Cover Crush: A Scream in Soho by John G. Brandon

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Erin over at Flashlight Commentary is the one that came up with the cover crush idea and a few of us book bloggers loved it so much that we decided that every Thursday we would post a cover that we really love. Now I must say I haven’t been consistent in my posting cover crush and on the appointed day. Will get there eventually. Posts for my website has been scheduled pretty far out in advance.

Today I am sharing with you a book cover that really stands out to me and I feel gives the right attention to what the book is about. I love how It’s in black and white too! 

A Scream in SohoDescription

A Scream in Soho by John G. Brandon

German bombers are overhead and there is danger the streets of London.

A tall foreigner with strange ‘blind’ looking eyes triggers one of Detective Inspector McCarthy’s infamous ‘hunches’.

Later that night, during the pitch blackness of the wartime blackout, a piercing scream rends the air and Detective Inspector McCarthy is first on the scene to find a bloodied murder weapon, a woman’s lace handkerchief, but no victim to be seen.

As McCarthy attempts to unravel the mystery, the bodies start to pile up, and the whodunit becomes a more complex and colourful story of secret government plans, cross dressing German spies, and murderous dwarves.

McCarthy must move through the dark, seedy Soho underworld – peopled by Italian Gangsters and glamorous Austrian aristocrats alike – not only to find his murderer, but to save Britain’s defences against the Nazi threat.

Set in London during the early days of the Second World War, A Scream in Soho is an evocative and suspenseful London novel from the golden age of British detective fiction.

Check out this week’s cover crush over at 
Flashlight Commentary
2 Kids and Tired Books
A Bookaholic Swede
The Maidens Court

Review: A Death Along the River Fleet (Lucy Campion Mysteries #4) by Susanna Calkins

A Death Along the River FleetLucy Campion, a ladies’ maid turned printer’s apprentice in 17th-century London, is crossing Holborn Bridge over the vilest portion of the River Fleet one morning when she encounters a distraught young woman, barely able to speak and clad only in a blood-spattered nightdress. The woman has no memory of who she is or what’s happened to her, and the townspeople believe she’s posessed. But Lucy is concerned for the woman’s well-being and takes her to a physician. When, shockingly, the woman is identified as the daughter of a nobleman, Lucy is asked to temporarily give up her bookselling duties to discreetly serve as the woman’s companion while she remains under the physician’s care. As the woman slowly recovers, she begins-with Lucy’s help-to reconstruct the terrible events that led her to Holborn Bridge that morning. But when it becomes clear the woman’s safety might still be at risk, Lucy becomes unwillingly privy to a plot with far-reaching social implications, and she’ll have to decide how far she’s willing to go to protect the young woman in her care.

My thoughts:

A Death Along the River Fleet is the first book I have read by Susanna Calkins and probably the first historical fiction book I have read that takes place soon after the great London fire. The title of the book, the cover and the premise really drew me in. I was completely absorbed in the story from the very beginning.

I’d have to say that Lucy Campion is now one of my favorite female heroines. She is strong, intelligent, wise even. I love her process of thought and her desire to help people. The fact that she works as a printer’s apprentice helps a great deal too! Also, how the people around her respond to her is fascinating. Really strong character development here.

There are solid historical aspects to this story and I was thrilled with the intrigue! How the story unfolded and how the clues were stacking up was brilliant! This is about the best mystery story I have read in a long time. I really can’t say enough great things about this book. I highly recommend it. Now I will be sure to go back and read the other three books that came before this one!

Rated: Five Stars!

I obtained a copy of this book through NetGalley for an honest review.

Stephanie M. Hopkins

Wish-List Five: Sherlock Holmes

As an avid read and my love for searching for a good read, I have a list several miles long of books I want to get my hands on. A few of my fellow bloggers and I decided to share with our audience those books every month. This month for the five I have chosen on my wish-list are themed. I have always been a big Sherlock fan and I came across some books this week that I can’t believe I have not read! I love that writers have continued to publish stories about Sherlock. His relationships and the people he involves himself with to solve crimes is extraordinary! Let’s get started!

Dust and shadow

From the gritty streets of 19th century London, the loyal and courageous Dr. Watson offers a tale unearthed after generations of lore: the harrowing story of Sherlock Holmes’s attempt to hunt down Jack the Ripper.

As England’s greatest specialist in criminal detection, Sherlock Holmes is unwavering in his quest to capture the killer responsible for terrifying London’s East End. He hires an “unfortunate” known as Mary Ann Monk, the friend of a fellow streetwalker who was one of the Ripper’s earliest victims; and he relies heavily on the steadfast and devoted Dr. John H. Watson. When Holmes himself is wounded in Whitechapel during an attempt to catch the savage monster, the popular press launches an investigation of its own, questioning the great detective’s role in the very crimes he is so fervently struggling to prevent. Stripped of his credibility, Holmes is left with no choice but to break every rule in the desperate race to find the madman known as “the Knife” before it is too late.

A study in silks

 

In a Victorian era ruled by a council of ruthless steam barons, mechanical power is the real monarch and sorcery the demon enemy of the Empire. Nevertheless, the most coveted weapon is magic that can run machines — something Evelina has secretly mastered. But rather than making her fortune, her special talents could mean death or an eternity as a guest of Her Majesty’s secret laboratories. What’s a polite young lady to do but mind her manners and pray she’s never found out?

But then there’s that murder. As Sherlock Holmes’s niece, Evelina should be able to find the answers, but she has a lot to learn. And the first decision she has to make is whether to trust the handsome, clever rake who makes her breath come faster, or the dashing trick rider who would dare anything for her if she would only just ask.

 

The Sherlockian by Graham Moore

In December 1893, Sherlock Holmes-adoring Londoners eagerly opened their Strand magazines, anticipating the detective’s next adventure, only to find the unthinkable: his creator, Arthur Conan Doyle, had killed their hero off. London spiraled into mourning — crowds sported black armbands in grief — and railed against Conan Doyle as his assassin.

Then in 1901, just as abruptly as Conan Doyle had “murdered” Holmes in “The Final Problem,” he resurrected him. Though the writer kept detailed diaries of his days and work, Conan Doyle never explained this sudden change of heart. After his death, one of his journals from the interim period was discovered to be missing, and in the decades since, has never been found. Or has it?

When literary researcher Harold White is inducted into the preeminent Sherlock Holmes enthusiast society, The Baker Street Irregulars, he never imagines he’s about to be thrust onto the hunt for the holy grail of Holmes-ophiles: the missing diary. But when the world’s leading Doylean scholar is found murdered in his hotel room, it is Harold — using wisdom and methods gleaned from countless detective stories — who takes up the search, both for the diary and for the killer.

Secret Letters by Leah Scheier

Inquisitive and observant, Dora dreams of escaping her aristocratic country life to solve mysteries alongside Sherlock Holmes. So when she learns that the legendary detective might be her biological father, Dora jumps on the opportunity to travel to London and enlist his help in solving the mystery of her cousin’s ransomed love letters. But Dora arrives in London to devastating news: Sherlock Holmes is dead. Her dreams dashed, Dora is left to rely on her wits — and the assistance of an attractive yet enigmatic young detective — to save her cousin’s reputation and help rescue a kidnapped heiress along the way.

Steeped in Victorian atmosphere and intrigue, this gripping novel heralds the arrival of a fresh new voice in young adult literature.

The Case of the Missing Marquess by Nancy Springer

When Enola Holmes, sister to the detective Sherlock Holmes, discovers her mother has disappeared, she quickly embarks on a journey to London in search of her. But nothing can prepare her for what awaits. Because when she arrives, she finds herself involved in the kidnapping of a young marquess, fleeing murderous villains, and trying to elude her shrewd older brothers — all while attempting to piece together clues to her mother’s strange disappearance. Amid all the mayhem, will Enola be able to decode the necessary clues and find her mother?

There are so many more I discovered so I might have to do another wish list five in the near future of Sherlock reads! -Stephanie M. Hopkins

 

Check out The Maiden’s Court Wish-List 5: Spies in World War II

A Bookaholic Swede’s April Wish List: Sherlock Holmes

Flashlight Commentary’s Wishlist Reads: April 2016

A Literary Vacation’s Wish List-The Below Stairs Life

2 Kids and Tired Books’ Wish-list…Celebrities

The Berkeley Square Affair by Author Teresa Grant

the berkeley square affair

“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…

Website

5.15.13TracyMelPortrait

Author Teresa (Tracy) Grant with daughter

 

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.

Author Bio:

TracyAuthorPhoto5.16.13

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.

Interview with Author Jeannie Ruesch

 

 Jeannie Ruesch

Stephanie: I would like to welcome, Jeannie Ruesch to Layered Pages.

Jeannie wrote her first story at the age of the six, prompting her to give up an illustrious, hours-long ambition of becoming a Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader and declare that writing was her destiny. That journey to destiny took a few detours along the way, including a career in marketing and design.

Her first novel, a fairy-tale like historical romance, was published in 2009, but the darker side of life had always captivated her. So after a dinner conversation with friends about the best way to hide a dead body, she knew she had to find a way to incorporate suspense into her writing. (The legal outlet for her fascination.) Today, she continues writing what she loves to read – stories of history, romance and suspense. She lives in Northern California with her husband, their son and an 80 pound lapdog lab named Cooper.

Stephanie: Hello, Jeannie! Thank you for chatting with me today! Please tell me about your book, Cloak in Danger.

Jeannie: Thanks so much for having me today!  Here is the blurb for Cloaked:  Aria Whitney has little in common with the delicate ladies of London society. Her famous father made his fortune hunting archaeological treasures, and her rustic upbringing has left her ill-prepared for a life of parties and frippery. But when Gideon Whitney goes missing in Egypt, Aria must embrace the unknown—armed with only the short list of highborn men who’d backed her father’s venture, she poses as a woman looking for a husband. She doesn’t intend to find one.

Adam Willoughby, Earl of Merewood, finds London’s strangest new debutante fascinating, but when he catches her investigating his family’s secrets, he threatens to ruin her reputation. He doesn’t intend to enjoy it so much.

When their lustful indiscretion is discovered, Adam finds that he regrets nothing. But now, as her father’s enemy draws near, Adam must convince his betrothed that she can trust him with her own secrets…before it’s too late.

Stephanie: What genre does it fall under and what was your inspiration for your story?

Jeannie: Cloaked in Danger is a smooshing together of historical romance and romantic suspense, with a very unconventional heroine who doesn’t care much about the rules of London society.   I love the combination of history and suspense, and I’m always fascinated by the people that live on the edges of their world.  In Cloaked in Danger, there’s a melding of Aria’s world-view and the restrictions of London society, as well as a blurring of the line between the high society and the darker crime world in London.  I enjoy contrasts, I think — and that’s what inspires me to write.

Cloaked in Danger

Stephanie: How long did it take you to write your story and did you work with an outline or just write?

Jeannie: I am a plotter/outliner all the way.   My first step in writing a story is to build the outline all the way to the end.  So when I sit down to fill in the chapters, I know where I’m going, what’s next and my approximate page count.

Stephanie: Where there any challenging scenes or characters to write about?

Jeannie: Yes, absolutely.  This was a challenging book in the way that Aria, my heroine, goes through a tremendous amount through the book and I really wanted to honor the truth of that psychological place she was in.

Stephanie: How did you come up with your title?

Jeannie: The title was a blended effort with my editor and the amazing folks at Carina Press.  We threw out ideas and a bunch of different suggestions, and they came back with Cloaked in Danger. I loved it from the minute I saw it – it was perfect.

Stephanie: Have you learned anything new from writing your story?

Jeannie: I believe I learn something from every book I write, and the characters I build.  I think for all writers, we put little pieces of ourselves into our stories, sometimes without even realizing it.   And by the end of a book, I can look back at the characters and recognize what I’ve hidden inside – the parts of me, a memory, a trait of someone I love.  Also, I am always fascinated by why people do what they do — how our histories create our strengths, our weaknesses and I like to write characters who are flawed.   My heroine, Aria is very impulsive —and that’s not really meant as a strength. It’s a flaw in her character, one that’s built from the on-the-go world she lived in, one she inherited in some ways from her father and how he has reacted to things in his life.  I think every character I write teaches me something new.

Stephanie: What are some of the best compliments you have received about your book so far?

Jeannie: One reviewer said that Cloaked in Danger defied her expectations and caught her off-guard.  I was very happy to hear that, because I knew that mixing historical romance with romantic suspense would be tough for people to place.  In strictly historical romances, most other plots are subplots.  As I was writing the book, I believed the suspense plot needed as much presence and focus as the romantic connection, like you would find in modern romantic suspense.  Aria’s father is missing and her focus had to be on finding him and what she goes through in the process.  I didn’t want them to give up their goals just because they were having feelings for each other.  Another thing I like to hear is that my characters are unconventional because as I start to write,

Stephanie: What is up next for you?

Jeannie: I’m working on the next two books (writing my 3rd and plotting my 4th), as they are tied into Cloaked in Danger.  Adam, the hero in Cloaked has four sisters.  And two of those sisters are taking their turn in the spotlight in the next two books.  (My first book is about Adam’s sister, Blythe — titled Something About Her.)

Stephanie: What advice would you give to an aspiring author?

Jeannie: Keep writing, keep learning.  There are so many great tools, workshops, blogs and places to learn about your craft and hone your skills.  It’s well worth it to spend as much time as you can learning the “science” of writing fiction.   But that’s only one aspect of what makes writing magic —the rest is all you, your experiences, your thoughts, and the voice you want to share with the world.  Just believe in the fact that you have something worthwhile to share, because you do!

Stephanie: Where can readers buy your book?

Jeannie: Pretty much wherever digital books are sold, including:

Amazon Barnes & Noble | Kobo Chapters | Google PlayCarina Press

Praise for Cloaked in Danger

“Cloaked in Danger has all the elements readers crave— larger-than-life characters, a vivid and believable setting, heart-pounding romance and just the right amount of mystery. Don’t miss it! It kept me reading deep into the night.” — New York Times Bestselling Author Brenda Novak

“In ‘Cloaked in Danger’ Jeannie Ruesch has crafted a taut, emotional thrill-ride through the streets of Regency London. Archaeological adventure and drawing room intrigue are combined in a story that will keep you reading late into the night. Jeannie Ruesch is an author to watch.” — RITA Award Nominated Author Elizabeth Essex

Monday, January 27
Review at Flashlight Commentary
Facebook Launch Party (3:00 – 7:00pm PST)

Tuesday, January 28
Interview at The Maiden’s Court

Wednesday, January 29
Spotlight & Giveaway at Unabridged Chick
Spotlight & Giveaway at Book Reviews & More by Kathy

Thursday, January 30
Review at History Undressed
Interview at Layered Pages

Friday, January 31
Guest Post & Giveaway at History Undressed

Monday, February 3
Review at Closed the Cover
Review at The Most Happy Reader

Tuesday, February 4
Review at The Lit Bitch
Review at Ageless Pages Reviews

Wednesday, February 5
Spotlight & Giveaway at Mina’s Bookshelf

Thursday, February 6
Review at Kincavel Korner
Review at I Heart Romance

Friday, February 7
Interview & Giveaway at Kincavel Korner

Publication Date: January 27, 2014
Carina Press
eBook
ASIN: B00F93X7ZI

Cloaked in Danger LBP Banner

Jeannie Ruesch’s Facebook Launch Party for Cloaked in Danger

Cloaked in Danger book cover

What: Jeannie Ruesch’s Facebook Launch Party for Cloaked in Danger

When:
Monday, January 27.  3:00 – 7:00pm PST
About Cloaked in Danger
Publication Date: January 27, 2014 Carina Press eBook ASIN: B00F93X7ZI

Aria Whitney has little in common with the delicate ladies of London  society. Her famous father made his fortune hunting archaeological  treasures, and her rustic upbringing has left her ill prepared for a  life of parties and frippery. But when Gideon Whitney goes missing in  Egypt, Aria must embrace the unknown. Armed with only the short list of  highborn men who’d backed her father’s venture, she poses as a woman  looking for a husband. She doesn’t intend to find one.

Adam Willoughby, Earl of Merewood, finds London’s strangest new  debutante fascinating, but when he catches her investigating his  family’s secrets, he threatens to ruin her reputation. He doesn’t intend to enjoy it so much.

When their lustful indiscretion is discovered, Adam finds that he  regrets nothing. But now, as Aria’s father’s enemy draws near, Adam must convince his betrothed that she can trust him with her own  secrets…before it’s too late.

About Jeannie Ruesch

Jeannie Ruesch wrote her first story at the age of the six, prompting her to give up an illustrious, hours-long ambition of becoming a Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader and declare that writing was her destiny. That journey to  destiny took a few detours along the way, including a career in  marketing and design.

Her first novel, a fairy-tale like historical romance, was published  in 2009, but the darker side of life had always captivated her. So after a dinner conversation with friends about the best way to hide a dead body, she  knew she had to find a way to incorporate suspense into her writing.  (The legal outlet for her fascination.) Today, she continues writing what she loves to read – stories of history, romance and suspense. She lives in  Northern California with her husband, their son and an 80 pound lapdog lab named Cooper.

She is also the creator of the WIP Notebook, a writer’s tool to help stay organized while you write, which you can find at her website. You can also follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads and Pinterest.

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Inerview with Author Deborah Swift

Author  Deborah Swift

Stephanie: Deborah Swift used to work in the theatre and at the BBC as a set and costume designer, before studying for an MA in Creative Writing in 2007. She lives in a beautiful area of Lancashire near the Lake District National Park.  She is the author of The Lady’s Slipper and is a member of the Historical Writers Association, the Historical Novel Society, and the Romantic Novelists Association.

 

Hello Deborah! It is a pleasure to chat with you again. Please tell me about your book, A Divided Inheritance. 

 

A Divided Inheritance is about Elspet Leviston, a lace-trader’s daughter who loses her inheritance to a mysterious cousin – the hot-headed swordsman Zachary Deane. Elspet must leave her beloved English home and go to Seville to confront him. On the way she finds courage persistence, and much greater self-reliance. She also finds love in unexpected places.

 deborah's book

Stephanie: How much research was involved and will you please tell me a little about it?

 

Each of my novels takes about eighteen months. For this novel I researched by using archives and museums for the part set in London, and then I travelled to Seville to take photographs and visit locations for the Spanish part of the book. I also corresponded with various experts on swordplay, the almost-forgotten Morisco culture, and the art of lace-making.

 

Stephanie: What was your inspiration for this story?

 

I wanted a strong female protagonist, but found it was hard to give my heroine much of importance to do in the shuttered society of seventeenth century London. In the end I decided I would have to make her grow strong through the events of the book. This proved to be a much more satisfying arc to write.

At the same time as I was mulling over this, I came across a fascinating book about 17th century fencing masters and thought it would be interesting to research women who fought using rapiers and to find out more about whether any women used these training techniques. I have an interest in this through practising swordplay through martial arts. The particular Spanish training method I was researching is an esoteric system designed to produce a kind of ‘Renaissance man’ – or in this case, woman. I was also interested in a period of history in Spain where there was massive cultural change and Phillip II expelled a large population of Spanish citizens – an act that divided families and was to impoverish Spain for generations. So this seemed an ideal backdrop for my family drama.

Stephanie: Tell me a little about Elspet Leviston. What are her strengths and weaknesses?

 

At the beginning of the book she fits into a role cast for her by her old-fashioned scholarly father. When things go wrong she must find persistence and courage to get what she wants. Her journey leads her to discover there are many ways to live, and opens her eyes to new possibilities.

 

Stephanie: If your story was to become a movie. Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character from your book?

 

I was very impressed with the film ‘Alatriste’ which I watched for some of my research into the Spanish fighting arts, and so I’d go for Viggo Mortensen. I also loved him in Lord of the Rings. For the female lead role I would choose Anne Hathaway who when she played Jane Austen had the quality of Englishness appropriate for my female lead Elspet Leviston..

 

Stephanie: Where is your favorite place in your home to write?

 

Generally I write from my home office on an ancient computer, but my favourite time of year is the summer when you can find me with my stack of notebooks and research books in our garden summerhouse.

 

Stephanie: Do you have a favorite coffee or tea by your side while writing?

 

Tetley tea and a chocolate brownie (I hope!)

 

Stephanie: Who are your influences?

 

Anything and everything. I read voraciously – all sorts of things, not just historical. I’m in a book club too, so I read stuff for that. I analyse what works and what doesn’t in terms of storytelling to try to improve my craft. I like listening to radio and reading poetry too, so I guess it all seeps in somehow.

 

Stephanie: What book project are you currently working on?

 

I’m working on a Teen novel about a real 17th century character. I’ve never attempted a teen novel before, but thought it would be nice to tempt some younger readers with a love of English history!

 

Stephanie: Where can readers buy your book?

 

e-book from Amazon US http://www.amazon.com/A-Divided-Inheritance-ebook/dp/B00CYM19CA/

e-book from Amazon UK http://www.amazon.co.uk/A-Divided-Inheritance-Deborah-Swift-ebook/dp/B00CYM19CA/

 

UK Paperback from Amazon UK or bookshops http://www.amazon.co.uk/A-Divided-Inheritance-Deborah-Swift/dp/033054344X/

US Paperback from Book Depository http://www.bookdepository.co.uk/Divided-Inheritance-Deborah-Swift/9780330543446

 

Many thanks to Stephanie!

You can find me on twitter @swiftstory

Or at www.deborahswift.com

 

Link to Tour Schedule: http://hfvirtualbooktours.com/adividedinheritancetour
Twitter Hashtag: #DividedInheritanceTour

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