Ladies of Class by Marjorie Owen
What inspired you to write your first book?
Mum was an avid reader, never without a book in her hand. She loved murder mystery stories. We do not know which of her four books was written first. But the first book we presented for publication to Vinspire was a murder mystery.
Do you have a specific writing style?
Mum wrote mostly murder mystery and romance books and stories.
How did you come up with the title?
The original title was ‘Little Pigs’. We changed to ‘Ladies of Class’ as the victims were all ‘Ladies’ with ‘classy’ backgrounds!
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
I don’t think mum was trying to get any message to readers. Maybe mum was saying something about Ladies and their birthright.
Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Mum’s father was an Irish Lord. Perhaps part of her background crept into the story.
What books have most influenced your life most?
She loved Agatha Christie and Murder Mystery.
If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
I’m sure mum would have chosen Agatha Christie.
What book are you reading now?
She would have been reading a mystery.
What are your current projects?
The Poison Pen is mum’s next book in the process of being edited.
Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
Well, mum never told anyone she had done any writing. We only found her works after she passed away at 93.
Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
We think she did write a few articles related to her work.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
It must have been quite a challenge for mum. Most of her writings are hand written.
Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s) or do guest appearances?
She loved to travel to Ireland and Los Angles.
Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
We really don’t know. It obviously gave her a lot of pleasure.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
If she were alive today, I’m sure mum would be able to give writers some good advice.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
She would probably say, ‘enjoy reading and read more’.
What were the challenges (research, literary, psychological, and logistical) in bringing it to life?
I would expect that mum drew from her own experiences, people she met, and places she had been.
In the book Ladies of Class, Richard Hayward’s promotion and move from the big city life to the sleepy town of Burshill, England, has been shattered. Sir John Bury needs a murder solved. Clues take him from Burshill to California, Paris and London and back in time. As the story progresses the plot thickens. Richard Hayward’s reputation as the youngest officer to be promoted to Detective Chief Inspector precedes him. Richard hoped his recent transfer and move to Burshill would allow him a quiet convalescence from a broken leg. But his peace was soon to be shattered by a phone call from Sir John Bury, the Chief Constable.
A murder had been committed that night and Richard’s ability to solve crimes, in spite of his unconventional methods, were needed before his duties officially began.
The results of his investigations and travels, in search of clues and answers to the apparently senseless murders are surprising. Several ladies of a particular ‘class’ become part of the inquiry. As the facts begin to unfold, they not only amaze Richard, himself and the community of Burshill, but extends all the way to the top brass of Scotland Yard. In the face of adversity, Richard manages to outwit the criminal and emerges triumphant.
“Good Lord! Look at that fog. Hope it means another sunny day tomorrow. Now off to bed and don’t forget to say ‘Rabbits.’ First of April in the morning. In fact” – looking at the clock, “it’s almost that now.”
Richard disappeared upstairs to the bathroom, Ella to the kitchen. While she was washing the crocks and tidying generally, a slight frown marred her usually placid face. She was recollecting the recent conversation, dismissed out of hand Richard’s gloomy forebodings. Of course Kate would return sooner or later, but better sooner than later.
For a moment she even considered writing to the girl herself; delicately hint that Richard was missing her; but she shook her head reprovingly. “Don’t be an interfering old bag,” she admonished herself. “They must sort out their own problems.”
Pity though that his first few weeks in Burshill should have begun under such inauspicious conditions. She was tremendously proud of her son although wild horses wouldn’t have dragged such an admission out of her. Following his father’s footsteps in the Police Force, Richard’s advancement had been nothing short of spectacular. It was generally believed he was the youngest officer ever to have achieved his recent promotion to the rank of Detective Chief Inspector, and with his promotion had come Richard’s transfer to Burshill…
…So he’d come to Burshill but of course his reputation had preceded him. There was a certain amount of antagonism to overcome – human nature being what it is – but Ella had no doubt he’d cope. In a way, he became a bit more human to his fellows when he broke the bone in his leg, not from some heroic deed but slipping on a patch of hidden ice! She smiled at the thought of his discomfiture over that episode, hung the tea towel up to dry, switched off the kitchen light and prepared for her own exit bed wards.
At that moment the telephone bell rang. Ella nearly jumped out of her skin. By official request the phone had been left from the previous owners, so probably this late call was from some friend who didn’t know of the change of an occupier. Curiously she picked it up.
A man’s voice asked if she was Mrs. Hayward.
“Mrs. Hayward, senior,” she corrected him.
“Good evening, madam. May I speak to the Chief Inspector, please?”
Ella was a copper’s widow and a copper’s mother but at this moment the mother came uppermost.
“He’s in bed asleep,”she lied. The voice at the other end was polite but firm.
“I’m very sorry, Mrs. Hayward, but I’m afraid I must insist. This is urgent.”
Ella felt like telling him to go to hell. She knew she was fighting a losing battle. “Who are you?” she asked crossly.
“Detective Sergeant Findon from Burshill Police. Your son will know me.”
By this time Richard was at the top of the stairs in his pyjamas. “What’s going on?”
“A Detective, Findon or somebody, insisting on a word with you. I told him you were asleep.”
Richard frowned but came down to the phone.