Caroline Dunford Guest Post

death for a cause

A Death For A Cause is the 8th book in the Euphemia Martins series. The series fall into the cosy mystery genre. They have been described as a cross between Agatha Christie and Downton Abbey, which sounds just perfect to me and I can’t wait to read the latest instalment.

A Death For A Cause takes on the subject of suffragettes, a topical subject given the recent release of the film.

I am delighted that Caroline has agreed to write a guest post for my blog and it is a wonderful post describing how Euphemia came about and how her wonderful great grandmother inspired her.

caroline dunford

A Strong Woman

Since I was five years old I had been vociferously determined to become a writer. Many years later, after publishing a fair number of short stories, working as a journalist and as a psychotherapist, I was still to write my first full length novel. My short stories had ranged widely across many genres, but one day I had a serious thought about what I liked to read and that maybe I should try writing just that. What came into my head was not only that I loved cozy crime, but within moments a leading heroine based on a family legend.
I have recently finished the eighth book, A Death for a Cause, in the Euphemia Martins’ Mysteries, a cozy crime series, set in the early 1900s. Euphemia has an aristocratic background, but her family has fallen on hard times and she chooses to go into service to help support her widowed mother and younger brother. In doing this she is defying both her heritage and the fundamental idea that a young woman of her class is only fit for marriage. My great grandmother, who inspired Euphemia, while not titled, was born into extreme wealth. When her father remarried she immediately loathed her stepmother. Tired of their disputes her father gave her the shocking choice of either befriending her step-mother or leaving the house. She left, an unthinkable action by the times standards, and entered service. Here her story diverges from Euphemia as instead of going on to discover a series of murders and rise through the servants ranks, my great grandmother, more realistically, became ill under the harsh regime of being a maid. She was rescued by marriage, but not to a man of her class, but a shopkeeper, with whom I like to think she lived very happily as they had thirteen children!
All of the series has been grounded in how women were treated in the early 1900s. However, although Euphemia has struggled, it is only in A Death for a Cause, that the series reaches a peak, and she comes face to face with the reality of true poverty and even the women who have had no other choice than to become prostitutes to survive.
As a modern, educated woman, I have it much easier than Euphemia, but as anyone who has seen the recent movie Suffragette, and sat through to the end to see the list of when women actually got the some of the rights the sisterhood demanded, knows, change is recent, not long standing.
I have it easier than a lot of women in the world. There are still places where a woman’s role is seen as in the home, where she has few rights and where she is seen as a lesser being simply by virtue of her gender. Even in the UK women in the same positions as men are generally paid less and who can ignore Hollywood’s tendency to off load female stars once they reach their thirties in favour of a young, thigh-gaped teen. The media still has an irritating habit of commenting on a woman’s appearance instead of her achievements. A lot may have changed since Euphemia’s day, but beneath the surface a lot has remained, shockingly, the same.
But please don’t think Euphemia is a tongue-lashing man hater. Nothing could be further from the truth. She falls in and out of love almost as easily as she falls over dead bodies. It is only in A Death for a Cause that events snap her out of her armchair support for the Suffragettes and make her consider seriously the plight of unprotected women at the time. But despite this she is as witty as she is serious, and while her worldview is expanding, I hope she remains as entertaining as ever.
Just like my grandmother she is a strong woman in a difficult time. And we will always need strong women.

You can purchase copies of The Euphemia Martins series here

You can also join caroline at her book launch on Friday 20th November, details are on the poster above.

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