17 April 2020

Guest Post: Mary Lawrence, Author of The Lost Boys of London (Bianca Goddard Mysteries Book 5)

Available from

Set during the final years of King Henry VIII’s reign, the Bianca Goddard Mysteries explore the world of commoners and how they managed 
to survive under their brutal monarch--

She isn’t a maid of the Queen’s court, or the wife of a merchant, or magistrate. Bianca Goddard is the daughter of an alchemist and white witch during the final years of King Henry VIII’s reign. The Bianca Goddard Mysteries offer an alternative perspective of Tudor England. Instead of focusing on the courtiers and wealthy merchants, the series concentrates on imagining the world of commoners in 1543-1545.

Henry was, arguably, at his most petulant in 1543. He wed his sixth and final wife, Catherine Parr and would die in another four years. In 1544, he laid siege to Boulogne, angered by France’s ‘Auld Alliance’ with Scotland and embarked on a long campaign to subjugate the Scots. The year before, Scotland had broken their Treaty of Greenwich which would have united the two countries under one crown.

However, Henry’s war efforts came at a high price. He heavily taxed his citizens and built fortifications along England’s southern coast. Able-bodied men between 16 and 60 were conscripted into his Army and Navy. He hired large numbers of mercenaries. Even with victory in Boulogne, the cost to maintain the outpost was nearly twice his annual revenue. Currency minted between 1544-1546 contained half and then a third of its weight in fine silver resulting in rampant inflation.

So, where does Bianca Goddard fit in? Bianca is a young woman, estranged from her father and resistant to marrying or serving in a wealthy household. Having spent her childhood observing him in his alchemy room, she has learned some basic chemistry. She understands the methods and possibilities of distillation, isolation, and purification processes. While she sees the folly of her father’s pursuit for gold, she does realize this knowledge could prove useful in her desire to create effective medicines. She is, in a sense, the amalgam of her parents’ passions.

However, a woman practicing alchemical processes could have been accused of sorcery and conjuration--a treasonous offense under Henry VIII. This possibility forces Bianca to maintain a low profile. She locates her room of “Medicinals and Physickes” in Southwark near a chicken coop to mask the stench from her experiments. She also relies on a street seller named Meddybemps to vend her medicines and they split the profit.

Of course, a mystery series comes with its share of murder and mayhem. Often the inciting murder foretells a more sinister threat to the citizens of London than simply a killer’s motivation to “off” someone. The series has explored the menace of plague, unknown disease, contaminated food supplies, war, and the king’s wavering religious beliefs. It is my hope that readers will enjoy visiting the seedier side of Tudor England with Bianca Goddard as their guide.

Mary Lawrence
# # #
About the Author
Mary Lawrence lives in Maine and writes the Bianca Goddard Mysteries set in Tudor London featuring a cast of commoners. Bianca uses her wits and a smattering of alchemy to solve murders in the slums of Southwark. Suspense Magazine named The Alchemist’s Daughter and The Alchemist of Lost Souls "Best Books of 2015 and 2019” in the historical mystery category. Her articles have appeared in several publications most notably the national news blog, The Daily Beast. Other Bianca Goddard Mysteries include Death of an Alchemist, Death at St. Vedast, and The Lost Boys of London. Find out more at www.marylawrencebooks.com and find her on Facebook and Twitter @mel59lawrence

No comments:

Post a Comment

Thank you for commenting