As a founder member of Mystery Women in 1997, promoting Crime Fiction has always been my passion.
Following the closure of Mystery Women, a new group was formed on 30th January 2012 promoting crime fiction.
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Endeavour Quill, 3 December 2018. ISBN:
Some crime novels do exactly what it says on the tin – they chart the
progress of a crime and its detection. Others do a little more.
Or in the case of The Blue,
a lot more. Not only does this colourful tapestry of a book delve into the
murky depths of industrial espionage and the lengths some people will go to
discover secrets; it also delivers the best kind of history lesson: the kind
that lets you absorb little details you never knew you were interested in until
they came wrapped in a good story.
It's a novel to be savoured,
read in small bites, rather than the kind of page-turner that keeps you up well
beyond bedtime. And it's all the better for it; it paints a rich, detailed
picture of a small slice of history, and left me wanting to go away and explore
it further. It's set in the London, Derby and Paris of the 18th
century, when Protestants and Catholics were at loggerheads all over Europe,
Bonnie Price Charlie's assault on the English throne was within living memory
and fine porcelain was as valuable and desirable as gold.
It was also a time when the
place of women in society was governed by strict conventions. Feisty Genevieve
Planché, the Huguenot protagonist and narrator, is a talented artist, and
yearns for proper training in the skills she needs, but the closest she will
ever come to art is decorating silk for rich women's gowns and porcelain for
their tables, because in this era women are regarded as poor creatures who lack
the creative depth to become artists.
It is the world of porcelain
that Genevieve is drawn into, by the charming Sir Gabriel Courtenay, who turns
out to be involved in something rather less charming. The porcelain factory at
Derby is developing a shade of blue which is coveted by other manufacturers,
and Sir Gabriel has a vested interest...
A vividly drawn cast of
characters, an almost tactile background of factory, middle-class home and less
than salubrious town all contribute to Genevieve's education as she tries
desperately to balance her own high principles with Sir Gabriel's threats and
demands. Her increasingly tense quest to fulfil her own destiny and do the
right thing by everyone is subtly seasoned with exquisite nuggets of historical
detail, culminating in – well, read it for yourself. I strongly recommend you
Reviewer: Lynne Patrick
Nancy Bilyeauwas born in Chicago and grew up in Michigan. Nancy
Bilyeau's trilogy of historical thrillers set in Tudor England have won awards
and been published in more than nine countries. The protagonist, a Catholic
novice named Joanna Stafford, is a woman caught in the crosswinds of time,
struggling to survive and protect those she loves in the most dangerous years
of the reign of Henry VIII. Nancy is a writer and magazine editor who has
worked on the staffs of InStyle, Rolling Stone, Entertainment Weekly, and Good
Housekeeping, and is currently the executive editor of DuJour.Her debut novel, The Crown, took five years of research into Tudor England,
including traveling to London and Dartford, in Kent, to find the ruins of its
lost priory of the Dominican Order. She
lives in New York City with her husband and two children.
Lynne Patrick has been a writer ever since she could pick up a pen,
and has enjoyed success with short stories, reviews and feature journalism, but
never, alas, with a novel. She crossed to the dark side to become a publisher
for a few years, and is proud to have launched several careers which are now
burgeoning. She lives on the edge of rural Derbyshire in a house groaning with
books, about half of them crime fiction.