I’m delighted that DYING IN THE WOOL, first book in the Kate Shackleton series, has been chosen as a Wiki Enthralling Historical Mystery.
Hope you enjoy the video
Kate’s hobby is photography. She takes her camera wherever she goes. Researching the background for Kate’s first adventure, I looked at early copies of photographic journals. Every district in England had its photographic clubs and societies. Young Arthur Conan Doyle supplemented his income by writing witty accounts of his photographic expeditions. Later, he showed great interest in the photographs of fairies taken in 1917 by two young cousins in Cottingley, Yorkshire. He used these photographs to illustrate his article on fairies for The Strand Magazine.
Dying in the Wool begins in 1922, when Tabitha Braithwaite asks Kate to find her father. Joshua Braithwaite went missing on 21 August, 1916. He was a millionaire, owner of a woollen mill. A most unlikely person to have disappeared without a trace.
To help me recreate that world, I visited old woollen mills, now museums, that still smell of lanolin. I conjured the deafening noise of a weaving shed, tried my hand on a loom, and learned that Yorkshire’s dyeing industry was managed by German merchants whose expertise vanished from the scene when, on the eve of war, they left England.
It’s almost a cliché to say that the First World War and its aftermath was a time of enormous upheaval – the world turned upside down. So many people had to do best they could, putting together the pieces of shattered lives. Kate Shackleton, camera in hand, makes a new beginning. To quote Joe Cooper, author of a book on the Cottingley Fairies, perhaps the world seems more manageable when viewed through a small lens.