Acquiring a decent cover for “Murder at the End of the World” is coming along, but it’s going to take a bit longer than I’d hoped. It’s still on track to be released next week, so don’t worry about that, but, until then, I’ll keep updating with little bits of information to give you some idea of what the book is about and to help you better understand whether it’s something your interested in reading.
What is the book about?
Simply put, the book is about Allison Newberry, a junior detective. She’d been given a particularly difficult assignment: to travel to an isolated city and solve a crime than even it’s own police department has been stumped by. The city itself is practically hostile towards outsiders, which it sees as intruders into it’s private, insular world. The crime itself is obviously a major part of the story, but I also wanted to develop the character of Allison Newberry and show that although she isn’t a skilled detective with years of experience, so makes it for it with a tenacious spirit and a drive to bring criminals to justice no matter what is required of her.
What are the books influences?
The book’s biggest influence would be the works of Agatha Chrisie, writer of the Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple mystery series. I like the idea of a lone detective who takes on cases and follows them to whatever end they lead to, often finding clues and evidence and making connections that others around them miss. Allison, however, goes a bit beyond those two, in that she’s willing to skirt the edges of the law and go into some truly awful places looking for that one, singular clue that will unravel the entire mystery. She’s not afraid to get a bit of dirt on her hands.
Another influence is the works of HP Lovecraft, noted for his melding of quaint, New England towns with terrifying alien horrors. His stories often focus on normal people who somehow get caught up the machinations of powerful beings from space, usually with disastrous results. I really like that idea of having to deal with something that’s so terrible that just looking at it can make you go insane, and I also like the idea that these things might even be hiding in the most unlikely places. I’ve drawn on some of that for my novel, particularly the isolated port-city where there are strange things brewing beneath the surface. Shadow Over Innsmouth was particularly influential.
What is the book’s setting?
The primary setting for the book is the city of Illdara, an isolate port city that exist far to the north, away from any other cities and towns. Although it’s not explicitly stated, the story doesn’t take place anywhere in the real world, though it has the feel of England in late 19th century. Coach and carriages are still the transportation of choice, with sea travel coming in the form of sailing ships and even a few steam-powered ships. Gas lights are a common sight in the city’s streets during the night hours. Though there’s a touch of fantasy to it all, Allison’s preferred weapon is her father’s flintlock pistol, which she is never without.
The people of this world are also, for the most part, polytheistic, which gives the story a bit of a loose connection to another novel I’m writing. I wouldn’t say that they’re even meant to be part of the same universe, much less the same series, but they deal with a lot of the same underlying themes.