#MyrtleMondays: Myrtle (and more) on Audio!

Great news for audiobook fans (which is pretty much everyone, right?!): The Myrtle Hardcastle Mysteries books are coming out in audiobook editions. Premeditated Myrtle and How to Get Away with Myrtle will arrive October 6, just in time for commuting to resume, perhaps!

Recorded Books has picked up Myrtle 1-4, and cast Welsh actor Bethan Rose Young to read them. You may be familiar with Young’s work from her recent appearance in Knightfall, as the voice of Eva in the English-language version of Netflix’s High Seas, her various voice and theater work, or her YouTube videos, where she’s been singing for years. Check out some of her voice reel–I think you’ll agree, she’ll be the perfect Myrtle!

Myrtle and Luke Skywalker? (Mark Hamill and Bethan Rose Young, Knightfall 2019)

…And Luke Skywalker and me! (With C.J.) Mark Hamill and the Cosplaying Bunces, San Diego Comicon 2011


Now’s a great time to mention that A Curse Dark as Gold is also available in a fabulously spooky and atmospheric audio version.  Click here to hear a sample.

Charlotte Parry reading Charlotte Miller. It was fated. (I actually chose her from a selection of potential narrators!)

What’s your favorite audiobook? I grew up listening to Doug Brown of Iowa Public Radio read classic literature like The Count of Monte Cristo and A Christmas Carol. A great reader adds a magical dimension to a wonderful book, and I can’t wait to hear Bethan Rose Young bring Myrtle to life in a new way!


#MyrtleMondays: Three Cheers–And a Star!–for Myrtle

When I started #MyrtleMondays, it was because I was sitting on a HEAP of good news that I couldn’t wait to share. It’s finally time: Premeditated Myrtle has received several enthusiastic institutional reviews–including a STAR from Booklist! Huzzah!


There is something afoot at Redgraves, the house neighboring Myrtle Hardcastle’s own, which is why the precocious 12-year-old took it upon herself to phone the police. Myrtle is quite sure that something dastardly has occurred, but she is thrilled when the crime appears to be murder—not that anyone else is calling it that, yet. After the body of cranky old Miss Wodehouse is removed from its last earthly bubble bath, the cause of death is pronounced to be heart failure; or, if you’re Myrtle, heart failure due to poisoning. Myrtle’s above-average intellect, passions for justice and science (an endearing blend of her parents’ professions), fondness for detective stories, and predilection for asking questions make her the perfect person to investigate what is obviously a crime most foul. Written very much in the style of Alan Bradley’s Flavia de Luce mysteries, Myrtle’s spirited investigation—aided by her governess, who champions the Socratic method of learning—is a joyful thing to behold. Well-crafted red herrings throw Myrtle and readers alike for a loop or two, and an old story about a rare and precious flower grows some very real roots as details about Miss Wodehouse emerge. Set in Victorian England, this mystery gleefully overturns sexist norms and celebrates independent women of intellect, with Myrtle Hardcastle leading the charge.

Right now, Booklist is making their digital editions available online free to everyone! The May 1 issue, “Spotlight on Crime Fiction” features mysteries and true crime for all ages—so be sure to check out everything you’ll be wanting to read while waiting for the big #DoubleMyrtle release of Premeditated Myrtle and How to Get Away with Myrtle on October 6. (I certainly saw several things I’m itching for!)

Please have a look at the main Premeditated Myrtle page, where you can read the full reviews from Booklist, Kirkus, Horn Book, and The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books.

Happy reading!

ps: I have even MORE good news: I have turned in Book 3 to my publisher, and I’m amassing a stack of research materials for Book 4!

#MyrtleMondays: Make your own Victorian Stereoscope


Today’s post is a Making Monday, all about a classic Victorian stay-at-home amusement. My Myrtle Hardcastle Mysteries series is about a 12-year-old English girl in 1893, and along the way, I’ll be sharing things that would be familiar to kids of her era.

Throughout the 19th century, people everywhere were enchanted by three-dimensional imagery from around the world. Many middle-class homes sported a stereoscope, a device for viewing three-dimensional photographs (the direct ancestor of the 20th and 21st centuries’ ViewMaster). First invented in the 1850s, the stereoscope and accompanying stereographic images, known as “views,” would enjoy enormous popularity for nearly the next century.

Seaside stereograph view of Southsea, England, 1893 Right-click to view and print at full size.

Thanks to this vast enthusiasm, period stereographs and viewers are still readily available–and reasonably affordable–on the antique market. Pictured below is my own viewer, a 1901 Underwood, and at the bottom of this post are several views from my collection that may be of particular interest to Myrtle fans. (I know of no period crime scene stereographs, although their existence would hardly surprise me!)


In addition to travel photos, images depicting stories were popular—sometimes you can find multiple views from a set. For example, this exquisite image comes from an 1875 French stage production of Jules Verne’s From the Earth to the Moon:

You can see  (and print!) the whole series here at borg.

If you don’t happen to have on hand your own Victorian stereographs or viewer, 21st century technology makes it possible for the crafty Maker to easily recreate them at home.

The Smithsonian Institution National Museum of American History offers a tutorial to build your own viewer from materials you probably have at home, like cardstock, hot glue, and old reading glasses.

Original Stereoscope (left) and DIY replica (right) © Smithsonian; photo by Mary Kate Robbett

The exact dimensions of your stereograph views will depend somewhat on the technical specifications of your viewer, but 19th century stereograph cards were typically a standardized size of 3.5×7″ (some in my collection vary slightly). Of course, a stereoscope viewer isn’t strictly necessary; the London Stereographic Company gives tips on “free viewing” without a device.

Once you have a viewer, you’ll need something to look at!

This terrific video from Make Magazine explains stereopsis, the science behind stereoscopy, and how to take your own stereoscopic photographs:

Astrophysicist and musician Brian May (of Queen fame) has been a lifelong stereography fan, and operates the London Stereoscopic Company, an online clearinghouse of all things stereoscopic—antique, vintage, and modern.

The Library of Congress also maintains an enormous collection of wonderful images (some 5000!) and information on stereography.

And here are some views from my own collection that I’ve selected for you. Right click to view and print at full size. Don’t forget, you can always make your own from your own drawings and photographs, too.

There you go–be like the Victorians, and travel the world without ever leaving your living room!

Happy making!