#MyrtleMondays: The Myrtle Hardcastle Mysteries are heading to China!

Dear friends, I am delighted to share the news that the Myrtle Hardcastle Mysteries are going to be translated into Chinese and published in China. I’m excited to welcome Zhejiang Literature & Art Publishing House into Myrtle’s growing international family!

In Myrtle’s day, most Westerners considered China an exotic and mysterious land, despite the fact that they had been a major global player for centuries, supplying trade goods and luxury items to Europe and North America and the rest of the world—just like today! China was home to silk, tea, ceramics, jade, and other goods treasured by the Western market. In 1841, the island of Hong Kong (and later part of the mainland) became a British colony, a situation that would remain for another century and a half. (Read more about this complex history at the Library of Congress.)

1865 English map of China

Many Victorians’ view of China was filtered through Western eyes—European and American artists, photographers, and travelers who sent back imagery recorded on their journeys. In honor of Myrtle’s new adventure, let’s enjoy a collection of images of 19th and early 20th century China!

Joseph Nash’s painting of the Chinese section at London’s Great Exhibition in 1851 shows Londoners admiring the goods on display, including porcelain, furniture, and hanging lanterns. The seated gentleman in the black cap is a Chinese guide to the exhibit, there to answer visitors’ questions. The exhibition was open to the public, allowing people from all walks of life to see foreign goods usually only available to the wealthy.

For armchair travelers, stereograph views offered glimpses of faraway lands. (Read more: Victorian Stereoscopes)

Canton Houseboat, 1902

The Qing’an Guild Hall in Ningbo. This ancient structure underwent restoration in the 19th century, but was destroyed in the Communist Revolution of 1949. It has since been reconstructed and now houses a cultural museum.

Schoolgirls in Yantai (formerly Chefoo)—not too different from their English counterparts. (Note their trousers, a common style for girls of the era.)


Beijing, 1890s: High-fashion members of the royal court pose with the wives of Western diplomats

Fashionistas the world over have always enjoyed admiring the latest trends at home and abroad. These Chinese portraits showcase the popular finery of the day.

Bridal Couple, 1870s

Austrian photographer Raimund von Stillfried captured this portrait of a woman from Shanghai. He published collections of full-color images from his travels in the Far East during the 1870s

This portrait was taken by prominent Hong Kong photographer Lai Afong in the 1880s, as was the following one of a Western man sporting the local fashions

As Britain’s Queen Victoria was for her subjects, China’s Empress Dowager of the Qing Dynasty was a subject of rapt public fascination, and portraits of her and her exquisite lifestyle abounded.

Empress Cixi, surrounded by the finest of everything

I am excited to have my very own export to share with Chinese readers, and I know Myrtle would be proud of the global connection, too. Stay tuned for more updates about the Zhejiang editions!


3 Responses to “#MyrtleMondays: The Myrtle Hardcastle Mysteries are heading to China!”

  1. J. Hyde

    Exciting news, congratulations! Love the historical photos.