A little from here, a little from there

Mrs. Clara Schott
Mrs. Clara Schott

One of the characters in book 4 is a Canadian lawyer who has become disillusioned with the law only a few years after taking the bar. I’m in the midst of creating this woman’s back-story, but as I do I am reading about the true histories of some ground-breaking women like Tmima Cohn of Toronto (1907-1989).

Here’s a bit about her from the Law Society of Upper Canada’s website:

Tmima Cohn was inspired to go into law by her father, a Romanian-born Orthodox Jew who marched in a suffragist parade in Toronto, and by her mother, who was a teacher, Bible scholar, and early advocate of women’s rights. After graduating from the University of Toronto and Osgoode Hall Law School, she was called to the bar in 1932. She found the profession unwelcoming to a Jewish woman lawyer and like other women of the period, she stopped practising when she had children. As a lay person, she actively promoted environmental issues and the rights of women in the United States where she lived most of her life, by offering her services at free legal clinics, giving talks on women’s rights, and writing a handbook of legal rights for women in Florida in 1976.

She sounds amazing doesn’t she? My own lawyer, who I am naming Clara Schott (after the first female lawyer in Ontario AND the Commonwealth – Clara Brett Martin) is going to be older, and will add some gravitas to the work Annie and Portia must do to free Mr. Coleson from jail.

In my head she looks a bit like Susan Sarandon in The Lovely Bones.

Wattpad writings (and readings!)

Check it out on Wattpad!
Check it out on Wattpad!

When I joined Wattpad a few months ago I was using it as a reader, enjoying the fan fiction and original writings posted by thousands of people.

I finally decided to contribute to the Wattpad bookshelf, and have put out the first chapter of a story told from the voice of Constable Dawes. It’s kind of Jewel of the Thames as told from his point of view (the original as you know is told from Portia’s POV).

It’s called And in Walked Portia Adams.

Anyway, it’s a bit of an experiment, and I don’t know if I’ll do the whole book or just certain scenes where I think Brian’s POV adds to the overall character development.

Let me know what you think?

A scene with Dr. Gavin Whitaker

Richard Armitage could totally play Gavin Whitaker
Richard Armitage could totally play Gavin Whitaker. Check out THAT smoulder.

This is a scene from Thrice Burned:

“I couldn’t help but notice just how many heads my attractive escort turned his way as we walked. His height and the breadth of his shoulders set him apart from many of the men on the street, but I believe it was the confidence that fairly smoldered out of his very being – from his walk to the set of his jaw – that brought the female eye his way.

He acknowledged none of them, even the more obvious, and seemed content to walk in silence the rest of the journey to the café, whereupon my companion shook off his dour mood and debated politics with me for the better part of an hour over scones and tea. “

How to think like Sherlock Holmes

This was a great interview on this week’s Sunday Edition with Michael Enright that I had to post.

Take a listen below (15min) or download the podcast here:

Charles Eagle – the father Portia never knew

This is a photo of Albert Ball (from Wikipedia) but he looks a lot like Charles Eagle in my mind’s eye.

You never actually meet Charles Eagle, husband to Marie Adams, and father to Portia Adams in the books. The reason is simple: he was killed in the first world war when Portia was 5 years old so she never knew him. His gravestone is described in Book 2 as “on some distant French shore” like Normandy or Juno Beach. He was but 26 years old when he died, leaving behind a young wife and child in Toronto, Canada.

In my mind’s eye, Charles was a tall, handsome man, his eyes the same blue as Portia’s, described by Marie Adams as periwinkle in colour. He was a hero who died in the war, and remembered by his family as social and kind. Where Portia is madly curious by nature, she did not inherit that trait from her father, who was content to enjoy a simpler life with his family and friends. He would have had the opportunity to be highly educated, but turned it down, preferring to work with his hands, perhaps as a carpenter or tradesman of some type. He chose to move the family from San Francisco to Canada, looking for work as the extreme downturn in the economy made it harder to support his growing family.

At the beginning of Jewel of the Thames, Portia believes her father was an orphan. She was told that by her mother, who it turns out lied to her about that, choosing to hide his true parentage from Portia.

It is not till her mother has been dead for almost a year that Portia figures out her father’s real origins, and discovers that her paternal grandparents are very much alive.

Charles Eagle and Portia Adams share a few traits, and one of the sadder ones is that neither grew up with their father. I like to think that were he alive, he would be proud of our brave detective. What do you think?

Sergeant Michaels

Brendan Coyle
After watching the BBC’s North & South for the first time, I know who I’d pick to play Sergeant Michaels if he was cast today. Brendan Coyle. He is also on Downton Abbey, and he is just riveting on screen.


Character Profile: Irene Jones

As part of making a more fulsome description of Portia’s guardian in Casebook 1, I thought it was time to give a little more detail (but not too much – Irene is after all a secretive woman ; ).
The full list of Character Profiles can be found here.

Irene Jones
Irene Jones

FULL NAME: Irene Jones (one of several aliases she has used over the years).

AGE: in 1929 she is 71-years-old, born in April 1858.

PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: Hazel eyes, steel grey hair shot with her original black, high cheekbones, beautiful skin despite her age, tall with a womanly figure. She uses a cane because of bad knees.

LOCATION: Unknown though she has homes in several European countries including the UK.

EDUCATION: Unknown, but probably a girls college and a finishing school.

PREFERENCES: Adores the finer things in life from food to wine to fashion to residences.

SOCIALLY:  In every iteration of her aliases she has maintained a strong socialite presence.

Character Profile: Asher Jenkins

It’s been a while, but since he plays a part in this latest casebook I am writing, I thought I would give a bit of backstory to ‘Bruiser’ Jenkins next (the full list of Character Profiles can be found here).

'Bruiser' Jenkins
‘Bruiser’ Jenkins

FULL NAME: Asher ‘Bruiser’ Jenkins is a retired professional boxer, and semi-retired thief. Bruiser was his name in the ring.

AGE: in 1929 he is 76-years-old, born in September, 1853.

PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: Of African descent, though born and raised in England. Big, close to 200lbs, about 6’2″ tall, with developed muscles, even for his age. He has cataracts, and has fractured the bones in his hands so much over the years that they cause him constant pain.

LOCATION: Brixton, London. In the downstairs apartment of a three-story house.

EDUCATION: Grade school in London, dropped out before grade 9.

HMV gramophone: model 109.
HMV gramophone: model 109.

PREFERENCES: Prefers beer, smokes copiously, eats well, and enjoys food. Good with his hands, and therefore takes off jobs in construction and building. Likes dogs, racing, gambling and women. His prize possession is a gramophone and his growing record collection.

SOCIALLY:  Parents both dead, no spouse or children,very loyal to former partner (and perhaps paramour, that is yet unclear) Irene Jones (nee Adler), and protective of her granddaughter Portia Adams. He has spent some time in prison, probably in his twenties, and has many friends from his old life.

Character Profile: Dr. Beanstine

Because I found myself writing a rather expansive scene with Portia and Dr. Beanstine today, I felt it was time to take him on next in my list of Character Profiles. The full list of Character Profiles can be found here.

Dr. Henry Beanstine
Dr. Henry Beanstine

FULL NAME: Henry Aldwin Beanstine, nicknamed ‘Beans’ by his friends, Coroner with the Metropolitan Police of London, more colloquially known as Scotland Yard.

AGE: in 1929 he is 27-years-old, born in January 1902.

PHYSICAL DESCRIPTION: Wide brown eyes, black unruly hair, thick eyebrows, 5’8″ tall, slim but well built, handsome in a boyish way, wears very thick glasses for his poor eyesight.

LOCATION: London. Lives in Piccadilly.

EDUCATION: Attended Eton College and then Cambridge.

PREFERENCES: Deferential and kind, Beans enjoys spending time with his friends, and the students at Kings College he teaches. He prefers not to spend a lot of time with his family as he is generally held in low regard because of his choice to have a profession.

SOCIALLY: Beans is the 5th son of Lord Beanstine, and Irish noble who now has a seat in the House of Lords. His mother and brothers are all still alive, his eldest brothers all holding political seats, and he being the only one who has chosen (against his family’s wishes) to ‘work’ for a living. Beans developed a crush on Portia in the ‘Thrice Burned’ that is not reciprocated. He is engaged to Lady Grace by the end of ‘No Matter How Improbable.’