Having just seen and thoroughly enjoyed the film ‘Suffragette’, I was delighted to meet writer Caroline Dunford via Book Connectors on Facebook and to discover that her latest ‘The Euphemia Martins Mysteries’ book, ‘A Death for a Cause’ is based around the time of the Suffragette movement.
‘A Death for a Cause’ was released as an ebook on 15th October 2015 and will be out in paperback on 20th November 2015.
Here, Caroline writes about the way the struggle for equality has not yet been fully realised.
A Woman’s Rights
Men and women are biologically different. Only one of the two genders is able to give birth. There have been civilisations that have regarded this as a near to divine ability and others, who have seen it as a weakness. In today’s enlightened world women are perceived as having a choice of having children or not. Except if you start examining this you head down the rocky road lined by anti-abortion protestors, anti-contraceptions advocates and even those who believe a woman’s place is the home. The stark reality is that in various cultures across the world women are not believed to be the equal of men.
You might think this is all a bit hard hitting for my cozy historical crime series, ‘The Euphemia Martins Mysteries’, to tackle, but the series has always been about Euphemia and her struggle to survive in the early 1900s when the United Kingdom was very much in the hands of men. ‘A Death for A Cause’, the eighth book, finds Euphemia actively plunged into the Suffragette debate. She has in her own way been a supporter of women’s rights for a long time. A woman determined to make her own way in the world and support herself, she has cocked a snook at the idea she is less able and less intelligent than any male counterpart. Indulged and over-educated (for the time) by her deceased father, she has stood up to men considered to be her superiors and outwitted cunning murderers. But in all of this, although she has been taken a stand, she has been sheltered from many of the harsh realities of life.
Her original employer may be dastardly, but the championship of his brother and later his sister have kept her in a protective bubble where she can rant and storm about inequality, but where she is well fed, housed and for the time, indulged. In the latest book all this is stripped away.
Caught up accidentally in a suffragette march, she comes to blows with a policeman who is about to beat a defenceless girl (and yes, this did happen to suffragettes) and ends up in jail. Here she is forced to spy on her suffragette sisters by her long time influence, the spy Fitzroy, who persuades her it is in the interest of the National Security, to root out a dangerous murderer from within the so called Shrieking Sisterhood’s ranks.
In trying to unravel this tangled tale Euphemia is brought up sharp against the realities of being a women living in poverty and even finds herself venturing incognito into a brothel. Arguably her experience of the harshness of the lives of real women outside her charmed circle has more effect on her than the emotional shock she suffered helping the survivors of the Titanic in ‘A Death for King and County’.
But then the Euphemia stories have always been about what it is like to a woman in a difficult and unequal age. What readers may not always realise is that the struggles of Euphemia in all her stories also echo the on-going struggles of women today. From the petty realities of an EU 5% luxury tax on tampons, to the horrific use of rape against women as a weapon in war, the battle the suffragettes started so long ago is still not won. Perhaps in her own small way Euphemia is flying the flag for this on-going struggle.
You might also like to join Caroline for a Suffragette themed evening and book launch: