Hello, book people and welcome to the weekend! I don’t know about you, but I’m more than ready to take a vacation, or rather a staycation given the current pandemic. Is there any place better for a booklover to stay than a literary-themed bed-and-breakfast even if it is only by visiting through turning the pages of Booked for Death, the first book in the Booklover’s B&B series by Victoria Gilbert, acclaimed author of the Blue Ridge Library series? I hope you’ll join me in welcoming Ms. Gilbert as she gives a bit of background into this new series. Thank you, Ms. Gilbert, for taking time away from your writing and librarian duties to visit with us today.
Going Medieval to Celebrate a Mystery Novel
Chapters, the inn featured in the Booklover’s B&B series, is a literary-themed bed-and-breakfast located in the historic coastal town of Beaufort, North Carolina. The current owner and manager, 42-year-old widow Charlotte Reed, inherited the B&B, its extensive private library, and its tradition of celebrating authors and books, from her great-aunt Isabella. Continuing the tradition, Charlotte regularly hosts weeklong literary-themed events, complete with special dinners, cocktail parties, book discussions, and other related activities.
Although the original portion of Chapters was built in the early eighteenth-century, it still isn’t as old as the recipes Charlotte researches to create a semi-realistic rendition of a medieval banquet. Celebrating Golden Age mystery author, Josephine Tey, Charlotte plans to highlight one of Tey’s most famous novels, The Daughter of Time. An examination of Richard III through the sleuthing of Tey’s brilliant 20th-century detective, Inspector Alan Grant, the book questions whether Richard III actually killed his nephews, the ill-fated “Princes in the Tower.”.
To honor this book, Charlotte asks her freelance chef, Damian Carr, to create a menu for a dinner and costume party based on 15th-century sources. However, she’s realistic about modern diners’ acceptance of some typical medieval banquet dishes, like peacock or swan, and settles on roasted boar instead. She also has Damian serve fish (pike) as well as roasted root vegetables, and an orange ginger cake, among other things.
This meal, although harkening back to the time period, is a far cry from an actual 15th-century banquet. For example, for the coronation of Richard III in 1483, there were three set courses, consisting of fifteen dishes each! (In fact, the feast ran so long, the third course was never served). No modern meal can compete, and the party at Chapters attempts merely to imitate, not replicate such excess. But Charlotte’s dinner party still ends with quite a bang—when one of the guests turns up murdered!
For some idea of what a real 15th-century banquet might have looked like, here’s an image from the time period, depicting a lavish banquet in France.
And just for fun, here’s an image from the “Rous Roll,” an illustrated chronicle created by fifteenth-century historian and priest John Rous. The chronicle was possibly commissioned by Richard III’s queen, Anne Neville, and it contains one of the only known contemporary portraits of Anne. This image actually inspires one of the costumes worn by a guest in Booked for Death—Queen Anne’s rose pink and ermine gown and robe.
I admit that I enjoy including historical references and elements in my contemporary novels. I also like to celebrate the great authors who’ve written the many l books I love to read.
Do you enjoy reading about a particular period in history? Please comment below to share your favorite time periods, as well as some of your favorite classic mystery authors.
Booked for Death: A Book Lover’s B&B Mystery
by Victoria Gilbert
Booked for Death: A Book Lover’s B&B Mystery
1st in Series
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books (August 11, 2020)
Hardcover: 320 pages
Digital ASIN: B07XX7PHTV
From the critically acclaimed author of SIBA Okra Pick A Murder for the Books, Victoria Gilbert embarks with a new series for perfect for fans of Kate Carlisle and Juliet Blackwell.
A book lover’s B&B in an idyllic waterfront village becomes the scene of a grisly murder—and a ruthless battle between treachery and the truth.
Nestled in the historic waterfront town of Beaufort, North Carolina, Chapters Bed-and-Breakfast is a reader’s paradise. Built in 1770, the newly renovated inn hosts a roster of special events celebrating books, genres, and authors. It’s the perfect literary retreat—until a rare book dealer turns up dead in the carriage house during a celebration of Golden Age mystery author Josephine Tey.
The victim’s daughter points the finger at forty-two-year-old widow and former schoolteacher Charlotte Reed, who inherited the B&B from her great-aunt Isabella. Charlotte is shocked to discover that the book dealer suspected Isabella of being a thief who founded Chapters on her ill-gotten gains. Charlotte has successfully learned the B&B business in a year, but nothing has prepared her to handle a death on the premises.
Armed with intelligence and courage and assisted by her vibrant older neighbor, a visiting author, and members of a local book club, Charlotte is determined to prove her innocence and to clear her great-aunt’s name. But the murderer is still at large, and equally determined to silence anyone who might discover the truth behind the book dealer’s death. Now, Charlotte must outwit an unknown killer—or end up writing her own final chapter.
Purchase Links: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | Indie Bound
About Virginia Gilbert
Victoria Gilbert, raised in the shadow of the Blue Ridge Mountains, turned her early obsession with reading into a dual career as an author and librarian. Victoria has worked as a reference librarian, research librarian, and library director. When not writing or reading, she likes to spend her time watching films, gardening, or traveling. She is a member of Sisters in Crime and International Thriller Writers and lives in North Carolina. Author of the Blue Ridge Library series, Booked for Death is the first in her Booklover’s B&B Mystery series.
Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/VictoriaGilbertMysteryAuthor/
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