Welcome to author Michelle Salter who has dropped by to tell us about her novel The Suffragette's Daughter and to give us the lowdown on one of her characters.
While we're waiting for your guest to arrive, Michelle, can you tell us a little about your book?
The Suffragette’s Daughter is the first Iris Woodmore Mystery and introduces a new sleuth for a new era.1920 is a time of possibilities. For the first time in history, two women compete against each other for a seat in Parliament. Iris Woodmore goes to the House of Commons to cover the story. But it’s a place that holds painful memories. In 1914, her mother died there when she fell into the River Thames during a daring suffragette protest. In the shadow of Big Ben, a waterman tells Iris her mother didn’t fall – she jumped.
Iris discovers that the suffragette with her mother on that fateful day disappeared after the protest and has been missing for six years. Desperate to know the truth behind the fatal jump, Iris’s investigation leads her to Crookham Hall and a meeting with the powerful Lady Timpson.There’s a rumour Lady Timpson was responsible for ripping off the Society for the Promotion of Nature Reserves in a land acquisition scandal. Iris pays a visit to the Natural History Museum to talk to a member of the Society and meets the flamboyant Percy Baverstock.
Who will you be inviting for a cocktail, and why?
I’ll be inviting Percy Baverstock for a cocktail as he’s always good fun and loves nothing more than a riotous night out. Percy lost many of his pals during the Great War, and he’s still trying to figure out why he survived, and they didn’t. He feels it would be wrong to squander his good fortune. In honour of his fallen comrades, he goes out dancing and gets drunk whenever possible. On Friday nights, he dresses up and heads to the Foxtrot Club in Soho, where they play all the latest jazz songs. One of his regular dance partners has told him that cocktails are now all the rage in New York, and he’s keen to try them. So is his new friend, Iris.
What will they be wearing?
Percy works at the Natural History Museum, cataloguing plants in the herbarium and going on field trips to nature reserves. He wears a boring tweed suit in the Museum and his old army trousers when he’s on site. At the weekend, he loves to dress up in the latest fashions. He’s got a pair of wide-leg check flannel trousers that are perfect for cutting a dash on the dance floor when he’s hopping around to swing tunes. Iris’s bobbed hair and habit of wearing trousers have made her a rather shocking figure in the sleepy Hampshire market town of Walden, where she lives. Percy is hoping that for their cocktail date (he’s calling it a date even if she isn’t), she’ll wear her green silk dress with a hemline that ends just below her knee.
What will they order off the cocktail menu?
Percy will want to try everything on the menu. Iris will too, but she’ll try and keep a clear head. She knows Percy has ended up in the police cells on more than one occasion when, in his words, “I had a few too many lemonades and forgot where I lived”. One thing they have in common is a desire to experience anything new. The past has taught them that life is precious, and neither one wants to waste a moment of it.
How will they react if the waiter spills their cocktail over them?
Percy is known for his exuberant dance moves. He’s even been caught dancing with a stuffed penguin in the Natural History Museum. If he has a drink spilt on him, he’ll assume it’s his fault. He’ll apologise to the waiter for getting in his way. When Percy gets too jolly, Iris will escort him home. On the way, he’ll inevitably ask if he can kiss her. He’s always good-natured when she resists his advances, and on the rare occasions she responds, he falls asleep.
What can they tell you that will make you stay for a second drink?
Percy loves meeting new people. He’ll tell you scandalous tales he once heard when he spent the night in a prison cell with some fascinating ladies. In the blink of an eye, he can switch from being carefree and daft to serious and thoughtful. He has an unnerving ability to make horrendous social blunders one minute and insightful observations the next. The first time Iris met Percy, he changed the direction of their conversation at breath-taking speed. She immediately knew there were hidden depths to this frivolous young man, and the more time she spends with Percy, the more she’s drawn to him.
The Suffragette’s Daughter by Michelle Salter (March 2021, Bloodhound) is available from Amazon: http://mybook.to/SuffragettesDaughter
Join Michelle's free Readers’ Club to download an Iris Woodmore short story, One Knife Too Many, at https://www.michellesalter.com
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