Our Mutual Friends

Starting in the top left and continuing clockwise: a silver candle holder; wheel of cheese with knife; ink well with penknife, ink pot, quill and small cup for cleaning quill; folded copy of The Times of London; brass candle holder; cup of tea; scissors; admiralty map of Samokar; engraving of Lord Byron in Albanian dress; Benjamin Franklin treatise on electricity; engraving of the conservatory at Carleton House. In the center: opened book with engraving of cinchona plant, with a flyer advertising Doctor Meissner’s baquet; and newspaper clipping of the missing prince; a text pointer; and a small magnifying glass.

At long last, the sequel to My Particular Friend has been written. I’m now editing it and designing the book cover, so I hope to have it finished in a few months. As usual it will be available through Amazon for the Kindle and as a paperback. You can see a first draft of the book cover here.

Our Mutual Friends has two affairs: “The Affair of the Putative Prince” and “The Stimulating Affair.” The first story is suggested by the tale of Princess Caraboo and the second by the exploits of Franz Mesmer, the hypnotist and promoter of animal magnetism. The sequel is a little unusual in that my Sherlock Holmes-like character, Charlotte House, is absent from much of the book, in the manner of The Hound of the Baskervilles, where Watson believes he is on his own. But the balance will be restored in my next book, where my Watson character, Jane Woodsen, is absent for much of that book.

This sequel is very much influenced by Charles Dicken’s Our Mutual Friend, and also by Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park. I am sad to so there’s almost no P.G. Wodehouse influence.

Much of my time of late has been spent designing the cover. My usual custom is to take photographs of buildings and use them as covers, but my photographs of The Georgian House Museum in Edinburgh never quite worked out. So instead I’m falling back on my other lifelong trope of depicting a desktop with all the attendant desk accessories, but instead of creating it in Illustrator and PhotoShop, I’ve made 1/12th scale models of these items and cunningly photographed them. Whether it works is debatable, but I like it.

The items are slightly inspired by the cabinet of curiosities Mr. Knightley collects to entertain Mr. Woodhouse during the strawberries picnic at Donwell Abbey. I’ve written about the motivation for my model making at Austen Authors.

I will start my last edit of the book in the next day or so before giving it to my friends and husband to edit. I’ll start posting snippets soon.

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