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Author Topic: A WW1 Crime Novel  (Read 3081 times)

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jazzman

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A WW1 Crime Novel
« on: November 18, 2014, 10:59:13 AM »

G'day everyone,

I have laboured over story ideas for my first novel and I thought why not combine two of greatest passions, history and crime novels.

I've come across the murder of a young woman in Sydney in 1914 that was never solved, so that got my imagination ticking. Why not write a mystery novel about a detective investigating the murder of a woman in Sydney, who then has to follow that murderer to France during WW1 and the western front. I also started to develop my main character as a man married into high society, who refuses to enlist and go to war because he doesn't believe in legalised murder, but out of a sense of duty, he finally enlists to find his killer. That's the plot in a nutshell, and really looks at the home-front in Australia at the time, and how divided we were.

I've come up with a few names for my main character, just wanted to run them past you all and see if anyone has a preference for period, setting and character:

Jack Hawthorn, Jack Remington, Harry Starling, Vic Ryder. All have Detective in front of the name. He is in his mid-to-late twenties in 1914, and really need a name that reflects his strong sense of duty and moral code. Any suggestions would be really helpful. Thankyou.
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Dave Freas

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Re: A WW1 Crime Novel
« Reply #1 on: November 18, 2014, 01:05:13 PM »

Welcome to MWF, Jazzman.

My personal choices are Jack Hawthorn (or maybe Hawthorne?) and Harry Starling.

But I was wondering if Australia might have had conscription during the war and your main character got drafted in spite of his beliefs.  Or if he was a policeman, could he be exempt from being drafted into the military?

Also, if he was a detective, would he really need to enlist to pursue the killer?  A civilian on a ship full of soldiers on their way to France might be a scenario full of tension - the soldiers wondering why this fit young guy isn't in uniform.

Just a few thoughts.

Hope this helps.

Dave
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jazzman

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Re: A WW1 Crime Novel
« Reply #2 on: November 19, 2014, 08:32:16 AM »

Thankyou Dave for your reply, it's actually a really good scenario that I didn't consider that could add another layer of angst that the book might need, and also give him another layer of feeling like an outsider. Awesome.

Australia didn't have conscription although the government tried twice to bring it in but both times was rejected in a referendum, even though most of the fighting men believed it was a good idea. But most men that didn't enlist were still ostracised by society and they were seen as cowards and shirking their duty to their nation and the English empire. It was a very divisive time in Australian history but one that has largely been forgotten due to our nationalistic pride in a war that a lot of people believe built the country.

Do you think Jack Hawthorne sounds working class?
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Old Bill

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Re: A WW1 Crime Novel
« Reply #3 on: November 19, 2014, 08:41:36 AM »

Welcome Jazzman.

Interesting plot...Dave had some good ideas too. I like Detective Vic Ryder. We are talking a police detective, right? Would he be taking the investigation overseas personally or officially...maybe he knew the victim?

Good luck!

Old Bill
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Dave Freas

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Re: A WW1 Crime Novel
« Reply #4 on: November 19, 2014, 02:16:31 PM »

If your MC is upper class, maybe he wouldn't go by Jack or Vic.  Maybe he'd insist on John or Victor.  Or maybe he's so used to being called John or Victor, he doesn't respond to Jack or Vic - giving others the feeling he's a bit of a snob who's too good for regular blokes.

Hope this helps.

Dave
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jazzman

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Re: A WW1 Crime Novel
« Reply #5 on: November 20, 2014, 08:24:12 AM »

Thanks everyone for their advice and opinions I'm taking them all on board. But I think I'm going to stick with Jack Hawthorne, the surname sounds good on its own and he is growing into a somewhat prickly character like Hawthorne :) but also my great grandfather was called Robert John but everyone called him Jack, I don't know why maybe it had something to do with his middle name, but he was a soldier on the Western Front, and I think it will be a good homage to him as well, seeing as it was reading his letters as a teenager that got me interested in history  :)

But I was thinking of a Scottish character as his young sidekick, as I can hear his voice and accent in my head, and during that time in Sydney, the majority of the population had either Scottish or Irish lineage. Does anyone have a name that pops into the head straight away?
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Dave Freas

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Re: A WW1 Crime Novel
« Reply #6 on: November 20, 2014, 09:15:56 AM »

Sean McGregor.

I'll check my name files later and see if I can find more.
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Old Bill

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Re: A WW1 Crime Novel
« Reply #7 on: November 21, 2014, 09:26:33 AM »

Or maybe a bonnie lass sidekick...could make things interesting!? Especially given the period of your MS.

Old Bill
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Causa Davion

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Re: A WW1 Crime Novel
« Reply #8 on: February 07, 2016, 01:34:42 PM »

I know this topic is currently dead, but for any future researchers, this is something I found last week while studying London during the turn of the century.

This a free resource with archives from the London Gazette.

https://www.thegazette.co.uk/all-notices
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