I am thrilled to introduce you to Felicity Young today. Born in Germany, Felicity attended boarding school in the UK while her parents travelled the world with the British army, until her family settled in Western Australia in 1976. Felicity became a nurse, married young and raised three children while completing an Arts degree (English lit) at UWA, over a period of ten years. In 1990, Felicity and her family moved to a small farm 40 kilometers NE of Perth where she established a Suffolk sheep stud, reared orphan kangaroos and embarked upon a life of crime writing.
Her first novel, a stand alone novel, A Certain Malice, was published in 2005. In 2007 An Easeful Death launched a contemporary crime series featuring Detective Sergeant Stevie Hooper. Books two and three of the series, Harum Scarum and Takeout, were published in 2008 and 2010 respectively, by Fremantle Press.
In 2012, The Dissection of Murder (retitled in the US as The Anatomy of Death) launched a new crime series in which, against the backdrop of the suffragette movement in turn of the century Britain, Felicity Young introduces Dr Dody McCleland, the first female autopsy surgeon.
Antidote To Murder followed, published in 2013, with Dody framed for the death of a scullery maid, who was the victim of a botched criminal abortion, by unscrupulous colleagues and ambitious misogynists. With Dr Benard Spillsbury away and Chief Inspector Pike missing, Dody is forced to face her accusers alone while trying to unmask the real culprit butchering desperate young women.
The Scent of Murder, is the third intriguing mystery, released just last month.
“‘If a black dog appears along the old corpse way, the route a funeral procession takes to the churchyard, it is thought to be escorting the dead soul to the afterlife. A black dog sighting without a funeral procession, however, is supposed to foreshadow death.’
For Doctor Dody McCleland, the unearthing of an ancient skeleton in a dry riverbed is a welcome break from the monotony of chaperoning her younger sister at a country house near the isolated hamlet of Piltdown. But when she begins her analysis of the bones, Britain’s first female autopsy surgeon discovers they are much more recent – and they are the result of murder. With Chief Inspector Matthew Pike’s help Dody begins to investigate. Soon she finds herself pitted against ugly traditionalism, exploitation, spectral dogs, a ghostly hunt and a series of events that not only threaten her belief in scientific rationalism, but threaten her life itself.”
My review of The Scent of Murder can be viewed HERE, but first please avail yourself of the opportunity to learn more about Felicity Young, her work, and enter to win a print copy of The Scent of Murder!
Q&A with Felicity Young
Q: What crime is forensic pathologist, Dody McCleland faced with in The Scent of Murder?
Felicity: The story revolves around an old skeleton found in a stream bed, so I guess you could say that Dody and Pike are investigating a ‘cold case.’
Q: Did you ever have the opportunity to meet your grandmother, on whom the character of Dody McCleland is based?
Felicity: Alas no, she died when I was a baby. But since starting the Dody books, I did gain access to her numerous notes and scribbles. You can see a sample of them on my webpage, http://www.felicityyoung.com. I think you will see what a terrific help these were to me when I was dreaming up ‘my’ Dody’s back story.
Q: Why did you choose to set the series in Edwardian times?
Felicity: I’ve always been a bit of a history buff and the Edwardian period is definitely my favourite. Here are just a few reasons why:
It’s close enough to my own time to have been in the living memory of elderly people I knew when I was a child. This factor has always made the period seem particularly alive to me.
It’s also a fascinating period of transition between our own time and the distant past, which makes it a great setting for a crime author to play around in. For example, if I want someone to get away, they can escape by automobile, but if I want them to get caught they can be travelling by handsome cab. Very few houses had telephones, so often my heroes have to get themselves out of trouble rather than relying on ‘back up’. And of course no DNA or computers — just old fashioned, character based detective work – bliss!
I also enjoy the diverse range of the research, from early medicine, to the suffragettes to the history of the English police.
I love writing the more formalized style of speech of the upper classes and the ‘slang’ of the lower, as well as the quaint expressions and sayings of the time. For example, did you know that the word ‘hello’ as a greeting was not used in Edwardian England? The closest word to this at the time was ‘hullo’ as in ‘hullo, what have we here?’
And of course, the enormous social, political and international tension of the Edwardian period provides me with a never-ending supply of plots.
Last, but by no means least, I adore the fashions.
Q: What is the most surprising or interesting piece of information you discovered when researching The Scent of Murder?
Felicity: This book probably hasn’t required as much research as the other two, but I was interested to learn how they used to estimate the age of bones pre carbon dating. It was also fun reading the folk tales of the area in which the story is based.
Q: You write both contemporary and historical crime fiction, is one easier, or faster to write than the other?
I always wanted to write historical fiction, but worried I would find the research too overwhelming. This is why I decided to cut my teeth on contemporary crime fiction first. Funnily enough, now I have done both, I think I find historical the easier (but not faster, I’m a slow writer and both take ages) of the two. With the historical, I don’t have to worry about cutting edge technological developments or the worming out of procedural information from the modern police. Provided I know where to look, most of the facts are at my fingertips. And of course, my historical mysteries will never date!
Q: What are you working on now, or what can we expect next?
Felicity: I’m working on the 4th Dody McCleland book, The Insanity of Murder. You can probably guess what that’s about.
Q: Can you please share three of your favourite novels by Australian women writers?
Felicity: The first that come to mind are three talented WA authors who’s novels have not had the publicity they deserve.
Elemental by Amanda Curtin (my favourite book of last year), The Hapshepsut Trilogy by Patricia L. O’Neill (Ancient Egyptian saga at its best), and The Bookshop of Jacaranda Street by Marlish Glorie (fabulous, quirky and set in Perth).
Q: What is your preference?
Felicity: (Is this some kind of Myers-Briggs test?!)
Coffee/Tea or other? Coffee in AM, tea in PM (de caff where possible) — who’s buying?
Beach/Pool or River? Beach, but only for a short time, thank you. I’m too much of a restless soul to enjoy lolling around for long. A quick play in the waves and a body surf or two will do just fine.
Slacks/Jeans or Leggings? Tracky pants and PJ bottoms at home, but when I’m out of the house I might lever myself into a pair of jeans.
Butterfly/Tiger or Giraffe? I love them all, but my heart aches for tigers.
Swings/Slide or Roundabout? Swinging, then flying off and landing on a soft pile of sand. Ah, those were the days…
Courtesy of Harper Collins Australia
I have 1 print edition of
The Scent of Murder by Felicity Young
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Entries Close May 25th, 2014
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