Thursday, October 10, 2019

Virtual Book Tour + #Giveaway: A Sickness in the Soul by William Savage @penandpension @GoddessFish

A Sickness in the Soul: An Ashmole Foxe Georgian Mystery
by William Savage
GENRE: Historical Mystery


“Many people wear masks. Some to hide their feelings; some to conceal their identity; and some to hide that most hideous plague of mankind: a sickness in the soul.”

Ashmole Foxe, Norwich bookseller, man-about-town and solver of mysteries will encounter all of these in this tangled drama of hatred, obsession and redemption.

This is a story set in the England of the 1760s, a time of rigid class distinctions, where the rich idle their days away in magnificent mansions, while hungry children beg, steal and prostitute themselves on the streets. An era on the cusp of revolution in America and France; a land where outward wealth and display hide simmering political and social tensions; a country which had faced intermittent war for the past fifty years and would need to survive a series of world-wide conflicts in the fifty years ahead.

Faced with no less than three murders, occurring from the aristocracy to the seeming senseless professional assassination of a homeless vagrant, Ashmole Foxe must call on all his skill and intelligence to uncover the sickness which appears to be infecting his city’s very soul.

Can Foxe uncover the truth which lies behind a series of baffling deaths, from an aristocrat attending a ball to a vagrant murdered where he slept in a filthy back-alley?


Naturally, all this affability ended the moment Foxe stepped into the Great Hall itself. Sir Samuel would have used this as the meeting place to impress his influence and social status on all his visitors, and on Mr Foxe most of all. Now he received Foxe standing, his back to a large fireplace with an elaborate alabaster surround. Above him could be seen the coat of arms of the Valmar family. I may be a man like you, all this seemed to proclaim, but I am not just your social superior. I am a Valmar too. Remember that.

The baronet had dressed himself in a suit of fine brown wool embroidered in gold, over a pale cream waistcoat sprigged with tiny flowers. From his leather shoes with their golden buckles and his spotless white silk stockings up to his freshly powdered wig, he was the embodiment of the rich landowner suffering the attentions of some troublesome tenant. He was also in a combative mood. He launched his attack at once and without preliminaries.

‘Say what you have to say, sir, then get out!’ the baronet barked. ‘I am only suffering your presence because my wife begged me to do so. According to her, you have some important information affecting the Valmar family. My family heritage is everything to me. We Valmars came over with the Conqueror and have been here ever since. In all that time, no one has dishonoured the family name. No one ever shall, while I live and breathe. Now, get on with it — and be brief!’

When Foxe had stood before this man the last time, Sir Samuel had affected an air of complete indifference. Now all was different. What he wanted was to send this meddlesome tradesman about his business; preferably with his tail between his legs. By the end of his opening speech, his face was suffused with red and purple from the effort of holding his temper in check. Foxe noted how the other man’s breathing was shallow, his fists clenched tight and his eyes narrowed with fury. He had expected some such display of temper, but even he was taken aback by the vehemence of Sir Samuel’s attack. Still, he had determined in advance nothing would shake his calmness. He therefore replied in a quiet voice, his words measured and his tone mild and reasonable. To his quiet satisfaction, he observed immediately how much this gentle manner seemed to inflame Sir Samuel even more.

Interview with William Savage

Do you have any tattoos?  Where? When did you get it/them? Where are they on your body?
Definitely not! I don’t even like to see them on others.

Is your life anything like it was two years ago?
Pretty much, I guess. At my age, things change very slowly. You get slower and your medical problems increase, but otherwise all goes on much as before.

How long have you been writing?
I wrote my first fiction book when I was 69; that’s nearly four years ago now. I’ve written all kinds of things in my life, mostly dull, boring and connected to my work. During a dark time when I was feeling the future had nothing to offer save a slow descent into death, my wife encouraged me to start writing again. I began with a blog about the 18th century in Norfolk, England (that’s still going at, then turned to playing around with a story about a young doctor of the time. After I’d completed it, I showed it to a few people, all of whom encouraged me to get it published. The rest, as they say, is history. I’m now on to making a start on my 12th novel.

What advice would you give a new writer just starting out?
Remember that people want to read stories. Fine writing and marvelously vivid descriptive passages can’t stand on their own. They’re like having the decorations and pretty lights without the Christmas tree. Get the story right first, then let the rest follow. Write the story first, even if the words are poor and the grammar awful. You can tidy all those up later, but of the story is dull and uninteresting, no amount of splendid decorations will persuade anyone to read more than about fifty pages.

Tell us something about your newest release that is NOT in the blurb.
Many years ago, I first read the detective stories about the Chinese Judge Dee, written by the Dutch diplomat Robert van Gulik. In accordance with ancient Chinese traditional detective stories, nearly all his books contain more than one mystery for Judge Dee to solve at the same time, forcing him to keep moving from one investigation to another and back again. I thought it brought something extra to the books — something more like the messiness of real life, rather than the smooth, step-by-step progress of the traditional British whodunnit. “A Sickness in the Soul” is my attempt to do the same thing, facing my protagonist, Ashmole Foxe, with no less than three murders, occurring from the aristocracy to the seeming senseless professional assassination of a homeless vagrant. As a result, he has to keep stepping back and forth between the highest classes of the society of the time and the lowest as he tries to keep all three investigations on track, despite constant pressure to ignore everything except the one most obviously linked to the nobility.

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

I started to write fiction as a way of keeping my mind active in retirement. Throughout my life, I have read and enjoyed hundreds of detective stories and mystery novels. One of my other loves is history, so it seemed natural to put the two together. Thus began two series of murder mystery books set in Norfolk, England.

All my books are set between 1760 and around 1800, a period of turmoil in Britain, with constant wars, revolutions in America and France and finally the titanic, 22-year struggle with Napoleon.
The Ashmole Foxe series takes place at the start of this time and is located in Norwich. Mr Foxe is a dandy, a bookseller and, unknown to most around him, the mayor’s immediate choice to deal with anything likely to upset the peace or economic security of the city.
The series featuring Dr Adam Bascom, a young gentleman physician caught up in the beginning of the Napoleonic wars, takes place in a variety of locations near the North Norfolk coast. Adam builds a successful medical practice, but his insatiable curiosity and  knack for unravelling intrigue constantly involve him in mysteries large and small.
I have spent a good deal of my life travelling in Britain and overseas. Now I am more than content to write stories and run a blog devoted to the world of Georgian England, which you can find at You can also follow me on Twitter as @penandpension.

The Ashmole Foxe Mysteries


The Ashmole Foxe Mysteries

The Fabric of Murder

Dark Threads of Vengeance

This Parody of Death

Bad Blood Will Out

Black as She’s Painted

A Sickness in the Soul

The Dr Adam Bascom Mysteries


The Dr Adam Bascom Mysteries

An Unlamented Death

The Code for Killing

A Shortcut to Murder

A Tincture of Secrets and Lies

Death of a Good Samaritan


Pen and Pension:

Author Page


$50 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC

Follow the tour and comment; the more you comment, the better your chances of winning.


Goddess Fish Promotions said...

Thanks for hosting!

James Robert said...

I am enjoying these tours and finding all the terrific books my family is enjoying reading. Thanks for bringing them to us and keep up the good work.

William Savage said...

Thanks so much for hosting me.

Bernie Wallace said...

Where did you find your inspiration for this book? Congrats on the release.

Mya Goss said...

This book sounds super good!! I can't wait to read it!!

William Savage said...

I get a good deal of my inspiration from 18th-century newspapers. For this particular book, I also consulted a number of books on the crimes of the period.

William Savage said...

Thanks, Mya. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Victoria Alexander said...

Thanks for sharing the great post!

Rita Wray said...

Sounds like a good book.

William Savage said...

Rita & Victoria. Glad you liked the post. I hope you like my books as well. Thanks for commenting.

Bernie Wallace said...

Who is your favorite character in the book? I hope that your book is a success.

Daniel M said...

sounds like a fun one

William Savage said...

Bernie, that’s a tough question! The one I almost always enjoy writing about most is Foxe himself. He’s a delight to an author. Rational, with an emotional side. Resourceful and intelligent, yet capable of making mistakes with the best of us. Polite and courteous, but more than willing to breaks society’s more killjoy rules whenever it suits him. What more could any author want? Thanks for your good wishes. It’s selling pretty well at present, thanks.

marisela zuniga said...

This sounds really interesting

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