Yesterday evening I was in Foyles for the launch of the latest book by my historical novelist friend, Lucienne Boyce. This time she’s gone for a bit of genre-blending, because the book is a mystery, and has a tinge of fantasy to it as well.
Bloodie Bones is billed as a Dan Foster Mystery, Mr. Foster being a former pick-pocket who now works for the Bow Street Runners (an early London police force) and is an amateur pugilist (bare-knuckle boxer). The story is set in Somerset and is based around the events of the Enclosures, a time when the nobility were changing their lands from being open fields and woods to fenced private property. The net result of this was to force large number of agricultural workers off the land and into cities were they could be employed very cheaply by the new factories.
The title, of course, refers to the mythological figure, Raw Head and Bloody Bones, who featured in Jack Wolf’s novel.
The evening opened with Lucienne’s husband providing a powerful reading of “The Mores” by the working class poet, John Clare, who did fine work documenting this part of English history. There were also readings and questions, which inevitably resulted in yours truly putting her hand up because no one else wanted to be first.
The event was recorded by a lady called Suzie Grogan who works with a Somerset-based community radio station, 10 Radio. I’m not sure when the material will be aired, but I’ll be keeping in touch with Suzie to find out. They don’t appear to have a full Listen Again service like Ujima, but they do podcast some of the material. Suzie’s main interest as a broadcaster is books, so one or two of you reading this may hear from her soon.