History Hoydens post up on the London Customs House fire of 1814! The fire destroyed not only the Customs House and all the records of the Revenue Service (including the irreplaceable notebooks kept by revenue officers stationed all over England), but also many of the surrounding buildings—partly because a rumor started that there were barrels of gunpowder stored in the building and the firemen refused to get near it…
Come and tell me about your favorite disaster!
New History Hoydens post up, about the history of sightings of murder victims. Cool stuff! Apparently the idea was taken so seriously through the first part of the eighteenth century that a ghost sighting of someone could be enough to open a murder investigation without any other reason for suspicion!
New History Hoydens post up! The Very Bloody History of the Hawkhurst Gang of smugglers (no relation to Adrian!), including a pitched battle with a village, a raid on a Customs House, and some good old-fashioned torture and murders.
It’s research time again! I’m still revising Sweet Disorder, but I’m researching my next project too. It’s tentatively titled “The Spare Heir” and takes place in Orkney! You might remember my trip to Orkney a couple years ago and how I fell madly in love with it.
I was originally planning to set this book in Cornwall, but as soon as I started thinking about Orkney, it just felt right. It’ll make the research harder, I think, but luckily my friend whom I was visiting works for Historic Scotland and might be able to help me out with contacts. The heroine is a governess and the hero is a revenue officer, and I’ve got two villains: the tyrannical local laird (the heroine’s employer and the hero’s biological father) and a ghost. Yes, a ghost. I know it’s a little different from my previous books but I’m really excited about it!
I’ll be posting a lot more about my research for that soon, but right now, I’m excited about my haul from the library book sale! I got:
Rites of Peace: the Fall of Napoleon and the Congress of Vienna by Adam Zamoyski
The Exchange Artist: a Tale of High-Flying Speculation and America’s First Banking Collapse by Jane Kamensky (the collapse was 1809)
Daumier: 120 Great Lithographs (I LOVE Daumier)
Mob Girl: A Woman’s Life in the Underworld by Teresa Carpenter, about a woman who was involved with many important mafiosos and became an FBI informer
Mrs. Adams in Winter: A Journey in the Last Days of Napoleon by Michael O’Brien, about Louisa Adams (JQ Adams’s wife) traveling from St. Petersburg to France in early 1815
Rogues’ Gallery: A Secret History of the Moguls and the Money that Made the Metropolitan Museum by Michael Gross (this book gets about 200 points right off the bat for that title)
Scots Cooking: the best traditional and contemporary Scottish recipes by Sue Lawrence
A great haul, amirite?
What’s the best nonfiction book you’ve read recently? Anything amazing on your nonfiction TBR pile?