William Savage is an amateur historian and author of mysteries. His books are set in Georgian and Regency Norfolk during the period of the French Revolutionary and Napoleonic wars. William's books are designed to be first-and-foremost 'good yarns' about interesting people in tough situations. While he strives for authenticity in setting and culture, these are stories, not historical essays. William is retired now and lives not far from the beautiful North Norfolk coast in eastern England.
An Unlamented Death
When Dr. Adam Bascom trips over a body in Gressington churchyard, he never imagines it will change the whole direction of his life. As a recently-qualified physician trying to establish a practice in a small market town in north Norfolk, Adam should be devoting all his energy to his business. But it soon becomes clear that the authorities are intent on making sure the death is accepted as an accident and refuse any deeper investigation. Adam’s curiosity and sense of justice cannot accept this. He knows there are many unanswered questions about the death, but he has no standing that would allow him to become involved formally. Instead, he uses friends, old and new, unexpected contacts and even his own mother to help him get to the truth.
Set against the turbulence of late-Georgian England, a country on the brink of war with Revolutionary France, the book reveals a land where spies keep constant watch on everyone the government deems ‘undesirable’, religion is polarised between the established church and a mass of dissenting sects, and the perennial ‘Irish question’ has at last spilled over into outright terrorism. Bad weather, poor harvests and enclosure have driven many people in the countryside into abject poverty. Only the smugglers along the coast offer regular and highly-paid ‘work’ helping to unload contraband. Yet here too, the Revenue’s Riding Officers, backed up by troops of dragoons, are waging an increasingly successful campaign to stamp out the major gangs.
Dr. Adam Bascom must thread his way through all of this, encountering many new demands along the way, from a family torn apart by religious bigotry, and a teenage thief turned informer, to a secret section of The Alien Office, a government department dedicated to keeping a close eye on anyone likely to prove a threat to the realm. As he becomes more and more essential to the government’s efforts to combat internal dissension and prepare for war, Adam finds he must draw on all his medical and personal skills to bring the case to a successful conclusion.
The Fabric of Murder
Mr. Ashmole Foxe is something of an enigma in 1760 Norwich. He claims to be a bookseller, yet his shop, which stands next to his fine city house, is rarely open for business. He dresses in the most fashionable clothes, made from the finest materials. He is clearly a gentleman, well-educated and at ease in the company of peers and rich merchants, and his household includes a full complement of servants for a wealthy bachelor. Yet where his money comes from nobody knows. How he spends his days is equally unclear. Every morning, he visits his favourite coffeehouse and walks in the city streets. After that, he is rarely seen. A few know that he finds time enough to enjoy the favours of the two Catt sisters, one a beautiful and popular actress in Norwich, the other the madam of the city’s most expensive and fashionable bordello. No one knows what he does for the rest of the time. So why, when a leading cloth merchant in the city is found murdered and disaster threatens Norwich’s most important trade, do the mayor and aldermen turn at once to Mr. Foxe to solve the crime and rescue them from financial ruin?