Posted in Cozy, Giveaway, Guest Post, mystery on January 13, 2018

Deadly Fashion (The Deadly Series)
3rd in Series 
Cozy Historical Mystery
JDP Press (December 8, 2017)
Paperback: 324 pages
Digital JDP Press (January 11, 2018)


Why would a man, knowing his life was in danger, turn his back on his killer?

In pre-war London, Olivia Denis wins a plum assignment from her newspaper when she meets the glamorous French fashion designer, Mimi Mareau. Mimi has it all, wealth, talent, acclaim, and a British duke for a lover. But on her first visit to Mimi’s new Mayfair house of haute couture, Olivia finds something else – the body of an unknown man.

Mimi and her three French assistants say they don’t know the man, but is that true? As Olivia spends time around the salon, she learns at least one of the women knew the dead man and four women are lying.

A British agent in possession of a terrible secret, an attempt on the life of a British leader, a fashion house in the middle of it all, and war marches closer. Can Olivia stop a murderer before he or she can strike again or shatter the fragile peace?

Guest Post

Today we welcome author Kate Parker to tell us how designers influenced the development of some of her characters.  Welcome Kate!

Coco Chanel

The more I read about Coco Chanel, the more she appeared to be the foundation for a great character in a murder mystery. She was one of the premier fashion designers of her age who became wealthy by her own efforts. She took various lovers, including an English duke and a Nazi officer. She designed costumes for the movies. She was free as a bird, able to fly off to Hollywood or Scotland or the French Riviera at a moment’s notice. She was imprisoned by a long standing addiction to cocaine. She lived well while her countrymen suffered under Nazi rule.

In Coco Chanel, I had the basis for Mimi Mareau, the talented, hard-working, bossy leader of French fashion. Her family life was different than Coco’s. She designed the costumes for a West End play instead of a movie. She opened a haute couture salon in London. And she became embroiled in a murder that it will take my sleuth, Olivia Denis, to solve.

Olivia is a society reporter for a leading daily London newspaper in the days before World War II when newspapers spread the word to everyone, and which newspaper someone read daily said a great deal about them. As a society reporter, Olivia would cover the twice yearly fashion shows put on in London. Her sketching talent, introduced to readers in Deadly Scandal, would be put to good use to help her write her articles.

I read about Chanel’s Paris salon in the late 1930’s to use details for my story, both for the fashion shows and for life behind the scenes as observed by Olivia. Also, what seemed to be important to Chanel, which I copied for Mimi Mareau, was her need to dress to be her best advertisement for her designs.

The Duke of Westminster was used as a vague model for Mimi Mareau’s British duke. Westminster was fabulously rich and had a long running affair with Coco Chanel. He was also pro-German in the time between the two world wars and was in need of an heir to replace the son he lost at an early age. Mimi’s duke appears to have no worries about the succession, so he must have an heir although the child is not mentioned. And unlike the four times married Westminster who was single when he was Coco’s lover, Mimi’s duke is still married to his first wife. The duke in my story is still in favor of the Nazis in 1938, the time of this story, and his possible close connection to Berlin actually mirrors what I’d read about another British aristocrat, not Westminster.

Another place in Chanel’s life story where I veer from fact is Chanel received financing for her salon from a man who would be her lover until his untimely death. It is said Arthur Capel was the love of her life. Mimi Mareau’s relationship with the man who financed her entry into the world of high fashion has a different fate.

Coco Chanel’s story is fascinating, and I hope Deadly Fashion is, too. Two books I found of great use in learning about Chanel’s life and French fashion salons were Sleeping with the Enemy – Coco Chanel’s Secret War by Hal Vaughan, and Coco Chanel – An Intimate Life by Lisa Chaney.

About the Author

Kate Parker has wanted to travel to 1930s England since she read her mother’s Agatha Christie and Dorothy Sayers mysteries when she was a schoolgirl. After many years of studying science, she decided a time travel machine was out of the question so she found herself limited to reading about the period and visiting historic sites. Her love of this fascinating and challenging period led her to the research from which the Deadly series grew. Eventually, she found it necessary to spend several days in the British Library reading old newspapers, which meant another trip to England. Near Christmas. A sacrifice she’d gladly make every year.



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