Benedict Brown’s Historical Cozy Mystery Series

We’ve met Benedict on another blog post, but this time I’d like to highlight his Historical Cozy Mystery Series, Lord Edgington Investigates…

Lord Edgington

Lord Edginton has retired from the Metropolitan Police and is in retreat at Cranley Hall. He hopes for quietness and peace, but the arrival of his sixteen-year-old grandson, Christopher, changes his perspective and together the two of them begin their adventures. Murder and crime are no match for this family dual.

You can find out more about the Lord Edgington Investigates from Benedict’s Website. While you’re there be sure to sign up for The Benedict Brown Readers’ Club. You can also follow Benedict on Facebook and find his books on Amazon.

What made you decide to write a Historical Cozy?

I’ve always loved Golden Age detective fiction and my mother was a history teacher for fifty years and has been a big influence on me, so when I was choosing to write a second mystery series, a historical cozy seemed the way to go.

Tell us what time frame your stories are in and what setting or world?

The first book in my “Lord Edgington Investigates…” series takes place in England in 1925, with my releases continuing more or less in real time so that the seventh book I’ve just written takes place in summer 1926. I adore the 1920s for their style and exuberance and have tried to invest my books with a lot of period detail. I am from Surrey in the south of England and created the fictional estate of Cranley Hall, for my characters to inhabit in the beautiful countryside there.

Who is your protagonist? Tell us a bit about them and why they were chosen.
My narrator is the sixteen-year-old grandson of a famous detective, Lord Edgington. The renowned grandfather has spent the last ten years in seclusion in his country pile but is pulled out of retirement when a member of their family is killed at a grand ball. I wanted to create two central characters with a big gulf in their personalities and thanks to Christopher’s innocence and his grandfather’s wisdom, they’re a true odd couple.

What sets your mysteries apart from other cozies?

The first thing that readers often tell me is that they fall in love with the relationship between the grandfather and grandson. It is a very sweet central theme to the mysteries without being saccharine. As the books progress, their connection to one another develops and young Christopher improves as a detective thanks to his grandfather’s brilliance.  

How much research do you do to create your story, and how much do you include in your books?

I love researching this series and always find fascinating elements from history to include, which are often linked the real-life settings I choose. For example, in my fifth book “The Tangled Treasure Trail” I set the book in central London and filled each scene with details of the history and geography of that incredible city, as the characters speed about on scavenger hunts through the warren of old streets. I also spend a lot of time researching the fashions and language of the time. I attempt to avoid anachronistic words and expressions, so I always have an etymological dictionary at hand.

Do you feel the crimes committed in historical cozy are very different from a contemporary cozy?

I started my cozy career with the contemporary series “The Izzy Palmer Mysteries”, and I think there often is a lighter feel to my Lord Edgington books. My books are gore-free in all cases, and both series have a lot of humour in them, but it’s true that the 1920s books normally turn the focus away from the blood and injuries that might otherwise be featured in my contemporary series.

I have several more Historical Cozy Mystery authors to introduce you to! I hope you are enjoying finding out more about a new genre of cozy mysteries, or learning about some old favorites!

Victoria LK Williams

I’ve Got Great News!

We have funded!

A huge THANKS to every one of you that has backed our campaign so far. The wonderful news is IT WILL HAPPEN!

Thanks to our amazing supporters, these Collector’s Edition versions of our stories will make it into the hands of everyone who has chosen a digital or print tier!

STRETCH GOAL 1 – UNLOCKED!

We also passed our first Stretch Goal, so every backer will get an eBook copy of a short story by 3 of our authors 🙂

WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?

For our next Stretch Goal, if we reach £1,500 in time, a bunch of our authors will post videos of themselves reading from their campaign books on Facebook on Saturday 20th August.

Who wants to hear their favourite author reading out loud? I know I do!

WANT TO HELP US GET TO THE NEXT GOAL?

If you want to be part of the fun and haven’t backed us already, here’s the link you need:

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/ayealba/summercozies…

Don’t forget to back the project and get in on the fun as we unlock more stretch goals!

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/ayealba/summercozies…

Kathleen Kalb, Historical Cozy Mystery Author

Kathleen has exciting news; her book, The Thanksgiving Ragamuffin, has been nominated for a 2022 Derringer Award for Short story from the Short Mystery Fiction Society. Congratulations!

This author didn’t start her career writing historical fiction. She started on the radio and in the newsroom. She is a weekend morning anchor at 1010 WINS, New York’s top all-news station. She lives with her family and cat in Connecticut. She also writes a blog, that you can access from her website.


What made you decide to write a Historical Cozy?
Well…I’ve been a history buff and a mystery fan since I was able to read, so the idea of putting the two together was just natural. Writing cozy was also natural; I’m a New York City radio news anchor and I get more than enough hard-boiled stuff at the office! So all of that was there. But honestly, Ella Shane and her world just grew around me as I was walking through Washington Square on my way to work. Many of the 19th century buildings are still there, and I found myself thinking about who would live there and what adventures they would have.

Tell us what time frame your stories are in and what setting or world?
The Ella Shane series is set in the Washington Square neighborhood of New York City in 1899-1900. It’s an artistic but respectable enclave, not all that far away from either the older Fifth Avenue mansions or the poorer immigrant neighborhoods.

Who is your protagonist? Tell us a bit about them and why they were chosen.
Ella Shane, born Ellen O’Shaughnessy, to an Irish father and Jewish mother, is a Lower East Side orphan who found fame and fortune as an opera singer specializing in “trouser roles,” heroic male parts sung by women. I got the trouser role idea first; I loved the idea of a woman who can duel and fight like a man, who challenges the limits of her time, and who’s also a bit of a star. But I didn’t want to spend time with a diva, and I doubted any readers would, either. She had to be real. So she became an orphan girl who’s survived deprivation and prejudice and made good thanks to her talent. I like to describe Ella as: part Anne of Green Gables, part Beverly Sills, part Errol Flynn, and all her own woman.

What sets your mysteries apart from other cozies?
For starters, Ella – the Diva Who Duels — is unique. As far as I know, while there are other mysteries set in the opera world, none have main characters who play trouser roles – or handle their own swordplay! She also stands out as a main character who’s from a mixed religious background (very unusual at the time) who practices the faiths of both of her parents. And the diversity of the cast in general is unusual for a 19th century cozy. Ella’s cousin and best friend Tommy Hurley is a boxing champ who’s “not the marrying kind,” i.e. as out and proud as it’s possible to be in 1899. The surrounding cast includes working women, working mothers, and people of every ethnicity that you’d find in New York in 1899. In the second book, A FATAL FIRST NIGHT, there’s even a key character who is Black and passing as white. And they’re all just who they are; this isn’t about checking boxes, it’s about telling a good story with a wide variety of characters.

How much research do you do to create your story, and how much do you include in your books?
I think I’ve been researching these books since the elementary school library! The Victorian Era is one of my favorite historical periods (the Tudor Courts are the other) and I just love immersing myself in the time, the style, and everything involved in just being alive then. A lot of it does make it into the books – I hope not TOO much! Mostly, it’s about giving readers a strong sense of the place and period. So you’ll know what my characters are wearing, and how it feels to move in those clothes, for example. Much of the period detail becomes key plot points, too, of course. In A FATAL OVERTURE, the characters are hoping to avoid headlines about their murder case, so they’re very grateful to see a different scandal on the front page. I had to track down what would have been the top news in February 1900 to make that one work!

Do you feel the crimes committed in historical cozy are very different from a contemporary cozy?
Absolutely. While the handling of the crime is the same (no blood and guts, discreet descriptions of forensic evidence, etc.) as it would be in a contemporary, there are a lot of ways to kill people or solve a murder that are just off the table. No DNA, limited forensics. No information the main characters couldn’t get through traditional legwork. That’s what makes it so fun. Just as Inspector Poirot has to solve his cases with the “little gray cells,” we historical cozy writers have to set up ours with them! I admit, though, that I’ve given myself a little jump on this one: the Duke, Ella’s beau, trained as a barrister and has some forensic expertise – 1890s forensic expertise. So he brings a few twists to the table…but he still can’t whip out a DNA report. Which is as it should be.

A Final thought from Kathleen…

The best thing about writing Historical Cozies, for me, is being able to go back in time to this wonderful place and spend time with a group of people I love…and put them through some fun adventures!


You can follow Kathleen on Facebook, Goodreads, Amazon or visit her Website to find out more from her.

I hope you enjoyed hearing from Kathleen. I have more Historical Cozy Authors to share!

Victoria LK Williams

We’ve got a project!

The authors of the USA Today Bestselling mystery anthology Mysteries, Midsummer Sun and Murders have a really fun project in the works!

We’re releasing special edition print copies (both hardback and paperback) of our stories! They’ll be published in a set of ten books, with “flippy-floppy” editions containing two stories in each, for a total of twenty novellas.

Do you remember the books back when we were kids where they had front covers on both sides, and you’d turn them over to read the second story? They’re like that! Perfect for reading on your own or gifting to mystery-loving friends.

How can you get your hands on these? They’ll be special editions, only available only through Kickstarter. You can “back” the project (pledge your purchase) when the Kickstarter launches, and then if we fund the project your books will ship out in time for Christmas! What a great gift idea for the Cozy Mystery Lover!!

I hope you’ll support our exciting project. Please share with someone you think might also enjoy these limited edition books.

VictoriaLKWilliams

Mysterious Times…

Let me take you back in time, not too far gone, but just far enough that it’s different. A time when life was simpler, families were close, and crime wasn’t so complicated… Or was it?

Welcome to the genre of Historical Cozy Mysteries. In the next several blog posts, you will meet some of the leading historical cozy mystery writers. They will tell you about their series, their characters and what makes Historical Cozies so much different from a Contemporary Cozy.

Whether it’s set in America, or England, or somewhere else; the times were definitely different. Women were just beginning to assert themselves, the Industrial Revolution wasn’t far off, and there was still a distinction between the working people and the upper class.

There are also some cozy mysteries written in a time that we might even remember, or at least our parents would. That time of awakening after the world wars. Rock ‘n’ roll was just coming into existence, the Industrial Revolution had not only taken off but it was taking over. Inventions were coming right and left and it was a changing world. We also consider these Historical Cozy Mysteries.

I hope you’ll enjoy meeting these authors in getting to know how they come up with a crime fitting for the time they write about. How much research do they put into their work? What makes their characters different from the characters in a contemporary cozy? And most importantly, why do they write historical cozies?

Have you read a Historical Cozy Mystery? What did you like about it?

Now, sit back, grab a cup of tea, and relax as we go back to a gentler time…

Victoria LK Williams