Unlikely Traitors by Clare Langley-Hawthorne
Ursula Marlow Mysteries Book 3
Historical Cozy Mystery
Ursula Marlow thought she was done with death, but when her fiancé, Lord Wrotham, is arrested on charges of treason, her world is turned upside down. It is the winter of 1913, and the British Parliament, unsettled on the question of Home Rule for Ireland, is shaken over allegations of a plot to sell naval military secrets to Kaiser’s Germany and liberate Ireland from English rule. For the first time, Ursula must work together with Chief Inspector Harrison to uncover the truth about Lord Wrotham’s involvement, as well as his mysterious past.
As the investigation continues, Ursula is drawn into the shadowy world of the Irish Republican Brotherhood and a web of espionage and betrayal. She must race against time to clear Lord Wrotham’s name and thwart a plot that threatens not only British national security, but also her life.
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By Clare Langley-Hawthorne
I come from a family of nomads. My parents, English through and through, emigrated first to Canada, then to Australia and finally (well, possibly…) to America. Growing up I always felt the allure of travel. We were the small four-person offshoot of the family that just happened to live ‘Down Under’, but we were like some exotic species whenever we returned to England to visit. I must admit, as a child I sometimes felt that England was my real home, even though I barely spent four years of my childhood living there. It wasn’t as if I didn’t like Australia or enjoy growing up there, it just seemed so very alien to me. Eventually when my husband and I had the opportunity to travel and come work in the USA, we seized the chance – both of us eager to experience a new country and culture. Almost twenty years on (and twin boys later…), I feel as though America is now my home, but the magnetic pull of traveling hasn’t diminished. I’m just lucky to be able to explore new and exotic places both in person as well as in my imagination.
The inspiration for my first Ursula Marlow novel, Consequences of Sin, came from a journey down the Orinoco River in Venezuela. In the second book, The Serpent and the Scorpion, I didn’t get to physically travel to Israel or Palestine, but I got to transport myself in time and space via my imagination (and some terrific history books). When I decided to focus on Ireland in the current (and third installment) of my Ursula Marlow Edwardian mystery series, Unlikely Traitors, I drew upon my visit to Ireland in 1998, soon after the Northern Ireland peace accord was reached. Ever since I was a teenager, I’ve been intrigued with Irish history, and naturally I was drawn to researching the issue of Home Rule for Ireland (which was, not surprisingly, an ongoing controversy in Edwardian England).
The inspiration for Unlikely Traitors was a classic ‘what if’ scenario that came out of my research – what if the mystery Ursula had to solve involved an attempt to get armaments from Germany in support of an Irish Republic before the outbreak of the First World War? What if her fiancé, Lord Oliver Wrotham, was charged with treason, just as Sir Roger Casement ultimately was in 1916?
By the time I had finished my research, I knew that the third Ursula Marlow book would deal directly with tensions over Irish Home Rule and the murky past of some of Ursula’s closest friends. This provided me with yet another opportunity to explore a new and exotic locale – that of British Guiana, a former British colony on the Northern coast of South America.
I love to visit new places and learn about their history in my books. Somehow it feels that I get to follow in my family’s nomadic footsteps that way. History can often feel as alien and strange as any exotic locale – but through my writing I get to travel and learn at the same time (without even leaving my desk sometimes!). I feel extremely lucky to be able to combine my love of travel and history through my writing.
So what about you? How do you like to travel via the books you read?
About the Author
Clare Langley-Hawthorne was raised in England and Australia. She was an attorney in Melbourne before moving to the United States, where she began her career as a writer. Her first novel, Consequences of Sin, featuring the Oxford graduate, heiress, and militant suffragette Ursula Marlow, was published in 2007. The second book in the series, The Serpent and the Scorpion, was published in 2008. Consequences of Sin was a San Francisco Chronicle Bay Area bestseller and a Macavity Award nominee for best historical mystery. Clare now lives in Denver, Colorado, with her husband, twin boys, and collie, Hamish.
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