Welcome return for author's medieval investigator Foxley
PUBLISHED: 07:00 12 January 2018
A Gravesend author, lecturer and scientist has just launched her latest book dealing with medieval murders.
It is the fifth in a series that is making Toni Mount a household name in the area.
She told us: “It is called The Colour of Murder and deals with even more medieval murders, including the mysterious death of The Duke of Clarence, one of the future Richard III’s brothers, who, tradition tells us was drowned in a wine barrel.”
She came to be a writer in a bizarre manner, as is often the case and she said others should take it an inspiration to launch their own careers.
Toni said: “This is my latest book in my series of Sebastian Foxley medieval murder mysteries.
“I was an established author of non-fiction medieval history books but the idea for my novels began as an assignment for an Open University course in creative writing.
“Having submitted various assignments my tutor made several constructive criticisms but there was one thing we couldn’t agree on: the name of my hero. He insisted that Sebastian was too posh and Foxley suggested a devious, sly character – someone readers could never like.
“So, for the sake of a better grade, I relented and temporarily changed the name. But I changed it back and ever since the hero has remained as Seb Foxley.
“He now even has his own Facebook page and website with fans around the world. For once, I got something right.
“Some 540 years ago, on 18th February 1478 the Duke of Clarence was, famously, drowned in a butt of malmsey wine. Did he jump or was he pushed? The question has never been answered, so this was an opportunity for my intrepid investigator Seb Foxley – to finally solve the mystery.”
The Colour of Murder is set in 1478 London with theft, arson, his wife’s pregnancy and his brother’s love-life to deal with and a royal patron to please, nothing ever goes smoothly for Seb.
She said: “My aim is to bring dreary history to life. I’ve been teaching history to mature students since 1999 and the best comment from my classes, one-off talks is ‘I wish they’d taught history like this when I was at school’. I’m delighted to make the subject engaging, lively and amusing.
“I began writing books in 2013 for the popular history market, looking mainly at the ordinary lives of medieval people rather than the kings and queens. My first novel was The Colour of Poison in 2016.
I’d written several on-line history courses for MadeGlobal Publishing and liking what I’d written, they asked if I had anything else that might be suitable for publication.
“I took my chance and said I had a novel already written.
“I sent a synopsis and the first few chapters on a Friday and by Sunday night I was offered a contract.”
She added: “It was a whirlwind experience. The next shock came when Poison was about to launch; the publisher asked if the book was to be the first part of a series.
“I had 10 seconds to decide and then said ‘yes’ and the Seb Foxley series began. I use the research I’ve done for my courses or non-fiction books, to make medieval London an authentic backdrop for the stories. Many of the crimes actually did happen as recorded in the Court Rolls.
“In The Colour of Betrayal last year, I used the genuine case of a murdered goldsmith whose death was first thought to be suicide. I brought the event forward to Seb’s era and set it at Christmas for a contrast between the horrible deed and the yuletide festivities. It was great fun to write.”
She has other interests too. Toni told us: “I teach a Tuesday afternoon history class at The Quills restaurant in Rochester High Street. We’re studying the lives and times of the Stuart monarchs.
“And at the Woodvilles in Gravesend, my Thursday morning class is looking at family life through the ages.”
For more information, visit tonimount.com