If you’re a Downton Abbey fan, you’ll appreciate this introduction to Clara Benson’s English mysteries set in the ’20s and ’30s.
In the introduction I mention that I’m deep in revision territory on the next Freddie Lark mystery. Then I jump right into this interview and reading from the delightful Clara Benson.
This week’s mystery author
Clara Benson is the author of the Angela Marchmont mysteries and Freddy Pilkington-Soames Adventures – traditional English mysteries in authentic style set in the 1920s and 30s.
One day she would like to drink cocktails and solve mysteries in a sequinned dress and evening gloves. In the meantime she lives in the north of England with her family and doesn’t do any of those things.
To learn more about Clara Benson and all her mystery novels go to ClaraBenson.com.
You can also click here to listen to the interview on YouTube.
Excerpt from A Case of Blackmail in Belgravia
Elsewhere, Freddy Pilkington-Soames had had a most pleasant evening, having passed it in indulging in youthful high spirits at a fashionable new night-club near Regent Street. At two o’clock he and his friends reluctantly obeyed the order to vacate the premises, and emerged into the London night, preparing to head homewards and sleep the sleep of the just. Freddy was feeling quite delightfully fuzzy in the head, having that evening discovered a new type of cocktail containing champagne, Cointreau, Bourbon whisky, and a secret ingredient which he could not identify, but which was half-sweet and half-sour and rounded the whole thing off deliciously. The more he drank of it, the better it tasted, and since Freddy was a keen and scientific seeker of pleasure—indeed, could wax quite philosophical on the subject at times—he had judged it only right to experiment exhaustively in order to ascertain to his own satisfaction that no greater joy was to be had on that particular evening, at least. The result was that by the time he left the night-club, his brain and his finer motor abilities had mutually agreed to part company for a few hours. No matter, however; the world was a beautiful place, and Freddy felt not the misery of life’s travails as he tottered gently towards Oxford Street in search of a taxi, a beatific smile on his face. Had any malefactor chosen at that moment to jump out in front of him with a dagger or a pistol and demand monies, it is very likely that Freddy would have pressed his last shilling upon the man, given him his hat for good measure, and sent him on his way with a cheery wave, so well-disposed was he towards the world in general.
After an abortive attempt to flag down a private motor-car, Freddy eventually managed to procure himself a taxi. He was just about to pronounce his destination to the driver, when he was rudely shoved aside.
‘Pont Street,’ said a familiar voice. ‘Come on, Freddy, get in. You’re holding the man up.’
It was his friend Mungo Pruitt, who had leapt into the conveyance before him, and who now reached out and pulled him in. The driver set off. Freddy’s mind was not working as fast as it ought, and it took him a good few moments to realize that Pont Street was in the opposite direction from the one he wanted, for Freddy worked an honest living as a press-man of sorts, and had recently taken rooms near the offices of his newspaper, so as to be saved the inconvenience of having to spend more than five minutes in travelling to work of a morning.
‘But I don’t want to go to Pont Street,’ he said, moving his mouth carefully, since his faculty of speech was not at its best at present. ‘Pont Street is in quite the wrong place.’
‘What are you talking about?’ said Mungo. ‘It’s where I live.’
‘But I want to go to Fleet Street,’ said Freddy.
‘Fleet Street be damned,’ said Mungo. ‘Why would anybody want to go to Fleet Street at this time of night? Or at any time, in fact? It’s full of oily little men with pencils and cameras, whose only object in life is to catch one in the act of doing something unspeakable.’
This was a point with which Freddy could not truthfully disagree, and yet the fact remained that he did not wish to go to Pont Street. By the time he had succeeded in formulating in his head an unanswerable argument for getting his own way, however, the taxi had already arrived at Pont Street and Mungo had leapt out.
‘Listen,’ said Freddy, who was now ready to present his case. He jumped out after Mungo, preparing to give a long and impassioned speech as to the desirability of having instructed the driver to go East first, rather than West, but before he could begin, Mungo had paid the driver and the taxi had pulled away without him.
‘Hi! Dash it,’ said Freddy, waving desperately at the departing vehicle. ‘Mungo, you ass, what the devil did you do that for?’
‘Do what?’ said Mungo. ‘We’re home, aren’t we?’
‘You might be,’ said Freddy. ‘But I’m not. I want to go to Fleet Street.’
‘Oh, do you? I thought you were joking,’ said Mungo. ‘Still, I’m sure there must be a taxi around here somewhere. And now it’s off to bed for me. Don’t stand there too long, old chap. It’s cold out here. Cheerio!’
And with that, he was off, leaving Freddy standing in a deserted street, a good three miles from home. Lesser men might have railed against a similar inconvenience; not Freddy. The night was cold and all he wanted at present was to find a comfortable bed—any bed might do—and collapse into it for eight hours or so. If Fleet Street were denied him, then let another sanctuary receive him. A short distance away was the house his mother used when she was in London, for which he had a key. She would most likely be tiresome about his current condition, but it was late, and perhaps he could creep in without being heard.
He set off unsteadily down Chesham Street, and within a very few minutes was turning into Eaton Terrace. The house was dark; perhaps nobody was at home—which possibility suited Freddy very well, since he was more afraid of his mother’s sharp tongue than he cared to admit. He felt in his pocket for a key and, after a few false tries, succeeded in inserting it into the lock. It turned, and the door gave way more suddenly than he had expected. It immediately hit an obstacle—something soft yet unyielding—and at the same time he heard a shriek. He pushed at the door and felt someone push back from the other side.
‘Go away!’ a voice said frantically. Freddy recognized it as that of his mother.
‘What are you doing?’ said Freddy. ‘Let me in.’
‘Freddy!’ exclaimed Cynthia. ‘You frightened me half to death! Quick, come in!’
The door opened a little way and he was able to squeeze in. The entrance-hall was almost dark, with only a little light coming in through the glass above the door.
‘Why are you standing here in the dark?’ said Freddy. ‘And who’s this on the floor?’ For he could feel with his foot that the obstacle blocking the front door was human.
‘Shh! Not so loud!’ hissed Cynthia. ‘It’s Ticky.’
Freddy’s brain was by no means operating at full capacity, but he felt it might matter less if he could see. He groped along the wall and switched on the light. Cynthia gave a little squeak. Freddy regarded his mother, who was shrinking against the wall, wide-eyed, still in her evening-dress and fur coat, and then turned his attention to the thing on the floor. Ticky was lying still and supine on the black and white tiles, eyes closed. His face was white.
‘You’re right, it is Ticky,’ said Freddy. ‘Why’s he sleeping there? He’ll be awfully stiff and cold when he wakes up.’
‘He’s not asleep, he’s dead,’ said Cynthia. ‘And please keep your voice down, darling. There’s a policeman walking up and down outside. I had to run out and clean up the mess quickly while his back was turned. It was quite horrid. You know how I hate that sort of thing.’
‘Dead?’ said Freddy. ‘Are you sure? Perhaps he’s just unconscious.’
He bent over unsteadily to peer at the motionless figure at his feet, then straightened up sharply.
‘Oh, he’s dead,’ he said in surprise.
‘That’s what I’m trying to tell you,’ said Cynthia. ‘He died on the steps and I had to drag him inside. He was awfully heavy. And now I don’t know what to do with him.’
‘Why, call someone to take him away, surely? A doctor, perhaps? Or the police. Didn’t you say there was a bobby just outside?’
‘No!’ exclaimed Cynthia. ‘We can’t call the police!’
‘But why on earth not? You can’t leave him here. He’s not exactly ornamental, and he’s blocking the doorway. The police will tidy him away nicely and soon it’ll be as though he’d never been here, you’ll see.’
‘Don’t be silly, Freddy. It’s not funny. We need to get rid of him somehow, but without the police.’
Freddy’s head was starting to spin, and he had the feeling there was something about the situation that he had not quite grasped fully.
‘Look here, it’s late,’ he said. ‘Perhaps we ought to leave him here and go and sleep on it. Then we can call someone tomorrow with a clear head, and they’ll come and fix everything for you, and you won’t have to think about it any more.’
But his mother was shaking her head vehemently.
‘No!’ she exclaimed. ‘It’s Mrs. Hanbury’s day tomorrow, and you know what a dreadful old cat she is. If she turns up and finds a dead body here she’ll tell your grandfather, and he’ll be terribly cross with me. You know how long it took me to persuade him to let us use the house again after we held our “Rainbow Joy” party last year. I never meant everyone to start throwing paint at each other, but you remember the mess, and the bill for redecoration was rather high. It won’t take much to set him off again. We must get Ticky out of here tonight.’
‘But why don’t you want the police?’ said Freddy. ‘And how did he die, anyway?’ he added as an afterthought.
‘Poison,’ said Cynthia. ‘At least, I think so.’
‘Poison?’ said Freddy. He stared, as the reality of the situation began to seep in slowly. ‘You don’t mean to say you killed him?’
‘Don’t be absurd, darling,’ said Cynthia, although she looked a little uncomfortable. ‘Why on earth would I kill Ticky?’
‘But then how do you know?’
‘Because he told me so himself. He was ill in the taxi on the way back, and when he got here he collapsed and was sick, and then he exclaimed, “Poisoned!” just like that, and died.’
‘Good God!’ said Freddy.
‘Exactly,’ said Cynthia. ‘It was awfully sudden. We were out, a group of us, you see, for his birthday, and he ate far too much—between you and me it was rather revolting and I could hardly bear to watch it—and there was lots of wine and champagne, and that dreadful Van Leeuwen woman was there—I don’t know who invited her—and of course then I was left without a lift and so I ended up in a taxi with Ticky. He spent half the journey drinking brandy out of the flask we gave him, because he didn’t feel well, but it wasn’t until he dropped dead outside the house that I found out just how ill he was. At any rate, it looks most suspicious that I was the last person to see him alive, so you see why we can’t go to the police.’
‘I don’t actually,’ said Freddy, who was struggling to keep up. ‘Why can’t we go to the police?’
‘Why, because everyone will think I did it. I’ll probably be arrested at the very least, or taken off for questioning, but I’m supposed to be going to Marjorie Belcher’s reception tomorrow afternoon, and you know how strait-laced she is, and she’s got Mr. Bickerstaffe in her thrall, and he’ll probably give me the sack, and to be perfectly frank, darling, I could do with the money at the moment. Oh!’ she exclaimed suddenly.
‘What?’ said Freddy.
‘Nothing,’ said Cynthia. ‘I’ve just thought of something, that’s all. Never mind. There’s nothing I can do about it now. I shall just have to think about it later. In the meantime we have to get rid of Ticky. I suggest you go and leave him outside his front door. Then they’ll think he died there and nobody need ever know he was here. It’s only two hundred yards or so. I’ll keep a look-out, if you like.’
‘What do you mean, you suggest I leave him outside his front door?’ said Freddy. ‘What has all this to do with me?’
‘Well, naturally, I can’t carry him, darling. What an extraordinary idea! You must do it.’
‘Freddy, I simply insist. You know perfectly well—’ She suddenly stopped and her eyes narrowed. ‘Have you been drinking?’ she said accusingly.
‘No,’ lied Freddy.
‘You have, haven’t you? I can always tell. Oh, Freddy, and just when I needed you. I feel you’ve let me down, somehow.’
‘It was only—I couldn’t help—Mungo insisted—look here, Mother, can’t a man go for a perfectly innocent cocktail or two without—’
‘Oh, never mind that now,’ said Cynthia. ‘We’ll just have to do the best we can with what we’ve got. I only wish you’d had the sense to remain sober.’
Her tone was reproachful.
‘Well, if you’d told me in advance you were planning to do away with someone, I might have,’ said Freddy. ‘Where’s Father, by the way? Doesn’t he usually dispose of your victims for you?’
‘Don’t be impertinent,’ said Cynthia. ‘As a matter of fact, your father was supposed to come this evening, but he had to take Mr. Fosse out for dinner at the last minute, and he said he would go straight back down to Richmond afterwards. Now, it’s getting late and I’d rather like to go to bed, so let’s get this over and done with instead of standing here talking. You pick him up and I’ll just peep round the front door to make sure the policeman isn’t still there.’
There is no doubt that Freddy had engaged in some, not to say many, morally dubious activities in his time; nonetheless, let the record show that he was not as a rule the sort of young man to aid and abet in the disposal of a dead body—at least, not while sober and in his right mind. However, his defences were always low when he was in drink, and in such a condition he was easily taken advantage of; moreover, Cynthia Pilkington-Soames was not a woman to be easily resisted at the best of times, since she had a tendency to talk incessantly until she got her own way. At present, therefore, Freddy’s mind was fastening very hard on the only facts it would comfortably hold: the first being that there was a corpse cluttering up the entrance-hall, and the second, that he would not be allowed to go to bed until it had been tidied away. He sighed and resigned himself to the inevitable.
‘Oh, very well, then,’ he said. ‘But I should like to make it clear that I do this on sufferance.’
He bent over Ticky and prepared to do as his mother said. According to his imagination, it ought to have been an easy matter to hoist the body up and fling it over his shoulder, but as he now discovered, picking up a corpse is not as easy as it sounds, since a dead weight is just that; and even fully sober it is unlikely that he would have been able to lift Ticky, who had not been a small man. After a certain amount of grappling that many would have considered not only unseemly but also highly disrespectful to the dead, Freddy stood back, panting.
‘It’s no good,’ he said. ‘I can’t lift him.’
‘But then what shall we do?’ said Cynthia. ‘Can you drag him instead?’
‘What, and wake the entire street with the noise?’ said Freddy. ‘I might as well perch him on a barrel-organ and play it as we go. At least the money might pay for my bail.’
‘Now you’re being silly,’ said Cynthia.
But talk of a barrel-organ had given Freddy an idea.
‘What about a wheelbarrow?’ he said. ‘Where might we find such a thing?’
‘I couldn’t tell you,’ said Cynthia. ‘Not around here.’
‘My wagon!’ exclaimed Freddy.
‘You haven’t thrown it away, have you? My little wagon, that I used to ride in. Do you remember? You had to pay the man when I ran over his dog. He was very annoyed.’
‘Oh, that! I dare say it’s still upstairs somewhere. Most likely in the attic. Why—’
But Freddy had already disappeared. He reappeared five minutes later, bearing a child’s toy cart, and set it down on the floor. They regarded it dubiously.
‘Will it hold his weight?’ said Cynthia.
‘We shall just have to try it,’ said Freddy. ‘You take his feet.’
‘Oh, goodness,’ said Cynthia, wrinkling her nose in distaste.
With some effort they managed to load Ticky into the wagon. His limbs were starting to stiffen, and he sat at an almost comical angle, his head tipped quizzically to one side as though he were wondering what was going on.
‘Now, have a look outside. If there’s no-one out there, I’ll make a run for it,’ said Freddy.
Cynthia opened the door and looked up and down the street.
‘The policeman has just turned into Eaton Gate,’ she said in a whisper.
‘Go out and watch him,’ said Freddy.
Cynthia hurried quietly down the steps and went to the corner of the street. She watched for a moment, then gesticulated wildly to signal that the coast was clear. Freddy pulled the wagon with difficulty over the threshold and bumped it down the steps, then stopped to rearrange Ticky, who had begun to slide out. He looked about him nervously, but saw nobody.
‘Well, here goes,’ he muttered.
The string on the little cart had long since frayed through, so there was nothing for it but to bend over and push. The wood creaked and buckled under Ticky’s weight, but held, and the strange procession moved down the street, slowly at first, then faster. Cynthia was still standing at the corner, glancing about, as Freddy stopped to catch his breath.
‘Go, darling,’ she said, and Freddy did so. Now was the time to move as quickly as possible. Eaton Gate was deserted; presumably the policeman had turned into another street. Freddy braced himself and pushed Ticky across the road. It was hard work, for the wagon refused to maintain a straight course and was doing its best to veer off in any direction that took its fancy; moreover, every time it did so Ticky slid a little further out, and Freddy had to keep stopping to adjust him. He continued down Eaton Terrace and turned right into Caroline Terrace. Ticky lived not quite halfway along, at number 25. Freddy straightened the wagon carefully and, with one last burst of effort, bent almost double, broke into a run. He picked up such a turn of speed that he almost shot past the house, and had to stop suddenly. The wagon skidded and came to a standstill—unlike Ticky, who slid off and landed with a thud on the ground. Freddy winced and glanced around, for it seemed to him as though he must have drawn the attention of everyone in the street. Fortunately for him there was still nobody about, but Ticky was lying on the pavement for anyone to trip over who happened to be passing later. With a sigh, Freddy hefted him up under the arms and dragged him laboriously up the front path, where he propped him against the railings as best he could. Ticky was home at last.
Cynthia was on the landing in her dressing-gown when Freddy arrived back at the house, and seemed surprised to see him.
‘Oh, it’s you, darling,’ she said over the banister. ‘Did you have a good evening?’
Freddy opened his mouth to reply, but could think of none suitable.
‘I suppose it’s too late to get back to your rooms now,’ she went on. ‘You may have the blue room, but try and keep it tidy. Don’t forget that Mrs. Hanbury is coming to do tomorrow, and she gets very upset if there’s any mess. Goodnight.’
And with that she went into her room and shut the door, leaving Freddy standing in the hall, tired, dishevelled and with an incipient headache. At length he went upstairs and into the nearest bedroom, where he collapsed onto the bed, fully dressed, and was asleep within minutes.
Interview with Clara Benson
Alexandra: Clara, why did you tell us a little bit about Freddy? We’ve gleaned from that chapter that he works in newspapers and he’s from a posh family. But it sounds like they might be kind of on a little bit of a slide downward.
Clara: We find out in a later book is his grandfather is the cousin of a duke.
I drew up a massive family tree, but he definitely has aristocrats in his lineage. But his mother was obviously a woman, so no title is going to pass that way. So he’s a commoner. He’s got plenty of money, but in a slightly rich boy way rather than massively rich with a huge pile. He’s definitely very upper class, but he’s from the poor side of the family, I think they call it.
Alexandra: And so this is the book where he’s obviously stumbling across his first murder and that gets him involved in the books that are to come.
What took him into working in newspapers?
Clara: Well, he actually appears in my first series, the Angela Marchant mysteries. And he turned up quite by accident. Actually, he was never meant to be a main character.
I think he tried lots of other things and just kept getting the sack.
So in the end, his mother, who also works as a gossip columnist, got him a job, total nepotism with a newspaper, and he found out he was rather good at it. The first time we see him is not in Blackmail in Belgravia. It’s in another book called The Riddle at Gipsy’s Mile.
He’s the boy reporter. He’s the new boy. And he finds himself tripping a lot over a lot of stories. And in the end, we find out he’s actually been creating a lot of the stories as well, because he wants to do well in his job. So we find out he’s been creating some stories, kind of a bit of an agent provocateur.
I think that’s how we got into reporting. And then just gradually when he stopped doing the naughty things he actually became quite a good reporter.
So now he has his own series because he was such a strong character and now we see him doing lots of things for the paper. Later on he doesn’t always solve mysteries connected to the paper, but we see him working for the paper quite a bit.
Alexandra: That intrigues me. You almost anticipated my next question, which is:
What was it about him that made you pluck him out and start a new series about him?
Clara: He invented himself. He was meant to be a totally minor character during the last series. He was only intended to appear in one book. He just had so much to him, I just thought I didn’t write this. Where did he come from?
I had all these ideas in my head about what sort of a character he was going to be. He was going to be quite weak and feeble. And I had meant him to have a crush on my lady detective. And it just never happened. He just wasn’t going that way at all.
He just sort of turned up and like he owned the place. And that’s his thing now, that he’s got a swagger and confidence. And I thought anyone with such swaggering confidence probably needs his own series.
Alexandra: One of the characters that I was really, really connected to in that chapter was his mum. She really cracks me up the way that she’s trying to pretend that what’s happening isn’t actually happening.
Is that what she’s like all the time?
Clara: Yeah, all the time. She’s terrible. I’m not quite sure where she came from. She actually appeared before Freddy. She appeared in the third book of my first series. And she was my detective’s nemesis. She was always chasing her around. And Angela was always quite scared of her.
She’s always trying to chase her down and get an interview with her for gossip column. She’s quite fierce. I picture her as quite small, but just really always with an eye out for the main chance really to try and get what she wants.
She hasn’t appeared quite as much as Freddy. But when she does appear she was makes herself felt she.
Alexandra: She did. She struck me as a really strong character.
I love it that she came over from the Angela series as well.
Clara: I think I transported a few characters over.
I think there were a couple who really needed to be brought over, I think so she was. Obviously Freddy. But I did want to make it a completely separate series. So I did I did create a lot of new characters as well.
Alexandra: Why don’t you tell us a little bit about that series as well. The Angela Marchmont series. It has 12 books, I think, and a couple of short stories.
Clara: Ten books and three short stories. There was another one for free that I use uses as a read magnet as well.
That one I started that a few years ago. I decided finally I was going to write a book. You know, we all want to write a book one day. So I started writing the book. And I thought I’m going to write a mystery because I like reading mysteries.
I developed this lady detective because we all like a lady detective. And she just kind of took off. I didn’t have any particular plans for the way the series would go. But Angela gradually as the series went on, she she came into her own and she she turned out to have a slightly mysterious background.
I wasn’t really quite sure what it was when I started out, but by the end, I had to put my money where my mouth was and reveal all. It just worked out really well and people really related to it.
I get a lot of questions asking me when I’m bringing Angela back, which I think will probably happen. I do have a few ideas, but she really resonated with a lot of people, but I couldn’t keep the same going forever.
I do think people will get bored if you just go on writing the same thing over and over again. I wanted to bring the series to an end because I did want to reveal the backstory of Angela. So I thought, well, probably just ending it like that and never doing anything to it again. I’ll carry on, but with some of the characters from that series.
But I have these visions of the whole lot of them carrying on, maybe like the various characters intermingling, you know, and then weaving in and out out of each of the stories forever. I don’t know. I’ll probably die before that happens. But all these ideas, you never know.
Alexandra: Exactly. And clearly, you love this period of time, the 20s and 30s.
What what is it about that era that draws you?
Clara: Oh, I do. I always have. I think a lot of people like that time. I think a lot of it is the time, but also it’s the clothes, obviously. The beautiful clothes. And the fact that people did dress up for dinner or that I think as well, there was I was just enjoying themselves a lot.
The rich people. They were just really making the most of it. After the First World War, another thing I like is, well, I’ve often thought is for me, the 20s and 30s is it’s a really fascinating period because it’s a transition from the Victorian era to the modern era. It’s the first age in which you are seeing recognizably 20th century behavior.
Women are a lot more free that they’re running around and kissing in nightclubs. Whereas, 20 or 30 years before that they did being chaperoned everywhere, they wouldn’t have been out and allowed out alone.
People are just really kind of going for it. So I think there’s a lot of that’s very attractive, really. You just think, oh, I wish I could have fun like that, especially those with money, because you did need the money. I think there’s a lot more freedom.
Alexandra: One of the things that intrigued me was the language and how it’s it’s still English, obviously, but it’s quite different for that era.
Do you have a particular ear for that kind of language or is it is it a stretch for you? You’re probably used to it by now writing in that language, I think.
I think this is partly the reason I’ve kept on doing this. I decided when I started that there was a whole thing where I pretended that I was actually writing in the era and I created a persona who wasn’t actually a modern day writer.
It wasn’t me. She was someone who died and had been writing in that era. And I thought, I’m going to get away with that story, which was a big fat fib. And I’m going to have to actually really do a good job of creating the style. So I put a lot of effort into that. I couldn’t put more effort into that than I do into anything else.
I’ve got a library subscription to the Oxford English Dictionary. And you can look up a word and you can find out if it was used in the era, or a phrase. And if it wasn’t used in the era, I will just not use it. I’m very careful to use language of the period.
I just think I have read so many books from that period. Mainly mysteries. Agatha Christie, Dorothy L. Sayers and all those. I’ve just read so much of them. I think the style has kind of sunk into my head, really. So I kind of was able to recreate that.
I may be able to mimic things quite well. So that’s part of the enjoyment. I love to be up to use all the old fashioned language. It’s good. It’s really good fun. And I can have a little smirk to myself when I’m doing it because I don’t talk like that in real life.
It’s definitely part of my style as a writer to write like that.
Alexandra: One thing that really struck me, speaking of your own voice, is having the the male narrator and in the Freddy books, you’re obviously writing from a male perspective.
What was that shift like for you?
Clara: I’m not sure about that. I probably thought it would be harder than it was. I would have to ask some men whether I’m getting this right, to be honest.
I wouldn’t call Freddy particularly alpha male or anything like that. He’s comfortable around women. I don’t think he thinks like a big macho man or anything like that. So it’s not very difficult. I just basically have to put myself into the position of a slightly naughty small boy. Because that’s more what he’s like.
I don’t think that’s difficult because I have children and you can kind of imagine what they’re thinking. I don’t find it that difficult. But I mean, again, I would love to hear from a man on that as to whether I’m getting it right.
Alexandra: In that clip we heard, it sounded amazing to me. I was struck by how natural it was and I really admired that, actually, as a fellow writer.
I notice that we’re just about out of time. So I wanted to ask you, shortly after this podcast comes out, you have a new book coming out.
Can you just tell us give us a brief little thing about that?
Clara: Most of my mysteries are self-published. This is for an actual publisher.
The book is called In Darkness Look for Stars. And it’s set in World War Two. And it is completely different from all these mysteries. It’s more of a romantic saga sort of thing, really.
My mysteries are quite light, fluffy, quite humorous. This is not that at all. But I’m very excited about it. I’m extremely proud of it. That will be coming out in April.
It’s all about dark secrets. And during and after the Second World War and love and loyalty and betrayal and all that kind of thing. Really heavy stuff. I got quite depressed writing it, actually.
Alexandra: Another interesting era to write about.
Clara: Oh, definitely has so much to be said, so much to find out about. Yeah, it’s. I did get depressed writing it, but I would say it was so satisfying in the end. I was really pleased with how it came out. So very excited about that.
Alexandra: Great. So we can look for that. April 2020. Correct?
Clara: That’s right. Yes. April the 17th, I believe.
Alexandra: OK, cool. In Darkness Look For Stars.
This has been amazing, Clara. Thank you so much for talking to me.
Why don’t you let everyone know where they can find out more about you and your books?
Clara: I have a Web site: ClaraBenson.com. That’s easy enough. I’m on Facebook, which I think that’s Clara Benson books. I kind of occasionally post cuttings and things I find if I think they’re amusing.
I’m on GoodReads. I don’t spend so much time there but I’m there. I’m anywhere there’s social media.
Alexandra: Thank you so much for talking to me today.
Clara: Thank you. Take care. Bye.