Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Welcome, Donna Crow, author of Tincture of Murder!

Donna Fletcher Crow is the author of 43 books, mostly novels dealing with British history. The award-winning Glastonbury, A Novel of the Holy Grail, an Arthurian grail search epic covering 15 centuries of English history, is her best-known work. She is also the author of three mystery series. Her newest titles are: An Unholy Communion, The Monastery Murders; A Tincture of Murder, The Lord Danvers Victorian true-crime novels; and A Jane Austen Encounter in the romantic suspense series The Elizabeth & Richard Mysteries. Donna and her husband live in Boise, Idaho. They have 4 adult children and 11 grandchildren. She is an enthusiastic gardener.

Lord Charles Danver's younger brother has shocked the family by taking Holy Orders, and worse, choosing to live near his church in one of the poorest parts of England. And now, most outrageous of all, Freddie has launched his "Asylum for Poor, Degraded Females" in a notorious slum of the City of York.

But the cleric's saintly works may come to a scandalous end when several of the starving women who took refuge in The Magdalen House die under mysterious circumstances. Neither the asylum—nor Freddie’s career—may survive when news of these deaths spreads. The young Danvers is in trouble and Danvers family honor is at stake.

Still, Lord Danvers is reluctant to get involved in anything so sordid. Then a devastating fire ravages Danver's ancestral home, forcing Charles and Antonia to seek temporary residence. Since Freddie's plea includes an invitation to stay at elegant Wandseley Hall, Charles reconsiders.

Lady Antonia is drawn into helping feed the destitute women and look after the starving children living in the asylum, while Charles struggles to answer two overarching questions: Are the unexplained deaths the result of natural causes? Or is an insane poisoner at large in York—perhaps someone among Charles and Antonia's own acquaintances?

What inspired you to write this novel?

My publisher asked me to write another book in my Lord Danvers True-Crime series to follow the first three: A Most Inconvenient Death, Grave Matters and To Dust You Shall Return. I was delighted to comply because I love working with the Victorians. I admire their energy, their devotion to family and their strong sense of doing the right thing.

Since these books all have an historical crime with a fictional one woven around it I found my A Tincture of Murder story when my research turned up the case of the poisoner William Dove in mid-Victorian York— one of my all-time favorite cities. And then I got a bonus when I found another true crime that is truly more bizarre than anything Charles Dickens wrote.

And my third (or is this the fourth?) inspiration was the opportunity to tell the story of the work of the Victorian slum priests who defied the strictures of society to build beautiful churches in the midst of the worst slums in order to bring beauty and a concept of heaven into poor people's lives. And then, (gasp!) they dared to start asylums to care for fallen women and starving orphans. One of the major reasons I write history is because I believe the work of people like this shouldn't be forgotten

Truly fascinating, Donna! 

What is one fun thing my readers might not know about you but would like to?

Because I am known for my love of British history and my passion for drinking tea and growing roses, few of my readers would suspect that I was something of a tomboy growing up. As an only child I was my father's son—a role I especially delighted in when it came to going on the long horseback treks my father organized in the Idaho Wilderness area.

When I got a little older I extended that hobby to rodeo queen contests and became Queen of the Snake River Stampede, Miss Rodeo Idaho and runner-up to Miss Rodeo America.

Oh, I love horseback riding! And who knew, wow, rodeo queen--a woman of many talents. Thanks for sharing with my readers today, Donna!


Find out more about Donna Crow at the following locations:

I would love to have readers visit my website to see my book trailers, read about all my books, see photos from my research trips and visit my garden:
You can click the little orange B in the upper right corner of my homepage to go to my blog, or go directly to "Deeds of Darkness; Deeds of Light"
I would also love to have you follow me on Facebook:
Or Twitter



Daddy's Hands

Often my grandchildren ask me to tell them a story about when I was a little girl. Here is one of their favorites in honor of my Daddy...