Message From The Author

Author's Message

Elementary, My Dear Amelia

A HISTORICAL AUTHOR FINDS SCANDAL IN UNLIKELY PLACES

Hear the name Sherlock Holmes
and vivid images immediately spring to mind: the brilliant detective with his deerstalker cap and pipe; fog-swept London streets that conceal devious crimes; a bit of hair or muddy footprint that holds the key to
a case. It's only natural that such a potent, imaginative creation should play a role
in A Study in Scandal, Robyn DeHart's sophomore historical romance from Avon, which features Holmes quotes before each chapter and a heroine besotted
with the detective.

While reading the good detective's stories was an enjoyable form of research, DeHart found a surprising aspect of the character most intriguing. "What primarily fascinated me about Sherlock Holmes was that his era was the beginning of modern forensics," she says. "It's when they first began doing fingerprinting and blood-splatter analysis."

If it seems odd that a romance novelist would have such bloodthirsty tastes, there's a reasonable explanation. "My educational background is in sociology and deviant behavior," DeHart explains. "I don't really get to use those things when writing my light, fun books." Study in Scandal, which introduces heroine Amelia Watersfield and her three best friends, the self-appointed Ladies' Amateur Sleuth Society, "was a chance to kind of get to use that information, but in my own way."

In the book, Amelia, a devotee of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Holmes mysteries, stumbles on a case (and fuel for her own detective fiction) when a priceless artifact of her father's is stolen. Soon she's linked up with a private investigator
who reminds her a little too much of her favorite fictional detective and who takes an avid interest in the most modern of crime-solving techniques.

The mystery theme will extend through all four books in the series (including Deliciously Wicked, due in October),
as will an overarching case, about a mysterious gentleman jewel thief. But despite paying homage to the master of mysteries in Study, DeHart insists the focus of all her novels will remain squarely on the characters' relationships: "I focus so much on
the romance that the mystery is at the back of my mind. I call them 'Scooby-Doo' mysteries." -- Colleen Cusick


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