The Agitated Elocutionist by author Richard Behrens is now available in e-book format on Amazon.com. This is the first release of five short stories in the Lizzie Borden, Girl Detective series of mini-mysteries including The Forlorn Maggie, The Purloined Curio, The Sculling Boat and The Melancholy Scion. Each story will be available in its own e-book. All five should be up by the end of next week. Coming soon in the summer of 2015 are three brand new stories and a full-length novel, The Minuscule Monk. Check back here for more details, updates, and exclusive new material.
Nine Muses Books announces a new full-length Lizzie Borden, Girl Detective novel to be published entitled The Minuscule Monk. This is the first novel-length Lizzie adventure and will be published as both a print book and an e-book in the summer of 2015.
When a dead body mysteriously appears in the basement of her father’s furniture store, 17 year-old Lizzie Andrew Borden immediately takes on the case. Accompanied by an eccentric millionaire who campaigns to extend the vote to animals; a Boston terrier trained to sniff out crooked politicians; and a boy detective who believes the entire universe to be inside his own head, Lizzie follows a trail of taxidermy tools and Civil War bushwhackers to the Minuscule Monk, a legendary gunslinger whose mummified body will bring a punter’s pot to anyone who can deliver it to the New York gangster who has been hunting the Monk for decades. With such high stakes, everyone has a motive for murder, yet everyone seems innocent. Or perhaps, as Lizzie suspects after attending a dinner party with non-existent food and meeting a horse that has turned into its opposite, none of it is even real.
Lizzie Borden, the Girl Detective of Fall River, is at her most spirited in The Minuscule Monk, a comic mystery that paints a portrait of Fall River at the height of its splendor and its most infamous citizen at the start of her most excellent career.
Check back for publication date and further announcements.
How did you first come up with the concept of Lizzie Borden being a girl detective?
I happened to order a few old Nancy Drew books over EBay. My intention was to read them for fun since my sister had all of them when I was growing up and I had read several when I was in grade school. Reading as an adult, they are so breezy and a lot of fun, but I was surprised how much sinister stuff was in them. The older 1930s Nancy Drew smoked and actually carried a gun. So I decided to sketch out a spoof of the genre, just for fun.
I made up a girl detective living in the 1930s. Her father is a big attorney in town and she has a kooky house maid and sidekick pal from school, etc. But when I wrote a few pages and read it back, it seemed too much like the original, like I couldn’t spoof it because it already had that comic edge to it. The only thing I could do to make it funnier was to place it in another century.
I toyed around with a few time periods. For a while I wanted to do London during the time of Queen Elizabeth, so the girl detective could be the illegitimate daughter of the Earl of Southampton and have access to people like Shakespeare and solve the death of Christopher Marlowe. But I admit I got lazy and felt it would involve too much research.
I had already been reading about Lizzie Borden and visiting the Bed & Breakfast and all that Fall River stuff was fresh in my mind. So I sketched out a girl detective in New England during the 1890s. She can solve the Borden murders, I joked.
Then it hit me like a thunderbolt. Why not make her Lizzie Borden? After writing a few pages I had myself in stiches and I knew I had hit upon something with great entertainment value. The Borden Family turned out to be a better source of satire and drama than an Elizabethan theater company.
Did you have any hope at that point of getting it published?
I felt it had great commercial potential. The title alone made everyone crack up. But it was still a few years before books like Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter and all those Jane Austen monster mash-ups so I wasn’t quite sure. Besides I had to write the stories first and see how they turned out. Fortunately, I had an offer from The Hatchet magazine, the journal of Lizzie Borden studies, to pursue this and had help from a few people who knew a lot about the historical Bordens. Talking to them and visiting Fall River gave me a lot of inspiration. I began publishing the stories in The Hatchet and its sister magazine The Literary Hatchet and felt content with that for a few years. The concept was still taking shape.
What did you have to do to prepare for writing about Lizzie Borden?
I chatted up everyone I knew who had connections with Fall River or the historic house. I visited the Fall River Historical Society, studied as much Fall River history as I could, and read thousands of pages of primary source material including the murder hearings, the trial transcripts and the few books that could be historically trusted. Two of the best references are Lizzie Borden: Past and Present by Len Rebello and Parallel Lives by Michael Martins and Dennis Binette of the Fall River Historical Society. So many books out there are junk, especially the true crime paperbacks. The best book for an introductory experience is actually a graphic novel called The Borden Tragedy by Rick Geary. It’s accurate, extremely well drawn and scripted.
The challenge was that I wasn’t writing about the murders, but about a time period nearly twenty years earlier. I had to really get to know the 1870s as Lizzie and her family would have known it.
You eventually progressed from short stories to novels?
Yes, the first five short stories, two of them novellas really, were published by PearTree Press in 2010 and it brought to the end the first stage of my effort. The second stage, now that I had established the characters, the setting, and had hit upon an appropriate tone, was to enlarge the fictional universe. The Minuscule Monk was a sixth short story that had grown in scope to a full-length novel. I had been reading a lot about the Kansas-Missouri border wars and it seemed as if an extended flashback to another time and place was appropriate. Arthur Conan Doyle wrote two Sherlock Holmes stories that had extended flashbacks to the old West and Pennsylvania mining towns. For half of those novels, Holmes doesn’t’ even show up. I liked the idea of having all that back story.
Why did you start Nine Muses Books?
The scope of the project had grown to the point where I needed to dedicate myself entirely to the Girl Detective. The e-book market has grown exponentially in the past few years and the traditional relationship between writers, readers and publishers has completely changed. Putting out all this material in such a short time period is an experiment, one that I hope will reach new readers and keep them amused. It also encourages me to work harder on new material.
After The Minuscule Monk, what can expect?
There’s more short stories coming. The next novel is called The Wilmarth Immovables and it has a lot to do with Shakespeare, patent medicine, and the origins of vaudeville.
The last question I have is the obvious one. Did Lizzie do it?
Well, that’s a question for the sixth novel! I do plan to cover that.
OK, fair enough. What about the real Lizzie Borden?
I have no idea. The more I studied the crime, the less obvious it seemed. Everyone has to make up their own minds.
The Forlorn Maggie: A Lizzie Borden, Girl Detective Mini-Mystery has just been published by Nine Muses Books as part of their Lizzie-Mini series. This series will make Lizzie Borden, Girl Detective stories available in e-book format, including two stories that did not appear in Lizzie Borden, Girl Detective (PearTree Press, 2010) and two brand new adventures previously unpublished.
The Forlorn Maggie is the second in the series and was published to Smashwords.com on January 18, 2015. More stories will be published over the next few months. Later in the year, Nine Muses will publish a full-length Lizzie novel The Minuscule Monk. Check this site in months to come for more details.
When Fiona Conway, the Forlorn Maggie, seeks revenge against Fleet Footed Fleet, the savage mastermind of the B.M.C. Durfee Mutiny, Lizzie Borden must summon all of her courage and confront her own dark secret. Together with her pinchfisted father Andrew Borden, Lizzie explores Victorian New England’s dark side.
You can buy The Forlorn Maggie for your e-book library at Smashwords.com.
The Agitated Elocutionist: A Lizzie Borden, Girl Detective Mini-Mystery has just been published by Nine Muses Books as part of their Lizzie-Mini series. This series will make Lizzie Borden, Girl Detective stories available in e-book format, including two stories that did not appear in Lizzie Borden, Girl Detective (PearTree Press, 2010) and two brand new adventures previously unpublished.
The Agitated Elocutionist is the first in the series and was published to Smashwords.com on January 2, 2015. More stories will be published over the next few months. Later in the year, Nine Muses will publish a full-length Lizzie novel The Minuscule Monk. Check this site in months to come for more details.
Join Lizzie as she matches wits with the Agitated Elocutionist in this wry tale of mystery set in a Victorian New England mill town. When Mrs. Arbuthnot, the Agitated Elocutionist of Fall River, reports the disappearance of her coveted Star of Swansea, Lizzie Borden the Girl Detective enters into a maze of secrets, lies and tongue twisters. Together with her loyal cousin Sarah Borden, Lizzie explores Fall River’s dark side.
You can download The Agitated Elocutionist for free to your e-book library at Smashwords.com.
Readers of the Lizzie Borden: Girl Detective series and the novel from PearTree Press may be delighted to hear that “The Sculling Boat” is a simple, uncomplicated tale of a very young and innocent Lizzie. Author Richard Behrens calls it a Lizzie-Mini and offers it as a preview for a brand new collection of stories. Keep watching this blog for more announcements on future Lizzie Borden: Girl Detective publications.
Order your copy of The Hatchet here and enjoy “The Sculling Boat”. The issue also offers some exciting newly discovered photographs of Bridget Sullivan, an interview with filmmaker Ric Rebello, a guide to collecting Lizzie Borden books plus more.
FALL RIVER, MASSACHUSETTS, June 2, 2012 — Lizzie Borden: Girl Detective, by author Richard Behrens, has been released as an eBook publication from PearTree Press.
Lizzie Borden: Girl Detective is now on sale through Smashwords.com and will soon be available through the Smashwords Premium Catalog and will be distributed to major eBook retailers such as the Apple iBookstore (32 countries), Barnes & Noble, Sony, Kobo, Diesel, Baker & Taylor, and others.
“The Agitated Elocutionist,” a new Lizzie Borden, Girl Detective mystery, has been published in the latsst issue of The Hatchet: A Journal of Lizzie Borden and Victorian Studies.
“The Agitated Eloutionist” is the first Girl Detective Mystery to be published since PearTree Press presented the collection “Lizzie Borden, Girl Detective,” in April of 2010 and promises to be just as original and amusing. Lizzie Borden, the Girl Detective of Fall River, is joined by her affluent cousin Sarah Borden for a casual afternoon together during which they shop for clothing, eat lunch, interview crime suspects, disrupt the entire Fall River police department, destroy the career of a famed speech therapist, and send a few jewel thieves to jail. Sarah is a bit rattled by it all, but to Lizzie, it’s all in a day’s unpaid work.
The new story has the honor of being published in a special edition of The Hatchet which features an interview with Michael Martins and Dennis Binette, the authors of Parallel Lives: A Social History of Lizzie A. Borden and Her Fall River. This new book, soon to be published, promises to be a landmark in Lizzie Borden Studies, a major original work by the Fall River Historical Society. Many rumors conflict on what it contains, but if just a few of those rumors are true, this book will change the way we look at the historical Lizzie Borden and reveal a history that has been concealed for over a hundred years.
The new issue of The Hatchet also features writings by Michael Brimbau, Stefani Koorey, David Marshall James, Kat Koorey, Denise Noe and others. Order your copy now from http://www.lizzieandrewborden.com/HatchetOnline/.
Ric Rebelo, a Fall River-based documentary filmmaker, has interviewed Richard Behrens for his new film Lizbeth: A Victorian Nightmare. He has generously seen fit to include Richard in the film. The interview was conducted in early August at the Lizzie Borden B&B in Fall River. The documentary will air on New England PBS in late October. Pleasse enjoy this preview.
A very special thanks to all who attended the reading at the Fall River Library on August 3rd, and to all who purchased the book on August 4th at the Lizzie Borden Bed & Breakfast / Museum. I hope you enjoyed the reenactment, and I hope you enjoy reading the book. Here’s a video of the Library reading for those who couldn’t attend, or those who would like to see it again. It includes an introduction by Stefani Koorey, the book’s editor and publisher, an appearance by the Pear Essential Players and Donald Woods, the owner of the Lizzie Borden Bed & Breakfast.
Author Richard Behrens is coming to Fall River to read from Lizzie Borden: Girl Detective and sign copies of the book on the annniversay of the 1892 murders.
Tuesday, August 3rd, 6:30-7:30pm
BOOK READING FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC
Author Richard Behrens will be presenting a reading from his latest book Lizzie Borden: Girl Detective
PLUS: a visit from The Pear Essential Players the reenactment group from the Lizzie Borden B&B
Fall River Public Library
104 North Main Street,
Fall River, MA
Main meeting room, basement
Light refreshments will be served
Wednesday, August 4rd, 10:30am-4:00pm
BOOK READING FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC
Author Richard Behrens will be singing his latest book Lizzie Borden: Girl Detective at the anniversary re-enactions at 92 Second Street, Fall River. Come get your Lizzie book signed at the actual Borden house and meet your favorite historical characters brought to life by the Pear Essential Players.
“Lizzie Borden: Girl Detective, is clever and appealing. Every story brings the reader to the streets and characters of Fall River as if you were there with them and of course Lizzie Borden. Congratulations to Richard Behrens for his Victorian creativity and imagination.”
Len Rebello, Author of Lizzie Borden: Past & Present
“In Lizzie Borden: Girl Detective Richard Behrens skillfully captures the essence of historic Fall River, bringing the city to life through the adventures of the youthful, intrepid sleuth, Lizzie Borden. The fictional Lizzie is an absolutely delightful character; she is fearlessly cunning, charismatic, and thoroughly enchanting! A must read for all those intrigued by Fall River history, mystery and, of course, Lizzie Borden.”
Michael Martins, Curator of the Fall River History Society / Co-Author of Parallel Lives: A Social History of Lizzie A. Borden and Her Fall River
“This is a fun read and you’ll see Lizzie in a whole new light. It is well written and has lots of unique historical details that make it feel very rich and authentic.”
Jill Dalton, writer/performer LIZZIE BORDEN LIVE
“This is Lizzie Borden as you never imagined her; lively, intrepid and clever as a budding detective on the hunt! The stories are a magic carpet ride to another time – old Fall River in all its glory. The settings, the clothing, the language all showcase a young Lizzie Borden against a background of mystery and intrigue with some twists and turns along the way. Move over Nancy Drew, and make room for Miss Lizzie, Girl Detective- so much fun, it’s nearly criminal! “
Shelley Dziedzic, Lizzie Borden: Warps and Wefts
There is a new service on Amazon that looks for reviews to select a book to be sold on their site in other formats:
“AmazonEncore is a new program whereby Amazon will use information such as customer reviews on Amazon.com to identify exceptional, overlooked books and authors with more potential than their sales may indicate. Amazon will then partner with the authors to re-introduce their books to readers through marketing support and distribution into multiple channels and formats, such as the Amazon.com Books Store, Amazon Kindle Store, Audible.com, and national and independent bookstores via third-party wholesalers. Browse our books below, and check out AmazonEncore titles available on Kindle.”
If you read the book and loved it, please visit Amazon.com and offer up your opinions. It might help Richard get chosen for this honor!
Richard Behrens read from his novel “Lizzie Borden: Girl Detective” at the Fall River Historical Society on June 5, 2010. Richard is of the opinion that if you lock yourself into a basement bunker with no windows and no lights, whatever you do there will eventually wind up on YouTube. So enjoy these excerpts from the book as performed before an audience of Fall River residents, Lizzie fans and the curators of the Fall River Historical Society. The video comes to us courtesy of Mondo Lizzie Borden.
The Fall River Historical Society is hosting a reading and book signing by author Richard Behrens on June 5, 2010 from noon to 2:30 p.m. The reading will be at 1 p.m. Light refreshments will be served.
The Fall River Historical Society is an important resource for anyone interested in Lizzie Borden, Fall River History, or Victorian American houses, since they are located in a granite mansion built in 1843 on Rock Street on the Hill in Fall River. They also host a Lizzie Borden exhibit which includes the infamous handle-less hatchet that may have been murder weapon and other Lizzie related artifacts. The FRHS is also scheduled to publish Parallel Lives, a major non-fiction study of Lizzie Borden and Fall River, sometime in the next few months. This upcoming book is of particular interest to us because it promises to reveal new material about Lizzie Borden’s life, including the years covered by the Girl Detective stories. You can visit the Historical Society at www.lizzieborden.org for more information.
The Fall River Herald has just graciously published a wonderful article by Deb Allard about Lizzie Borden: Girl Detective on June 3. Thanks Deb!
A recent meeting of the Mutton Eaters, the Fall River Chapter of the Second Street Irregulars, focused on the life of Dr. Seabury W. Bowen of Fall River. The good doctor was a crucial player in the events of August 4, 1892. No account of the murders and its aftermath can trivialize his role. A fictional Dr. Bowen makes a prominent appearance in the short story “The Melancholy Scion,” the fifth installment of Lizzie Borden: Girl Detective. What is particularly relevant about the Mutton Eaters’ workshop on Dr. Bowen was the presentation by Lorraine Gregoire of a photograph of the young Dr. Bowen. In this photograph, he seems as young as he would appear in the short story which takes place in 1877. You can see the photograph and read much information about Dr. Bowen’s life at Shelley Dziedzic’s blog Lizzie Borden: Warps & Wefts.
Fall River is named after the Quequechan (pronounced by Fall Riverites Quick-a-shan) which is the word in the Wampanoag tongue for Falling River. While the city has not been called Fall River continuously since the land’s purchase from the Wampanoag (it has also been dubbed, at various times, Freetown and Troy), the river itself, which originates at two large inland ponds and then courses westward into Mount Hope Bay, has been the single most significant natural resource in the city’s history. The Quequechan provided water power to the mills before the days of steam engines and helped put the city into history as a significant center of American textile production. Other textile centers like Lowell, MA and Manchester, NH were financed by Boston conglomerates, but the mills of Fall River were all developed by local families like the Bordens who, in the early days of the 19th century, owned a lot of land around the Quequechan.
The river, one of great beauty and power, has sadly became covered up by the mills, some of which literally straddled the width of the waters. Even today, the river runs underneath a highway. Like the Wampanoag themselves, it is a ghost of the city’s past and an echo of its conscience. We have no evidence that Lizzie Borden thought much about it, although she must have known of its existence.
The opening chapter of “The Forlorn Maggie” entitled “Hidden Waters” describes the river as being like a wandering ghost under the industrial streets. The people enjoying themselves in the sunlight of Main Street, shopping and gossiping, are not thinking about the mills or the hidden waterway that courses under their feet. All that energy, all that wealth, moving silent, deep, and unobserved.
This video shows several images of the river from various stages of Fall River history.
Lizzie Borden: Girl Detective by Richard Behrens was published by Pear Tree Press on April 16th, 2010.
Authored by Richard Behrens
Designed by Stefani Koorey
Illustrated by Marc Reed
Associate editor Kat Koorey
Consultant editor Shelley Dziedzic
Introducing Miss Lizzie Borden of Fall River, Massachusetts, a most excellent girl detective and the most remarkable young woman ever to take on the criminal underworld in late 19th century New England.
Many years before her infamous arrest and trial for the murders of her father and stepmother, Lizzie Borden pursued a career as a private consulting detective and wrestled masterfully with a crooked spiritualist, a corrupt and murderous textile tycoon, a secret society of anarchist assassins, rowdy and deadly sporting boys, a crazed and vengeful mutineer, an industrial saboteur, and a dangerously unhinged math professor—none of whom are ever exactly what they seem to be.
In these five early tales of mystery and adventure, Lizzie Borden is joined by her stubborn and stingy father Andrew; her jealous and weak-chinned sister Emma; her trusted companion Homer Thesinger the Boy Inventor; and the melancholy French scion Andre De Camp. Together, they explore Fall River’s dark side through a landscape that is industrial, Victorian, and distinctly American.
You have met Lizzie Borden before! But never like this!
Includes the following stories:
- The Forlorn Maggie
- The Purloined Curio
- The Exhausted Amanuensis
- The Traumatized Metallurgist
- The Melancholy Scion
About the author
Richard Behrens is a contributor to The Hatchet: A Journal of Lizzie Borden and Victorian Studies and a founding editor of The Trenton Review. His writings on literature and science fiction have been published in The Journal of Advancing Technology and on TheModernWord.com. A native New Yorker, now living in New England, Richard is working on several more Lizzie Borden, Girl Detective mysteries.
- Publication Date:Apr 16 2010
- ISBN/EAN13: 0981904319 / 9780981904313
- Page Count: 208
- Binding Type: US Trade Paper
- Trim Size: 6″ x 9″
- Language: English
- Color: Black and White
- Related Categories: Fiction / Short Stories