Jessica Fellowes ‘The Mitford Murders’: The Easy Reads Book Club
A Golden Age-style murder mystery set amid the Mitford household, based on a real unsolved crime and written by Jessica Fellowes, author of the Downton Abbey books.
Opening with a real-life crime, Jessica Fellowes writes about the brutal assault of a nurse, Florence Nightingale Shore, left for dead on a train on 12th January 1920 – it follows a fictional protagonist, Louisa Cannon, as she goes to work for the Mitford sisters, as their nurserymaid and chaperone to Nancy. Soon, Louisa and Nancy find themselves entangles in the crimes of a murderer who will do anything to hide their secret…
The Mitfords were an extraordinary family with six sisters who came to encapsulate everything that was captivating about life between the wars: the glamour, the changing roles of women and the politics. The first novel opens a series, in which each book will feature a different sister.
5 Quick Fire Questions with Jessica Fellowes
1. Why the Mitford sisters?
The six Mitford sisters encapsulate everything that was extraordinary, exciting, glamorous and political about the period between the wars – long an era of fascination for me. In focusing on a different sister for each book, I can explore the changing landscape between 1920 and 1939.
2. How did you learn about the unsolved crime this book is based on?
My editor, Ed Wood, spotted a news story about it when we were in the early stages of plotting. He sent it over to me and when I discovered that the murdered woman was on her way to visit friends in the same town that the Mitfords’ real-life nanny’s twin lived in, we had to use it!
3. How did you create the series heroine, Louisa Cannon?
I knew that I wanted my heroine to be someone who moved between both upstairs and downstairs, so while the girls are young it makes sense for her to work in the nursery. I have lots of images of the 1920s that I use for ideas, as well as the research that I did for the Downton Abbey books. But ultimately it came down to the fact that I wanted someone I could spend a lot of time with as she will feature in every book of the series – so she is smart, quick and ambitious.
4. Do you have a favourite fact you found out during your research for The Mitford Murders?
Forensic science for crime-solving began in the early 20th century and remained pretty much unchanged until the discovery of DNA. Dr Spilsbury, who did the post-mortem of the murdered woman at the centre of the book, was considered the ‘father of forensic science’ – he identified decaying human remains in a cellar as those of Dr Crippen’s wife.
5. Describe your book in five words.
Vintage, glamour, war, crime, sisterhood.
We have 10 x copies of The Mitford Murders by Jessica Fellowes to giveaway! It’s easy to win, just sign up to our Life & Style Your Way weekly newsletter to go in the draw. Every week we round up what’s been happening on the blog – from homeware edits, seasonal dressing and fashion trends you need to know about. It’s a great way to stay informed with what we’ve been up to!
Once you’ve finished reading The Mitford Murders, join our conversation! We’ve listed 6 questions below that you can answer. Anyone is able to participate by commenting on this blog post, or by using the hashtag #easyezireads on social media.
Book Club Questions: – Did you find the story easy to get into? Did you like how the story followed two narrators? Why or why not?
– Did you like the perspective the main characters, Louisa and Guy, gave to the story or do you wish there was more from another characters point of view?
– Mitford Murders in based on the real Murder of Florence Nightingale Shore, a mystery that remains unsolved. What do you think of Fellows resolution? Would you have preferred that the mystery remain unsolved?
– How well do you think Fellows captured society in the 1920’s – was her interpretation believable?
– The Mitord family was a real family in the early 1900’s – do you think it was necessary to the story that this was a real family. Do you think that a fictional family would have worked just as well.
– Was there anything mentioned in the book that you know wish no know more about. War time nurses? Treatment of veterans after the war? Society and Class in the 1900’s and how it changed after the war?
Let us know what you thought of The Mitford Murders by Jessica Fellowes in the comments below or comment on social media with the hashtag #easyezireads
Are you looking for more books to read? Check out our previous Easy Reads Book Club books here.
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See the Jessica Fellowes website here for more information about her and her other novels.
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