“Page-turning suspense and a fascinating mystery…unforgettable and masterful.” –Deborah Crombie, New York Times bestselling author
A stolen treasure may hold the secret to a ghastly crime. . .Ensconced in the comfort of their elegant home in London’s Berkeley Square, Malcolm and Suzanne Rannoch are no longer subject to the perilous life of intrigue they led during the Napoleonic Wars. Once an Intelligence Agent, Malcolm is now a Member of Parliament, and Suzanne is one of the city’s most sought-after hostesses. But a late-night visit from a friend who’s been robbed may lure them back into the dangerous world they thought they’d left behind . . Playwright Simon Tanner had in his possession what may be a lost version of Hamlet, and the thieves were prepared to kill for it. But the Rannochs suspect there’s more at stake than a literary gem–for the play may conceal the identity of a Bonapartist spy–along with secrets that could force Malcolm and Suzanne to abandon their newfound peace and confront their own dark past…
Stephanie: Are your characters, Malcolm and Suzanne Rannoch fictional people? In your story, how did they meet?
Teresa: Malcolm and Suzanne are fictional, though many of the characters in the book are real people. In this book, Malcolm and Suzanne have been married for five years. They met during the Peninsular War, when Malcolm, on an intelligence mission in the Cantabrian Mountains, rescued Suzanne who was stranded after her family had been killed in an attack by French soldiers. At least that’s how it seems. The truth is rather more complicated, and one of Suzanne’s greatest fears is that that truth will come to light…
Stephanie: What do you find most intriguing about the time period the story takes place?
Teresa: I’ve always loved the Regency/Napoleonic era. Reading Jane Austen and then Georgette Heyer began my love of this era. The more I learn about it, the more intriguing I find it. It’s an era on the cusp of change, between the bawdy 18th century and the more restrained Victorian era, between the French Revolution and the industrial Revolution, between the classical and romantic eras in music and art.
Stephanie: What was your inspiration for this book?
Teresa: I often can’t pinpoint the exact moment I got an idea for a book, but in this case I do know. I was driving with my daughter Mélanie to the birthday party of the daughter of friends who was turning one. At the time, Mélanie’s own first birthday seemed far in the future and she’s now past two, which tells you something about the amount of time between the genesis of a book and ti’s publication. As I drove along winding country roads, I was thinking about Shakespeare, and I suddenly got the idea of how I could incorporate a Shakespeare play into a spy story set in 1817. Using Hamlet seemed singularly appropriate and themes of fathers and sons, lovers who may be working for the enemy, and the younger generation unraveling the secrets of their parents tied into story I wanted to tell about Malcolm & Suzanne.
Teresa (Tracy) Grant studied British history at Stanford University and received the Firestone Award for Excellence in Research for her honors thesis on shifting conceptions of honor in late fifteenth century England. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her young daughter and three cats. In addition to writing, Tracy works for the Merola Opera Program, a professional training program for opera singers, pianists, and stage directors. Her real life heroine is her daughter Mélanie, who is very cooperative about Mummy’s writing. Tracy is currently at work on her next book chronicling the adventures of Malcolm and Suzanne Rannoch.
Stephanie: Be on the lookout for my full interview with Teresa (Tracy) Grant on May 19th here on Layered Pages.