The Crime Google of 1890

and a sneak peek of chapter 2

When writing historical mysteries, there’s a lot of background research happening. Just for a single scene, I needed to find out four things:

  1. Where would I look if I wanted to get a rough overview of notable crimes in the US between 1880 and 1894, without having do dig myself through the entire newspaper archives of the Boston Public Library? 👉🏽 The National Police Gazette could be a potential start, because they reported on…well, just read the sneak peek below.

  2. Where exactly was the Boston Public Library in summer 1894, what was the layout and where exactly were the newspaper archives? 👉🏽 The newspaper archives were on the ground floor of the brand-new McKim Building (see bottom of this post).

  3. How do I get there from Savin Hill? 👉🏽 Take the train halfway into Boston, then continue with a street car or your bicycle.

  4. Did they use toilet paper back then? 👉🏽 Yep. It came in sheets in a box. People didn’t want to buy it, because that would reveal to the public that the buyer poops. Very embarrassing. Also: The stuff was rough. People who didn’t want to buy toilet paper used a rag, a sponge on a stick, or a special spoon to scrape their bum.

Sneak peek of The Viper, Chapter 2:

He shot me a sardonic glance and turned away without a word. I followed as he steered toward one of the many shelves lining the walls. He gestured at a small mountain of pinkish paper, muttering something that sounded like 'There,' and sauntered off, leaving me to my own devices.

Mr Whitaker's reaction to my inquiry didn't surprise me at all. The Gazette was a sensationalist piece of toilet paper (only with a lot fewer splinters) that sold electric devices to "restore manhood" as well as "rubber goods" and cards that showed "men and women together" as they described it in a roundabout way. But, if you looked past the cover that more often than not sported females in various states of gratuitous and fumbling hand-to-hand combat, you'd find reports on notable crimes.

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The Prologue and Chapter 01 of The Viper are published, and many more are coming up for your weekly reading enjoyment. 👇🏽

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