The Fressingfield Witch was inspired by articles from national and local papers about Mary Ann Corbyn and her alleged use of witchcraft to procure the death of her step-granddaughter. Below is an extract from the Framlingham Weekly News 12 April 1890:
“An inquest was held on Wednesday evening at Gooch’s Farm House, Fressingfield, before C W Chaston Esq touching the death of Edith Margaret Hammond, aged 11 weeks, daughter of Ben Hammond, agricultural labourer…
…Deceased seemed very queer on Friday, and early on Saturday morning was taken home in a perambulator by witness and his wife. On the way they noticed smoke issuing from the perambulator and deceased died after arrival home.
Sarah Hammond, the mother, said that when she took deceased out of the perambulator, the clothing was quite hot and dry and smelt of brimstone. She had no doubt but that deceased’s death was due to witchcraft and wickedness…
…George Corbyn of Wingfield, grandfather to the deceased, gave it as his opinion that his late wife had the powers of a witch and that he in consequence used always to try to do what she wanted him.
The jury found that deceased came to her death from shock to the system, caused by the external application of some irritant, the nature of which there was not sufficient evidence to show.”
… and it’s here courtesy of Publishnation who have helped me hit my target of publication by the end of October.
The Fressingfield Witch is a work of fiction based on a series of factual events from the 1890’s. It takes place in Suffolk, England. As usual, one or two of the characters come from my own family tree and the crime is solved with a combination of sleuthing and genealogy. The book blurb is below:
“During the 1645 Suffolk witch trials, hundreds of innocent women were convicted. Death and uncertainty stalked the land.
Fast forward to 1890 and two mysterious deaths in the village of Fressingfield stir up rumours of witchcraft again. Lawrence Harpham is dispatched from Bury St Edmunds to investigate. But Lawrence is still tormented by the tragic loss of his family in a house fire. Can he overcome his own demons and discover who is behind the flurry of deaths?
The Fressingfield Witch is a fictional murder mystery based on true events. Two of Suffolk’s darkest cases of witchcraft are weaved together in one compelling story.”
The Fressingfield Witch can be purchased through the Amazon Kindle Store or Lulu Publishing
It’s the first day of a week away from work. The weather is disgusting. My dog is sullenly pacing round the house eyeing me with disapproval. It’s so foul outside, that today we are going nowhere.
I like a walk. It keeps the dog happy and my Fitbit from nagging. Today my Fitbit sits redundantly on my arm while I contemplate the pile of books I have been looking forward to reading, but have lain gathering dust on my bedside table while other things take priority.
The Fressingfield Witch, is one of those other things. My latest novel is a Victorian murder mystery set in Suffolk and based on a real news item that hit the local headlines in 1890. It was an allegation of witchcraft. The news item was only short, but had an immediate impact on me. For starters, it involved one of my very distant relatives. That’s always a good lure to a genealogist. And it involved death and witchcraft, so my inner writer pricked up her ears. Before I knew it, we had conjured up a novel from this tiny eleven-lined piece of inspiration.
I’ve taken a risk with this book. The real village of Fressingfield has been populated with actual people from the 1891 census. This will be like marmite to some. They will either appreciate the idea of real people living on in print, or they will disapprove of the merging together of fact and fiction. I hope it is the former.
The final cover and finished drafts are with Publishnation and should be ready for purchase very soon. All of which gives me the rest of the week to catch up with a little light reading of my own. Unless the rain lifts and the dog demands a walk. Doing a little rain dance now…..