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A Sickness in the Soul by William Savage - Book Tour + Giveaway

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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?


‘Most irregular!’ the coroner spluttered. ‘This is mere hearsay, doctor.
I cannot admit it into evidence unless it is vouched for by the physician who you say was there
at the time. Is that gentleman in the court?’


‘Does anyone know where he may be found?’

The clerk to the court stepped forward — most reluctantly, Foxe thought. With much hesitation,
he explained that, unfortunately, the man was not present at the inquest.
Nor could his evidence be sought.

‘From what I have been told by those who encountered him that evening, sir, he was visiting from
London. He said he intended to depart to return home on the first mail coach the following morning.’

‘God’s teeth!’ the coroner exploded. ‘Did anyone think to make a note of this man’s name or ask
where he lived?’

Another silence.

‘Is Viscount Penngrove present?’

A tall man with a long, bony face stood up slowly. ‘I am here,’ he said. ‘I wish to God I were not.’

Whether this was an understandable comment about needing to attend an inquest on one of his sons,
or an expression of disgust at being forced to sit, hugger-mugger, with tradesmen and other common
people, was not entirely clear.

‘Is it true, your lordship,’ the coroner said, ‘as the medical examiner here has said,
that this physician no one can name made a remark about the temperature of your son’s … body …
and the extent of … um … stiffening?’

‘Something like that,’ Viscount Penngrove drawled.

‘Exactly as reported, my lord? Nothing else added and nothing omitted?’

‘Can’t recall. Rather upset by it all, as you might imagine.’

The coroner struggled bravely forward. ‘You did not ask for this physician’s name or his address?’

‘I am not in the habit of bothering myself with the personal details of tradespeople,’
came the viscount’s cold reply. ‘I passed what I could remember on to the fellow now on the stand.
Up to him after that.’ He then sat down, making it clear he would entertain no further questioning.


Author Interview

What are your favorite TV shows?
I rarely watch what might be termed ‘shows’. Only nature documentaries and some detective mysteries — so long as they don’t fall into the category, for me, of ‘soap opera’. By that I mean the typical TV programme featuring unlikely coincidences, silly chases, people getting themselves into stupid situations and having to be rescued, and any kind of ‘cliffhanger’. I also cannot stand too much overt emotion and displays of angst, which pretty much rules out 90% of what’s shown — often including the news!

What is your favorite meal?
Breakfast. I usually eat a big bowl of muesli and fruit, unless I’m staying in a hotel, where I’m easily tempted by bacon and eggs. I can eat breakfast any time of the day, any day of the week, and enjoy it.

If you were to write a series of novels, what would it be about?
I have two series already in play, so they answer this question.

Is there a writer you idolize? If so who?
No. I don’t idolize anyone, living or dead.

How did you come up for the title of this book?
No idea. I suddenly thought about the supposed quotation at the head of the prologue. It’s not a real quotation, since I wrote it myself. Somehow, it wouldn’t go away and quickly settled down to provide the title of the book. I suppose I wanted to suggest that the worst of crimes spring always from within; from some inner misery and warping of the mind that makes the person concerned think that doing murder is acceptable or inevitable. I don’t buy the idea that criminals are produced by poverty or deprivation. They have some inner sickness that is then brought to the fore by those kinds of circumstances, not caused by them. Generally, I think they use the wretchedness of their circumstances — if that applies to them — as a convenient excuse and explanation for their deeds. Indeed, some of the very worst and most evil criminals are rich and live in fine houses. Arrogance can warp just as much as deprivation.


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
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

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


One randomly chosen winner via rafflecopter will win a $50 Amazon/ gift card.
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