Thursday, November 21, 2019

A Sickness in the Soul by William Savage

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotion. One randomly chosen winner via rafflecopter will win a $50 Amazon/ gift card. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Thanks for visiting It's Raining Books. What is the sweetest thing someone has done for you?

Married me.

How would you spend ten thousand bucks?

Probably on technological gizmos. I’m a terrible nerd in many ways. I’m also too old and infirm to travel very far these days, which rules out expensive holidays. I would buy antique Japanese ceramics, but don’t have the space in which to display them. The same goes for paintings and the like.

$10,000 is not so much money these days. Make it $10 million and I’d be able to do a great deal to help preserve the British countryside and its creatures. $10 billion would be even better.

Where do you get your best ideas?

Sitting in my chair, often late in the evening, alternately thinking and dozing.

What comes first, the plot or characters?

The plot, always. The characters serve the plot, not the other way around.

What does your main character do that makes him/her special?

He views the world, and the people in it, as they are. He doesn’t think or act based on any dogma, religion or philosophy. As a result, his natural kindness and compassion can blossom unhindered by the social conventions of his time. He’s also endlessly curious and quite unwilling to do what is expected of him, unless he thinks it’s right. I suppose all of that is rather like me, though Mr Foxe is younger, richer, less conventional and more outgoing than I have ever been.

I’m sorry, but I’m a lousy interviewee. I hate talking about myself, live very privately and don’t have any urge to analyse the way I live or the way I think. I just do it. The same is true of my writing.

“Many people wear masks. Some to hide their feelings; some to conceal their identity; and some to hide that most hideous plague of mankind: a sickness in the soul.”

Ashmole Foxe, Norwich bookseller, man-about-town and solver of mysteries will encounter all of these in this tangled drama of hatred, obsession and redemption.

This is a story set in the England of the 1760s, a time of rigid class distinctions, where the rich idle their days away in magnificent mansions, while hungry children beg, steal and prostitute themselves on the streets. An era on the cusp of revolution in America and France; a land where outward wealth and display hide simmering political and social tensions; a country which had faced intermittent war for the past fifty years and would need to survive a series of world-wide conflicts in the fifty years ahead.

Faced with no less than three murders, occurring from the aristocracy to the seeming senseless professional assassination of a homeless vagrant, Ashmole Foxe must call on all his skill and intelligence to uncover the sickness which appears to be infecting his city’s very soul.

Can Foxe uncover the truth which lies behind a series of baffling deaths, from an aristocrat attending a ball to a vagrant murdered where he slept in a filthy back-alley?

Read an Excerpt

Naturally, all this affability ended the moment Foxe stepped into the Great Hall itself. Sir Samuel would have used this as the meeting place to impress his influence and social status on all his visitors, and on Mr Foxe most of all. Now he received Foxe standing, his back to a large fireplace with an elaborate alabaster surround. Above him could be seen the coat of arms of the Valmar family. I may be a man like you, all this seemed to proclaim, but I am not just your social superior. I am a Valmar too. Remember that.

The baronet had dressed himself in a suit of fine brown wool embroidered in gold, over a pale cream waistcoat sprigged with tiny flowers. From his leather shoes with their golden buckles and his spotless white silk stockings up to his freshly powdered wig, he was the embodiment of the rich landowner suffering the attentions of some troublesome tenant. He was also in a combative mood. He launched his attack at once and without preliminaries.

‘Say what you have to say, sir, then get out!’ the baronet barked. ‘I am only suffering your presence because my wife begged me to do so. According to her, you have some important information affecting the Valmar family. My family heritage is everything to me. We Valmars came over with the Conqueror and have been here ever since. In all that time, no one has dishonoured the family name. No one ever shall, while I live and breathe. Now, get on with it — and be brief!’

When Foxe had stood before this man the last time, Sir Samuel had affected an air of complete indifference. Now all was different. What he wanted was to send this meddlesome tradesman about his business; preferably with his tail between his legs. By the end of his opening speech, his face was suffused with red and purple from the effort of holding his temper in check. Foxe noted how the other man’s breathing was shallow, his fists clenched tight and his eyes narrowed with fury. He had expected some such display of temper, but even he was taken aback by the vehemence of Sir Samuel’s attack. Still, he had determined in advance nothing would shake his calmness. He therefore replied in a quiet voice, his words measured and his tone mild and reasonable. To his quiet satisfaction, he observed immediately how much this gentle manner seemed to inflame Sir Samuel even more.

About the Author:
I started to write fiction as a way of keeping my mind active in retirement. Throughout my life, I have read and enjoyed hundreds of detective stories and mystery novels. One of my other loves is history, so it seemed natural to put the two together. Thus began two series of murder mystery books set in Norfolk, England.

All my books are set between 1760 and around 1800, a period of turmoil in Britain, with constant wars, revolutions in America and France and finally the titanic, 22-year struggle with Napoleon.

The Ashmole Foxe series takes place at the start of this time and is located in Norwich. Mr Foxe is a dandy, a bookseller and, unknown to most around him, the mayor’s immediate choice to deal with anything likely to upset the peace or economic security of the city.

The series featuring Dr Adam Bascom, a young gentleman physician caught up in the beginning of the Napoleonic wars, takes place in a variety of locations near the North Norfolk coast. Adam builds a successful medical practice, but his insatiable curiosity and knack for unravelling intrigue constantly involve him in mysteries large and small.

I have spent a good deal of my life travelling in Britain and overseas. Now I am more than content to write stories and run a blog devoted to the world of Georgian England.

Amazon Author Page:

The Ashmole Foxe Mysteries


The Ashmole Foxe Mysteries
The Fabric of Murder
Dark Threads of Vengeance
This Parody of Death
Bad Blood Will Out
Black as She’s Painted
A Sickness in the Soul

The Dr Adam Bascom Mysteries

The Dr Adam Bascom Mysteries
An Unlamented Death
The Code for Killing
A Shortcut to Murder
A Tincture of Secrets and Lies
Death of a Good Samaritan

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Hello! I just would like to give a huge thumbs up for the great info you have here on this post. I will be coming back to your blog for more soon. click here

  2. It has been great hearing about your book and although I am not the reader myself, my 2 sisters and 2 daughters are. They love hearing about the genre's they like and me helping them get to find books they will enjoy. Thanks for sharing!

    1. I hope your sisters and daughters enjoy what I have written.

  3. When did you know that you wanted to be a writer?

  4. I wrote my first book at age 69. I guess you could say I was a late developer.

  5. Thanks so much for the great giveaway.

  6. I enjoyed the interview, especially your answer to the $10,000 question.

  7. I have already added to my reading list.

  8. I really enjoyed the interview. I too could do a lot for many people with 10 million or 10 billion. ;-) I read your answer about the sweetest thing anyone did for you to my husband and he laughed for awhile before saying great answer. lol

  9. How many hours a day do you spend writing?

  10. I don’t write everyday. When I do write, it’s usually about three hours or so.

  11. Ashmole Foxe is a unique character name.

    1. True. However, in 18th-century England amongst the middle class and gentry it was not especially unusual to give the mother’s maiden name as the first name of the oldest son.

  12. It's a fun interview!


  13. Sounds like a fun read. I hope your book is a success.


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