“The best-laid schemes o’ mice an’ men gang aft agley,” as Gooseberry quotes Robbie Burns at the start of Big Bona Ogles, Boy!, the latest instalment of Send for Octavius Guy. They certainly have in this case. I had big plans to promote the book, all of which began to gang agley as the pain in my lower-back flared up at the beginning of November. It has now developed into sciatica, making both walking and sitting difficult for me. At least I can take solace in the fact that I managed to finish the book, and that it was released on schedule. And—come what may—I will not allow myself to miss the launch party on December 1st!
Many thanks to everyone who requested review copies of the book through LibraryThing Early Reviewers. Coupon codes will be winging their way to you as soon as LibraryThing sends me the winners’ list, which should be in the next three or four days. If you like your detective fiction cosy, this could prove to be the perfect read for the forthcoming holidays. Expect puzzles aplenty and an abundance of clues to ponder as the death toll slowly mounts. As a former LibraryThing Early Reviewer remarked of the second book in the series, “Pour some tea or a wee dram, put your feet up, and enjoy cover to cover.” I do hope you enjoy young Gooseberry’s latest adventure as much as I enjoyed writing it.
As with its predecessors, this latest title is also founded on fact. Towards the end of 1852, the young medium Mrs Maria B. Hayden and her husband William travelled to Britain from their home in Hartford, Connecticut, to bring Spiritualism to these shores for the very first time. She held regular séances in London, which were met with a fairly mixed response. The literary world, in particular, was nothing less than scathing. George Henry Lewes, who was later to become the partner of the writer George Eliot (author of Middlemarch, Silas Marner, The Mill on the Floss, etc., etc.), played an especially mean trick on the woman. Unseen by Maria, he wrote out a question on a sheet of paper: “Is Mrs Hayden an impostor?” The spirit controlling Maria rapped out: “Yes”, causing Lewes to claim this as an admission of her guilt. You will find two of the most in-depth articles available anywhere online right here on my website that deal with Maria B. Hayden and Florence Cook, the other medium to have inspired the antics (if not quite the character) of Mrs Maria Harmon.
Don’t forget, for real-time insights into Gooseberry’s mind as the case unravels, follow his daily posts on Twitter @sendforOctavius.
Finally, as a small token of my thanks for taking the trouble to find this page, I’d like to offer you a 50% discount off the list price of Octopus (Send for Octavius Guy #2). Purchase it at Smashwords.com and, when it comes time to pay, use coupon code: GV88V. This offer is available until December 15th, 2016.