Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Murder and Mayhem in the Regency period

Camille Elliot/Camy Tang here! I’m working on my next Regency romantic mystery, and as I was plotting out the major disasters that happen, I had this conversation with myself:

Me: So after the murder attempt, how can I up the stakes?

Myself: How about a kidnapping?

I: You had a kidnapping in your last three books.

Me: Oh, that’s right.

Myself: Let’s blow up a house.

I: In the Regency period? Not happening.

Me: There was no C-4. I’d need barrels of gunpowder.

Myself: And barrels of gunpowder really don’t explode quite like it does in the movies.

I: We could frame the hero for murder.

Me: How? There were no fingerprints in the Regency.

Myself: No DNA, either.

I: I guess crashing a plane is out too.

Me: I could crash a carriage.

Myself: You don’t want to injure the poor horses.

I: Assassination attempt in the woods?

Me: They’d have to be close by to attempt an assassination, because the only guns were pistols or shotguns. No hunting rifles yet.

Myself: And military rifles back then were very inaccurate, too.

I: You’re such a killjoy.

Really, it should be easier to take advantage of the fact that the Regency period had no forensics, no internet databases, no cars, and no house alarms! I guess it’s back to the drawing board for me … unless you guys have any ideas?

7 comments:

  1. Impress them into naval service or otherwise involve them against their will in Napoleonic era military conflict.

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    1. Thanks Thomas! Unfortunately my setting is a country house so that conflict wouldn't work. :(

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    2. Well, that narrows the possibilities but doesn't eliminate them. A pressgang, bribed, misinformed, lost, or just plain phony, would never attack a country house, but might grab the victim out riding. Such a group would have a lot more legitimacy with any witnesses than your usual gang of men. However, this would basically be just another kidnapping, which you indicated you thought overdone for the moment.

      A more interesting possibility would be some connection with an escape attempt by French POW's, over 100,000 of whom were being held all over Britain during this period.

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  2. Laudanum? I've read some great historical fiction books involving this kind of "poison", after all, too much of a good thing is a bad thing :-) It contained alcohol and opium....yikes...could make for a deadly combination!

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  4. Depending on who the murderer is you could have them leave notes or objects in order to intimidate your main character. Such as a note in a book being read or a dead flower left on a pillow. This lets the character know that the murder is close.

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