s composite gangster from the Prohibition era.

Looking ahead to 2018 when Sam will be travelling to Boston, I have been researching the past and present of the city and the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Puritan settlers from Boston, Lincolnshire gave Boston its name, on 7th September 1630. The Puritan focus on education led to the founding of America’s first public school, in Boston, in 1635. Throughout the seventeen century Boston continued to develop into the largest town in British America until Philadelphia grew larger in the mid-eighteenth century. My Sam Smith mystery story, called Boston, will be set at Christmas, amongst the snow.

The picture shows a south-east view of Boston, c1730.

889px-A_south_east_view_of_the_great_town_of_Boston_in_New_England_in_America_(NYPL_Hades-250999-465401)

 

 

Sam’s Sunday Supplement #18

Welcome to Sam’s Sunday Supplement #18, a weekly digest of news from Sam’s World.

FACEBOOK HEADER SAM AND ANN

The writing of Digging in the Dirt, Sam Smith Mystery Series #12, is nearly complete so my thoughts are turning to A Parcel of Rogues, book #13. All my books are based on psychological or sociological issues and that will continue with A Parcel of Rogues. I also use real-life situations in my books, in fictitious form, and that will also continue. New characters will be introduced alongside old favourites and I hope this will keep the stories fresh. Meanwhile, I’m also researching material for Boston, book #14

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

In Digging in the Dirt, Sam finds herself in a cave surrounded by flowstones, stalactites, stalagmites and helictites. Helictites, pictured, swivel on their axis during development, thus defying gravity. Delicate with their radial symmetry, they are brittle, fragile in their beauty.

 

Who was Jack the Ripper? Joseph Barnett, William Bury, Severin Klosowski, Montague Druitt, Sir William Gull, James Maybrick, Walter Sickert, Dr Francis Tumblety, Prince Albert Victor, Aaron Kosminski (pictured in the Illustrated London News, 1888), or A.N. Other? The crucial question is, why did the murders stop? Maybe Jack discovered that there was something good on television at 11.30 pm on a weekday night, and decided to stay in. Clearly, this is a facetious answer because a) everyone knows that the Victorians did not have television and b) everyone also knows that there is nothing good on television at 11.30 pm on a weekday night. So why did the murders stop? Maybe Jack, appalled by his actions, committed suicide. That’s possible, though the psychopathic mind does not, generally speaking, regard murder as appalling; a psychopath does not have a conscience. Maybe someone murdered Jack. Again, possible because Jack was walking dangerous streets at night in areas prone to violence. Against that is the argument that Jack was a professional person, familiar with the human anatomy. If a professional person was found murdered on an East End street, surely that would attract great attention and suspicion? Or maybe Jack was placed in an asylum on matters unrelated to the murders. The Victorians were big on asylums and were quick to place anyone they considered not normal – define ‘normal’ (!) – in an asylum. My Victorian ancestor, Mary, suffered psychological problems after the birth of her fourth child and spent the rest of her life, a further thirty years, in an asylum. So it is possible that someone observed Jack behaving abnormally – it’s highly likely that he displayed such behaviour on a regular basis, away from the murders – and Jack was placed in an asylum. For what it’s worth, I favour the asylum theory. And Jack’s identity? I would select A.N. Other.

jack-the-ripper

Meanwhile, here is my modern Ripper
Amazon Review: If I could rate this more than five stars I would. Hannah Howe’s Sam Series just keeps getting better and better!
I absolutely love how she entwines a mystery, thriller with the drama of Sam’s personal situation. There are some real surprises in this story (and I’m not revealing any of them), but as a reader, the more I read in each series, the more engaged I am in Sam Smith, her loved ones, and the author cleverly reveals snippets of her life that open you up more and more, wanting more and more from the next book.
The Ripper story itself is great! Its a story we well know of, there is a killer, someone out there after prostitutes and leaving a deadly trail in their midst. But there is more to this story than meets the eye and that’s what makes the Sam Smith Series truly wonderful.
I listened to this on audible and the narrator does an excellent job!
A must read in any format!
It is always satisfying when readers enjoy your books and you feel that you have brought some pleasure into their lives. A review of The Big Chill on Amazon.
I started with book 1 then 2 and 3. Hannah Howe is a wizard with the way she creates suspense and intrigue. As I start each of her books in this series I can’t seem to put them down. My 4th of July weekend has joyously been consumed by reading several of her books. I don’t know when I’ve enjoyed time like that as much as right now. If you are looking for very well written mystery books, this series would be very hard to beat. Get them in order and read at your own pace but, do yourself a favor and read them. I very seldom give a 5 star rating but have to in this case.

 

 

Happy New Year!

To get by, I need to eat, drink, love, write and listen to music. This song, written by Tom Schultz, seems appropriate for New Year’s Day. Happy New Year!

Don’t look back

A new day is breakin’
It’s been too long since I felt this way
I don’t mind where I get taken
The road is callin’
Today is the day

I can see
It took so long to realize
I’m much too strong
Not to compromise
Now I see what I am is holding me down
I’ll turn it around

I finally see the dawn arrivin’
I see beyond the road I’m drivin’
Far away and left behind

It’s a new horizon and I’m awakin’ now
Oh I see myself in a brand new way
The sun is shinin’
The clouds are breakin’
Cause I can’t lose now, there’s no game to play

I can tell
There’s no more time left to criticize
I’ve seen what I could not recognize
Everything in my life was leading me on
But I can be strong

I finally see the dawn arrivin’
I see beyond the road I’m drivin’
Far away and left behind

Don’t look back