Quite often what I need to know are small obscure things that Mr Google or Mr Wikipedia can help with but if it’s a recurring issue, I need to have the answer closer to hand. And it’s important to me that the settings I create for my books are fairly accurate, because I want my readers to become immersed in the story, so I have acquired a number of books over the last few years to help me develop an authentic 1930s-feeling world for Dottie Manderson.
Plus, I just love all the pictures… (not the gory ones in the forensic books, but the pretty dresses etc)
Here are a few of the books I use regularly which have now become indispensable. I did take a few interior pics then realise – duh, idiot, copyright issues! So sadly I’m just showing you the covers. I’m taking it as read that you’d know I have a dictionary and a thesaurus by my side at all times so I didn’t bother to take photos of them.
As I write crime fiction, albeit a gentle, 1930s or 1960s brand, I need to know a bit about the icky side of a crime. so the two books below are my go-to for that sort of stuff. Though I have to bear in mind that for the 1930s – and even the 1960s – some of this stuff wouldn’t be relevant as it’s very much only ‘coming soon’ (1980s/90s and later).
I also need to know a bit about houses, social conventions, mod cons and everyday life in the past, so I have loved these books too:
I also find it helpful sometimes to read true crime and related non-fiction:
But if you know me, or have visited this blog before, you’ll know my real love is costume, and also social history. Here are a few of my absolute favourite books:
And lastly – but most fabulous of all, and not really my era, but such beautiful photos, I wish I could put them on here to wow you:
So now you know what I do when I’m gathering ideas, checking facts and maundering over a first draft idea. Or just – you know – reading for fun.