Good day, my bookish peeps. I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend, and for those of you celebrating religious holidays, I pray you had a great holiday. I’m a somewhat persnickety reader when it comes to fiction. When I’m reading historical fiction, I expect that the historical tidbits offered by the author will be true (unless the author is using an alternative historical setting). If a story is set in the Victorian Era, then I fully expect the British monarch to be Queen Victoria, not Queen Dougless. As I’ve stated in the past, I can suspend belief with the best of them but there are certain facts that I find hard to overlook in my fiction reading. Today’s guest, I.M. Foster, author of the historical read Murder on Oak Street, will be sharing with us how she straddles the fine line between history and mystery. I hope you’ll enjoy her thoughts on this subject, follow the blog tour to learn more about this book and its author, and don’t forget to enter the tour-wide giveaway. Thank you, Ms. Foster, for joining us today. I’ll now turn the blog over to you.
Walking a Fine Line Between History and Mystery
by I.M. Foster
I’ve always been a historian, so most of what I write has some historical aspect to it, whether mystery, romance or even paranormal. What I discovered early on was that writing any sub-category of the historical genre is like writing two genres at the same time, even if the historical aspect is in the background.
I knew as I started writing Murder on Oak Street, that I would have to do a lot of research if I wanted to set my novel on turn-of-the-century Long Island. But then, both the librarian and the historian in me love research so that was in no way a deterrent. I chose the south shore, rather than the more infamous Gold Coast of the north shore because I was looking for someplace not so well known. And yet, I wanted a location that served as a resort area, where the victim and suspect pool could be easily expanded beyond the local residents. I found that in the village of Patchogue. Now, that phase one was complete, it was time to move on to phase two of my research, really getting to know what Patchogue was like in 1904.
I was relatively well acquainted with the village in 2020, but what was it like over a hundred years before? With a loose idea of the plot in hand, I began my research, using local newspapers, records, and photographs. I called on local town historians and local historical librarians, picking their brains for insight into the period. The Patchogue-Medford Library, as it is now known, has a fantastic local history department, so I was able to find everything from a 1904 directory to pictures of what Patchogue’s streets and buildings looked like at the time. The library was even kind enough to allow me to feature some of the pictures on my website, which is a tremendous visual aid for my readers. And being able to add the names of actual locations that existed at the time, helped enhance the historical flavor of the mystery.
Having gained a clear picture of the village, I broadened my research and dug into the history of the time period as a whole, so that I could incorporate that into the characters and events. Things like fingerprints were extremely new and not being used on a regular basis, but electricity and telephones were becoming more common, as was the automobile. The hotel where Daniel stays in Patchogue even had steam heating in its rooms, quite a luxury at the time.
Once I had a feel for the time period and village in 1904, I began to write, weaving in little bits of history here and there, while still keeping the focus on the mystery aspect of the book, I also wanted to integrate a bit of romance, a character to interact with the hero, Daniel O’Halleran, on both an intellectual and an emotional level. Thus I created Kathleen Brissedon, the local librarian, which in turn gave me the opportunity to include a bit more history, about the library itself this time. What I ended up with, I hope, is a period mystery that will transport you to 1904 Long Island and introduce you to characters that might have very well existed at the time. Hop on the Long Island railroad with Daniel and see if you can solve this first South Shore Mystery… ♦
Murder on Oak Street
by I. M. Foster
April 10 – May 5, 2023 Virtual Book Tour
New York, 1904. After two years as a coroner’s physician for the city of New York, Daniel O’Halleran is more frustrated than ever. What’s the point when the authorities consistently brush aside his findings for the sake of expediency? So when his fiancée leaves him standing at the altar on their wedding day, he takes it as a sign that it’s time to move on and eagerly accepts an offer to assist the local coroner in the small Long Island village of Patchogue.
Though the coroner advises him life on Long Island is far more subdued than that of the city, Daniel hasn’t been there a month when the pretty librarian, Kathleen Brissedon, asks him to look into a two-year-old murder case that took place in the city. Oddly enough, the case she’s referring to was the first one he ever worked on, and the verdict never sat right with him.
Eager for the chance to investigate it anew, Daniel agrees to look into it in his spare time, but when a fresh murder occurs in his own backyard, he can’t shake his gut feeling that the two cases are somehow connected. Can he discover the link before another life is taken, or will murder shake the peaceful South Shore village once again?
Genre: Historical Mystery
Published by: Indie
Publication Date: October 2022
Number of Pages: 503
ISBN: 9781733337571 (Paperback)
ASIN: B0BFMT4WL2 (Kindle edition)
Series: A South Shore Mystery, Book 1
Purchase Links #CommissionEarned: Amazon | Amazon Kindle | Goodreads
I. M. Foster is the pen name author Inez Foster uses to write her South Shore Mystery series, set on Edwardian Long Island. Inez also writes historical romances under the pseudonym Andrea Matthews, and has so far published two series in that genre: the Thunder on the Moor series, a time-travel romance set on the 16th century Anglo-Scottish Borders, and the Cross of Ciaran series, which follows the adventures of a fifth century Celt who finds himself in love with a twentieth-century archaeologist.
Inez is a historian and librarian, who love to read and write and search around for her roots, genealogically speaking. She has a BA in History and an MLS in Library Science and enjoys the research almost as much as she does writing the story. In fact, many of her ideas come to her while doing casual research or digging into her family history. Inez is a member of the Long Island Romance Writers, and the Historical Novel Society.
Find Out More & Get Social With I. M. Foster:
IMFosterMysteries.com – for her mysteries
www.andrea-matthews.com – for her romances
BookBub – @imfostermysteries
Instagram – @imfosterauthor
Twitter – @IMFosterMystery
Facebook – @IMFosterMysteries
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