Across the books and in person.

Welcome! Since I write two English mystery series, I thought it would be fun to chat about that. And about England. Specifically, Derbyshire, since that is the county I know the best. If you have questions about my books, about mysteries or your own writing, or want to know something about England -- perhaps you're planning a visit -- I'd love to talk with you. Let's start chatting, shall we?

Derbyshire VIllage

Derbyshire VIllage

Sunday, September 19, 2010

All By Myself

Paul Schmit may have the good fortune of great customer service (see his current blog entry at his adventure to writing blogspot, but I can't seem to find any.  I'm plotting the third McLaren book.  I have the basic story line figured out.  But I am creating a puzzle in the book that McLaren has to solve.  For me to create this puzzle, I need to know a bit about the Harpur-Crewe family who owned one of the great houses in Derbyshire: Calke Abbey.  As I set a good portion of book 2, Swan Song, at the real Tutbury Castle, I want to set some of book 3 in a real place.

My first choice is Haddon Hall -- my favorite place in the world.  (The newest film version of Jane Eyre was filmed there, but I had toured the Hall years before.)  I emailed my question to the Info email, explaining about McLaren, Swan Song, Lesley Smith (curator of Tutbury Castle), her willingness to vouch for my sincerity, etc.  Nothing.  No reply.  Ignored.  Was the email reply lost in the hinterland of the Internet?  Did it end up in the junk mail folder and automatically get destroyed?  Did she/he think it was a hoax?  Is the curator (or whomever) on vacation and my request sitting on her/his desk?

So I came up with Calke Abbey as possibly a suitable place for my puzzle.  Again, the same reply...or lack of.

What am I to think of this discourteous treatment?  Are people really that paranoid about email messages?  I thought my title in the email subject line explained quite a bit before they would even read the email.  Perhaps I'm wrong.

Granted, I met Lesley Smith at Tutbury Castle while she was working.  Chatting with her face to face is no doubt different from getting a cold email.  But I gave her as a reference so that Haddon Hall's and Calke Abbey's curators would know I'm on the up and up about this.  And my request made it clear that I don't want family personal info: just something very generic.

I shake my head at the ill treatment.  I could write my story without their 'help' but I'd have to come up with another conundrum.  And I had a hard enough time coming up with this little bit!  Maybe I should stop writing and just knit capes for dogs....

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