Triggering An Idea for a Mystery!

Duel from English Spy by B Blackmantle ill R Cruikshank1825Andrea here, musing today about the little ah-ha moments that trigger the ideas for my books. "Trigger" is the key word here, for my upcoming release, MURDER AT THE SERPENTINE BRIDGE, (which hits the shelves on Murder at the Serpentine Bridge-smallSeptember 27th) revolves around the missing prototype and technical drawings for a revolutionary new pistol that would give the country who possesses it an overwhelming military advantage. Now, I'm often asked where I get the inspirations for my mysteries. The answer is—from real-life history!

I'm a total history nerd and love exploring esoteric museums, exhibits, libraries, etc for those sudden inspirations which ignite a plot concept. The seed of of my new book was planted several years ago when I saw an exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum on the leading gunmakers of Regency London. Joseph Manton, Robert Wogdon—and Durs Egg (you have to love that name!) were the leaders and made a number of striking innovations in designing their firearms.

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Bang on the Mark—The Art of London Firearms

John Manton pistolsAndrea here, going down another research rabbit hole today . . . Cover your ears, for there could be a number of loud bangs! I recently took you through a few thrusts and parries with London’s most famous Regency swordsmen. Well, today we’re looking at London’s best gunmakers of the era.

I swear, it’s not that I’m bloodthirsty—I just find that in the hands of a master craftsman, pistols and swords are lethally beautiful works of art. For me, they are a perfect example of artisans becoming artists, and I love how the famous Prinny-pistoldesign adage “form follows function” comes to life in the hands of men like Manton, Wogdon and Egg. (At left are pistols by John Manton.)

I recently saw a small but scintillating exhibit at Met in NYC entitled The Art of London Firearms, which showcases some of the treasures from its permanent collection, which are rarely displayed. So, let me prime my pen and take a quick shot at giving you some of the highlights of the golden age of flintlock pistols . . .

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