The Isolated Seance
July 18, 2023
Today I talked to Jeri Westerson about her book The Isolated Séance (Severn House, 2023).
It’s 1895, and Tim Badger, who is quite familiar with the inside of a jail cell, and his intuitive friend Ben Watson, who is Black in a society that is weary of difference, are unlikely detectives. But Tim was once one of the Baker Street Irregular urchins who ran errands and spied for the great Sherlock Holmes, and the two young men are trying to be detectives. They’re struggling with their new detective agency when a potential client staggers in. Thomas Brent is being sought by police after his boss Horace Quinn is murdered during a séance in a closed room in his own house. The only other people in the room in addition to the dead man and his valet, Thomas, were the housekeeper, the maid, and the gypsy woman who led the séance. Thomas Brent hires Badger and Watson, who take turns telling the story. They get into a bit of trouble and occasionally find a clue, but Sherlock Holmes, Badger’s old boss, clearly wants them to succeed. He bails Badger out of jail, arranges a nice place for the two young detectives to live, and although Badger doesn’t realize it, sends clues about the case.
Los Angeles native Jeri Westerson authored fifteen Crispin Guest Medieval Noir Mysteries, a series nominated for thirteen awards from the Agatha to the Macavity, to the Shamus. Jeri currently writes two new series: a Tudor mystery series, the King’s Fool Mysteries, with Henry VIII’s real court jester Will Somers as the sleuth and a Sherlockian pastiche series with one of Holmes’ former Baker Street Irregulars opening his own detective agency. She also authored several paranormal series (including a gas lamp fantasy-steampunk series), standalone historical novels, and had stories in several anthologies, the latest of which was included in South Central Noir, an Akashic Noir anthology. She has served as president of the SoCal Chapter of Mystery Writers of America, president, and vice president for two chapters of Sisters in Crime (Orange County and Los Angeles) and is also a founding member of the SoCal chapter of the Historical Novel Society. In her copious spare time, Jeri acts as butler to her senior cat Luna, and loves to travel with her hubby and Luna in her vintage RV.