Nerissa

Meet Nerissa
Meet Nerissa

From Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice, Nerissa is Portia’s lady-in-waiting and confidante. She marries Gratiano and escorts Portia on Portia’s trip to Venice by disguising herself as her law clerk.

She is also Portia Adam’s new Bloodhound puppy.

More mapping

Screen cap modification of a Google Map
Portia's London

Still working on learning about Portia’s London, so I started a map (available here).

In Book 4 she makes her way out to a farm that has recently been burned to the ground. I need it to be in Sheep-farming land, so I picked Sussex county as a location where Southdown sheep grazed. Read more about Sussex county on Wikipedia here.

The Chalk Downlands (also called the South Downs) area seems to be decent farmland for sheep farming.

The Amberley railway station was built in 1923, so she could have taken a train from Victoria station in London to Amberley to get to the Coombs farmhouse. It would have taken about an hour to get there.

For the church in book 6, i’m thinking about All Hallows by the Tower http://www.ahbtt.org.uk/history/

Quelling the flames

What kind of flame retardants existed in 1927?

Borax 20 Mule Team
Borax 20 Mule Team

There was this product called 20 Mule Team Borax made in the States and ‘commonly available’ for usage as a household cleaner.

Borax, also known as sodium borate, sodium tetraborate, or disodium tetraborate, is an important boron compound, a mineral, and a salt of boric acid. It is usually a white powder consisting of soft colorless crystals that dissolve easily in water.
Borax has a wide variety of uses. It is a component of many detergents, cosmetics, and enamel glazes. It is also used to make buffer solutions in biochemistry, as a fire retardant, as an anti-fungal compound for fiberglass, as an insecticide, as a flux in metallurgy, a texturing agent in cooking, and as a precursor for other boron compounds.

– as taken from the Wikipedia article here

Too many mysteries to tie together?

Sigh, Book 4, and I have to tie together clearing Annie’s good name, solving the whole arson thing and dealing with a brand spankin’ new Arch Nemesis. I may have bitten off more than I can chew.

Why did I do this again? Oh yes, character development. Everyone who read books 1-3 tells me they want to know more about Portia, and that is why this book is so bloody complicated.

Ok, so the whole Pigeon thing.. how about if two chefs at the Palace were feuding and one accused the other of using pigeons in the chicken pot pie instead of, well, chicken? Ok, Annie reports this, the accused Chef is summarily dismissed, Annie’s story is retracted because the feud is discovered, and now this disgraced Chef is struggling in the market. Oh, but the crown prince misses his chicken pot pie (which was chicken after all that) so the kitchen staff try and fail to make it to the original Chef’s standard. They are forced to head down to the market and purchase a contract with the original Chef to create his masterpiece once a week for the Prince.

What if the bitter cuisinier decided to really stick it to his former employer and ACTUALLY serve pigeon in his much sought after pot pies? That would work, but wouldn’t he be arrested or at least run out of town for doing that to the Royals? Yeah, that’s where this goes off the rails. Who hires a vindictive Chef who’s been outed for switching pigeons for chickens? Um yes. Problem. Unless the next person who hires him values his culinary skills and has no love for the British Royals…. hmmm..

A streetchase

Book4, writing a street chase, and since 221B Baker Street doesn’t really exist in London (at least as a townhouse, not as a Museum), I’m working with the area instead.

So, running South down Siddon’s Lane and then West towards Chagford Street – that makes sense right?

I need someone from London to actually help me before I go ‘un-suspending’ people’s disbelief with erroneous directions.

Arson is a hard subject to research

arson
Arson

Interestingly, there was a lot of arson going on in the early 1900s but the angle I wanted to pursue was the accelerant. Turns out that is the wrong term to use for what makes the fire burn..

From Wikipedia:
Some fire investigators mistakenly use the term “accelerant” to mean any substance that initiates and promotes a fire without differentiating between an accelerant and a fuel. The terms are not, in the truest sense of chemical science, interchangeable. To a chemical engineer, “gasoline” is not at all considered an “accelerant”, it is more accurately considered a “fuel”, but usage by laymen is considered popularized if incorrect.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Accelerant

Ok, understood, changing that immediately!