Murder at the Marlowe Club
croquet club

What a treat to have Kate Parker stop by and impart some manners! Well, Edwardian manners. Have you ever thought about how it would be for you to live during that era?

Historical Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Publisher: JDP Press

Edwardian Manners

Imagine every man standing every time you walk into, or out of, a room. Even your pesky little brother. Imagine not being allowed to attend your husband’s funeral or leave the house from the time of his death until after the funeral is over. Knowing all the different ways a calling card was used for visiting and invitations was necessary for every woman.

Women in Edwardian times were shown the gallantry of Victorian times. Indeed, some outward signs of respect, such as standing when a lady entered a room, didn’t go out of style until World War II and beyond. The Victorian habit of unmarried women not being able to walk out of doors unaccompanied in their own neighborhoods or in parks disappeared in the Edwardian age, as long as it was daylight and they didn’t stop to look in shop windows or sit on a park bench. Married women could take their time, but either married or unmarried, women had to be indoors at dusk or in the company of a male relative.

This was a detail Petey Gates didn’t understand when he is sent, apparently unwillingly, to bring Emily to her grandfather’s house for a meeting in Murder at the Marlowe Club. This is an unwritten rule Emily understands and follows when she rides in an automobile with her father and uncle when she thinks she could get to her grandfather’s house faster on foot.

“At Home” cards, rather than formal invitation cards, were sent for garden parties of the Edwardian era. Tennis or croquet, depending on the size of the garden, was written in one corner of the card. The date of the party was written below the hostess’s name and the time above it. A typical garden party began at four and ended at seven or eight, after supper, if there wasn’t to be dancing.

Calling cards, plain print of name and address, with Miss whoever underneath her mother’s name, were used in the Edwardian era despite displaying fancy script early in the Victorian era. There was a formal routine to the process of leaving cards.

Within a few days of being formally introduced to someone or accepting hospitality such as a dinner or ball at someone’s house, a lady would drop her card off at another lady’s home. This had to be done between three and six in the afternoon, the proper hours for making calls. The response to this leaving of cards is for the recipient to make a call on the lady who left her card so a “friendship” had been established between the two ladies. At this stage, the lady who first left her card might be invited to an “At Home” by the use of an “At Home” card with the day and time written in. There she would meet the friends of the lady holding the tea party so they can decide if this Edwardian lady is compatible with their social circle. It’s only after all this that the lady leaving a card for the second lady can nod to her if they meet on the street, because acknowledging another on the street can only be done if they have an established relationship.

This only scrapes the surface of the nuances of Edwardian manners. With our great informality today, manners in the Edwardian era seem as distant to us as those of Georgian times.

A corpse in a corset. A dangerous gambling den. A risky path between safety and peril.

London, 1905. Leading milliner Emily Gates’ illegal shortcut through a private park in the rain brought her straight to a scantily clothed corpse. Then her route took her straight into the hands of the indefatigable Lady Kaldaire, who recognized the body as a relative of her longtime friend, the Duchess of Wallingford. Lady Kaldaire blackmailed Emily before to find Lord Kaldaire’s killer. Why not this murderer, too?

Emily has plenty of reasons why not, but finding links between her father’s nefarious family of crooks and conmen and the debauchery of the secretive Marlowe Club involves her in the investigation led by the handsome Inspector Russell of Scotland Yard. Emily discovers more than she expects about the licentious world of the corpse through her aristocratic customers, including Georgia, heroine of the Victorian Bookshop Mysteries, now the Duchess of Blackford. Are the scandal rags correct, or has the victim been maligned by a mastermind who’ll stop at nothing to gain everything?

This is a historical cozy mystery with no graphic violence, sex, or foul language. Just exciting action, mysterious events, and surprising endings. Check out these books set in Victorian London:

Kate Parker grew up reading her mother’s collection of mystery books and her father’s library of history and biography books. Now she can’t write a story that isn’t set in the past with a few decent corpses littered about. 

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