One of the great joys of being an author of historical fiction is that I can spend a whole day on research – running off down all sorts of rabbit-holes – and still claim to be “writing”. Today I have had two quests, both of which remain unfulfilled, but then that’s part of the fun: if it was easy to find this stuff, everyone would do it.
Quest 1: where was the station house (i.e. home base) for Division E of the Metropolitan Police when they were first created in 1829? Division E operates in Holborn, and candidates for their station house location are Bow Street (although this was initially the home of Division F), Hunter Street (but apparently not until later in the century), Hatton Garden (but this was actually a magistrates’ court – did they bunk up together?) and George Street (although I can find only one mention of any police presence there). I have been on police history forums and emailed all sorts of people – and this is just so that Sam can make a passing comment to Martha. He may have to think of something else to say.
Quest 2: a cover illustration for “The Notes of Change” (the novel formerly known as “Plank 7”). I have found the perfect image – but the man who drew it has died, and the man who published the book in which it appeared as died, and I’m struggling to find anyone who has the authority to grant permission to use the picture. But I’ll have to persist, as can you imagine the outrage – the scandal, darlings – should I be charged with a copyright offence concerning the cover of a novel about law and order?