The Elusive Mr Allison

Well, it’s a little while since I blogged, but the reason for that is because I was scribbling away (ok, I was typing pretty hard) at my latest book. Currently titled Watch for me by Moonlight, after a line in Alfred Noyes haunting poem The Highwayman, it’s with the proof readers (a collection of very lovely and very honest friends) as we speak and I await their comments before I submit it to my publisher and cross my fingers.

Despite being Book 1 of what I hope will be a new series, Moonlight is still linked in a small way to the Rossetti Mysteries series as a couple of characters from books two and three have popped into a couple of scenes in Moonlight. The characters suited my purposes, and it was too good an opportunity to miss when they more or less volunteered themselves for the posts. I should clarify that I mention books two and three in the Rossetti series –but as always there is no guarantee the publishers will take them, but it’s nice to dream they will!

Anyway, Book 1 of the new series introduces us to Hal and Elodie and we follow their story in that novel. I talked about marble tombs in a previous blog post – and that’s the spooky premise of Moonlight but I won’t go into any more spoilers here.

Another character who appeared in Moonlight is Penny Hartsford, Hal’s sister. Like Lissy in the Rossetti books, she is shouting at me for her own book so she will be the central person for my next story. I just have to work out a few plot details though, and this brings me to a piece of information that’s been bugging me for years.

I once visited a stately home in Britain and on the wall was a painting of the family who lived in the house, all sitting on a couch, along with a friend of the family sitting, I believe, on the floor. He was a young poet who was besotted by the daughter of the house and wrote quite a few poems for her. He joined up in the forces for WW2 (it may be that she refused his proposal of marriage but I can’t swear to remembering that correctly!) and was killed very shortly after joining up.   I’ve been trying to remember the name of this house for years, and at the same time trying to locate this chap. You know when something just gets a hold of you and you can’t let it drop? I have recently started searching for him again as I thought their ‘love’ story – or maybe their ‘infatuation’ story – was interesting enough to try and fictionalise in Penny’s book, which is what has spurred me on. So during my internet trawling I came across some information about a WW2 poet called Drummond Allison and things are slowly slotting together – the fact he was just in his twenties when he died, he was killed very soon into his wartime career and the fact he was ‘in love’ with a young lady called Cynthia Clarke and dedicated lots of poems to her.   I can’t find any information about Drummond and Cynthia except a post in this blog https://richardawarren.wordpress.com/ but it is making me think that this might finally be the chap I’ve been hounding for ages. I’ve also emailed another gentleman, Ross Davies, who has written a biography on Drummond to see if he can help – and I’m crossing my fingers on that one too. In the meantime, I’ve added a couple of pictures to this post of Drummond himself.

“Drummond”’s story might not make it into the finished book – I don’t plan my books, so goodness knows where writing it will take me anyway, but I shall keep you posted if I discover anything… it’ll be worth it just to lay this particular mystery to rest.

Sometimes, I think being an author is 50% writing and 50% being a detective!drummon allison 1 drummond allison 2

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