A word on A Study in Darkness
When you’re talking Victorian steampunk, London, and Sherlock Holmes, Jack the Ripper is never far from the imagination. Fog, twisting alleyways, and one of the most compelling cases in crime history are inevitably bound together.
The second book of The Baskerville Affair trilogy—A Study in Darkness—sees the heroine, Evelina Cooper, go under cover in the worst parts of London only to encounter the famous murderer. She’s alone, trapped, and fighting to save those she loves with nothing but her wits and the scraps of magic at her command. Of course, her uncle Holmes is on the case, too, but neither of them begin to suspect the real identity of the villain—or that the Whitechapel murderer is hardly the most dangerous creature haunting London’s poorest streets—until their future hangs on the edge of the killer’s blade.
When I was writing Darkness, I went to London to see the Ripper’s hunting grounds near the Tower of London. Many of the sites are gone, but not all of them. The tavern where the ill-fated women drank is still there, as is Mitre Square—the scene of Catherine Eddowes’s death—and many of the old brick structures that stood back in 1888. At night, with the cool, damp autumn air nipping at fingers and nose, it’s not hard to imagine the past is a whisper away. And it was just not the story of the Ripper lurking in those shadows, but the thousands of other men and women—the match girls, anarchists, sailors, dock workers, and suffragettes that walked those alleyways. It was a dramatic age, filled with more stories than any author could ever hope to write.
But steampunk is more than history—it’s fantasy, too. As A Study in Darkness takes the action to the streets, it also sails into the clouds with the Red Jack and a crew of airship pirates. I’ll just say that the Indomitable Niccolo has found a whole new level of roguery, and you’d better hang on to your spyglass. He has another chance to win Evelina’s heart, and this time he has a ship and crew to his name. It’s a good day to be a pirate . . . until he lands in the midst of a rebel plot. There are nefarious villains, wicked devices, a sorcerer wielding death magic, and an automaton ballet. At last the players in the Baskerville Affair begin to step into the gaslight, and not all of them are human.
A Study in Darkness is packed with tricks and even more treats for the reader. I thought it was very appropriate that the release date for this book – October 29, was just two days before Halloween! Could it be any more fitting?
(originally posted on Coffeetime Romance)