Are you a fan of detective stories? I am. It started with series like The Famous Five and Trixie Beldon, moved on a bit to Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys in my pre-teen and early teen years, and then developed even further to a love of Agatha Christie and Dorothy L. Sayers novels in my mid-teens.
And then I discovered Drew Farthering through his first adventure, Rule of Murder, and I knew I had found a new favourite. That’s why I’m SO excited to have him right here on my blog chatting with me! But first, a little bit about his latest adventure:
~ About the Book ~
The Fartherings’ Scottish Holiday Takes a Dark Turn
Drew Farthering arrives in idyllic Scotland for the 1935 British Open at Muirfield hoping for a relaxing holiday, but he soon finds a mystery on his hands. Lord Rainsby, his host at Thorburn Hall, fears his business partner may be embezzling and asks Drew to quietly investigate. Before Drew can uncover anything, Rainsby is killed in a suspicious riding accident.
Thorburn Hall is filled with guests, and as Drew continues to dig, he realizes that each might have had a motive to put Rainsby out of the way. Together with Madeline and Nick, he must sort through shady business dealings, international intrigue, and family tensions to find a killer who always seems to be one step ahead.
You can read my review of Death at Thorburn Hall here.
~ Interview ~
KATIE: Drew, thank you for coming to my blog for a little chat. It’s so lovely to finally meet you. Is it too clichéd to say I’m a big fan?
DREW: Actually, it’s tremendously flattering. I’m quite chuffed to know people actually like reading about my little adventures.
KATIE: I certainly do! And I should ask after your lovely wife, Madeline, as well as Nick and Carrie. I trust they’re all well and recovered from your trip to the Open? It was a little more . . . eventful than you anticipated, wasn’t it.
DREW: Oh, yes, everyone is quite well. Nick and Carrie never seem to notice anyone else is about when they’re together, but that’s to be expected. And, yes, things did get rather complicated up in Scotland, didn’t they? A bit touch and go there for a while, but everything came right in the end.
KATIE: Yes, thank the Lord! But you had me worried! I have to ask, do you manage to get away occasionally without a murder cropping up? I’m thinking you must be increasingly wary of accepting invitations!
DREW: Of course we do. It’s just that those little trips don’t get into the newspapers beyond the society page. It takes a murder or two for anyone to really sit up and take notice.
KATIE: Sad, but true! But I’m glad you get away without the drama.
So, tell us a little about your latest trip. You went up to stay with Lord and Lady Rainsby and see the Open (notice I’m not calling it the British Open. I’m a quick learner!) Give us a little introduction to the main players in this . . . what did you call it? Oh, yes—‘pleasant little family killing.’ One of your more droll moments!
DREW: Well, let me think back. Besides Lord and Lady Rainsby, we have their daughter, Joan, who isn’t convinced that a certain accidental death is really an accident. Then there’s Lord Rainsby’s friend, Reginald MacArthur, who seems a bit too admiring of Herr Hitler, the current chancellor in Germany. There’s Jamie Tyler, a caddy at the golf course where they held the Open, who has a rather warmer interest in young Joan than her parents think proper. And last, but certainly not least, is one Count Mikhail Yevgeni Kazimir Sevastyan Kuznetsov, who has a more colorful past than anyone I’ve met to date. I had a deuced time sorting them all out.
KATIE: And yet you managed to sort them out before I did! If I was wearing a hat I would tip mine to you.
You’ve helped investigate several murders now—some of them very close to home. Are you surprised by the things that drive a person to commit murder?
DREW: Actually, there aren’t that many when you boil them down to their basic elements. Most of them seem to have to do with pride – taking revenge on someone who’s hurt you, covering up a failing that will diminish you in the eyes of society, control, power. Even money as a motive is a form of pride, a desire for status or comfort or security. But, on the surface, murderers do seem to have a lot of different reasons to kill. My job is to figure them out.
KATIE: Hmm. You make a good point about pride. I haven’t considered it from that angle before.
So often the murderer is someone you would never have suspected until pieces of the puzzle begin to fall into place. How has that experience changed the way you look at people? For example, do you find yourself more suspicious, or perhaps simply less inclined to judge people by appearances?
DREW: Madeline has helped me remember to reserve judgement until I’ve ferreted out all the facts in a case. And she’s also good at reminding me to take each suspect as he, or she, comes and to not let my past experiences become an undue influence. Every time I tell myself, “Right, I know this one,” I miss something that I should have noticed, some little detail that’s vital to finding out the truth. It also never hurts to recall that we’re all saved by the grace of God, and without that grace, I might very well be the one in a pretty tight spot.
KATIE: That’s very true. And you don’t even need to be solving mysteries to take that kind of advice on board, do you?
You’ve found yourself in some tricky situations in the past. Is there one that stands out to you; One where you truly thought, “This is it. I’m not going to get out of this one”?
DREW: I’ve had several near-misses in the last few years, but I suppose there are two that can still make my breath come a bit fast when I think back on them. One was when I was trying to track down the Hatpin Murderer (Death by the Book). I was foolish enough to let my guard down, and that was nearly the end of me. The other is in my latest adventure (Death at Thorburn Hall), so I won’t spoil it for your readers, but the memory still makes me shudder. Let me just say that one ought always look before he leaps, and I was certainly unheedful of that advice. I won’t be doing that again, thank you very much.
KATIE: They were hairy moments for ME, and I was only an observer!
Now, if I may say so, one of the things I admire about you is your unflappability. You seem to keep your composure in all situations. I think it was Monsieur Laurent Rémy (Dressed for Death) who referred to Kipling’s poem about the dangers of ‘British politeness’ in response to one of your typically polite warnings. What brings out that British politeness in you?
DREW: Ah, yes, M. Rémy. I think, in bringing him up, you have answered your own question. He was making blatant advances towards my wife which were not only unwelcome but unbecoming a gentleman. Not that I could possibly consider someone of his sort to be a gentleman. I hate to see a man behave swinishly towards a lady, so I expect that’s when one might expect me most likely to be as coldly and dangerously polite as I’m able.
KATIE: I think you’ve just won the heart of every female reading this blog! ❤
So when you’re not risking life and limb to solve a murder, how do you and Madeline enjoy spending your time?
DREW: There always seems to be something going on, parties and riding and golf, various activities in Farthering St. John, particularly at Holy Trinity. Madeline has her charity work, of course, and I’ve been trying to learn more about Farlinford Processing. We go to London quite often for the latest play or the newest club or just into Winchester for the cinema. Of course, with all the excitement we seem to run into everywhere we go, I’ve found what I enjoy most is just dinner at home and then perhaps a quiet evening reading before the fire with the cats curled up with us. I can think of little more one could want.
KATIE: That sounds perfect! And just between you, me, and the internet (don’t ask me to explain—you’d never believe me!) what’s it like working with Julianna Deering?
DREW: I don’t wish to be impolite, especially about the person who brought me and my lovely Madeline together, but most of the time Miss Deering is stark staring mad. I mean, absolutely starkers. And she has a fiendish penchant for putting me into situations where I must rethink my preconceived notions and humble myself before the truth. It’s quite damaging to a fellow’s pride. But in her defense, she never lets me get bored, and she lets me get bashed about just enough to make my wife grateful that I have returned to her waiting arms. I really can’t complain, though now I am frightfully curious about this internet you’ve mentioned.
KATIE: The internet is definitely a topic for another day! But thank you for that illuminating insight into Julianna’s mind! 😉
Any final words of wisdom for budding amateur detectives?
DREW: Don’t go deciding what’s happened until you have all the facts. The obvious is not always the truth, and there’s nothing that hampers an investigation more than trying to make the facts fit one’s theory rather than the other way round.
KATIE: I’ll definitely keep that in mind, should I ever find myself in the middle of a mystery.
Thank you so much for joining me today, Drew. Do give my best wishes to Madeline, Nick, and Carrie.
DREW: I’ll certainly do that. You’ve been quite kind to let me visit, and I hope you’ll come round to Farthering Place next time you’re in Hampshire. You’re always welcome.
KATIE: I would be delighted! 😍
~ About the Author ~
Julianna Deering is the creator of the acclaimed Drew Farthering Mystery series. She has always loved British history and is a particular fan of the writings of Dorothy Sayers and Agatha Christie. She graduated from the University of Texas at Dallas with a degree in business administration and spent several years as a Certified Public Accountant. She lives outside Dallas, Texas.