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?


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

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

    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.

  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.