I'm delighted to be a stop on the blog tour for Betty Church and the Suffolk Vampire. I've been a huge fan of M R C Kasasian's books beginning with The Mangle Street Murders which introduced Sidney Grice and March Middleton in the first in the Gower Street Detective series. This new series begins in 1939, some forty years or so after the Gower Street series, but there is a link as you'll see from the extract below....
All my life I wanted to be a policeman. It wasn’t a family tradition. My father was a dentist, as his father was too; my maternal grandfather a publisher of what was then modern poetry; and the women of the family were just that – the women.
It wasn’t the uniform either. The Horse Guards looked far more dashing, I thought, and like every quite nice girl, I loved a sailor. But a young policeman gave me a piggyback over a flooded street when I was tiny. He got soaked up to his knees and didn’t seem to mind. At that moment I knew that I wanted to be like him, helping people.
It did not occur to me until a teacher ridiculed these hopes that nature had thwarted my ambition. Neither of the Suffolk forces would even consider applications from my sex – the very idea was absurd – but I was not so easily discouraged. I moved to London and became what was, even there, still an oddity – some said an abomination – a policewoman.
I started well enough in the Metropolitan Constabulary, considering I was a curvaceous peg in a square hole. Police officers were supposed to be tall, and I was, but they were not supposed to have long blonde hair, and I did. I passed the training course with distinction and was stationed in Marylebone. This was the posting I had dreamed of, having spent many a childhood hour on my godmother March Middleton’s knee in 125 Gower Street thrilled by tales of Aunty M’s adventures with her guardian, the irascible personal detective Sidney Grice. It was nearly sixty years since she had gone to live with him and almost as many since she had started publishing her accounts of their investigations.
It was after I caught Hay, the Alkaline Shower Murderer, that my name was put forward for a vacancy and, to my surprise and my colleagues’ outrage, at the age of twenty-eight I was made a sergeant – only the ninth woman in the country to reach that rank. And that should have been that but then I foolishly arrested the ringleaders of the Paper Chain Gang – a big mistake because it was hailed in the press as a triumph after it had been Chief Inspector Heartsease’s case for the previous five years.
I never wanted to make enemies – I only wanted to be a good copper – but being a successful woman is the best way to make enemies that I know of.
I was thirty-eight when I had my mishap, which meant, of course, that I would have to be invalided out. It was only after leaving hospital that I realised I had a choice: I could feel sorry for myself and do nothing, or feel sorry for myself and go to the one person in the world who might be able to help.
Many thanks to Head of Zeus for this extract.
Betty Church and the Suffolk Vampire on Amazon.co.uk
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