Elspeth’s Days Off

At a book talk I was asked what Elspeth enjoyed doing when not travelling for Lord Kennington. Consequently I began thinking about Elspeth’s times away from work.

When not on long assignments, she lives most of the time in Gordon Mews (an imaginary place) near Kensington Gardens in London. She doesn’t like clutter and spends little time fussing about her flat other than keeping it neat. Because she has few close friends, she seldom entertains, other than serving meals prepared by her housekeeper to Pamela Crumm. Most of her socialising is business connected.

She does like clothes but prefers to pick out her own fabrics and have them made by her dressmaker, François, rather than selecting them off the rack. She is not averse, however, to strolling through the fashionable shopping districts of London and other cities that she visits and finding new styles that suit her personal taste. She uses her mobile phone camera to record these and takes the photographs back to François for copying.

Because Elspeth’s work is so intense when she is on assignment, she enjoys a somewhat solitary personal life. She walks around London and enjoys people watching. She often will sit on a bench in good weather and will idle her time away watching those who stroll by her and wonder about their lives. On rainy days, she reads biography, history and an occasional mystery novel, listens to classical music, or looks at old films on DVD or BBC4.

When Richard is in town, they frequently visit art galleries and museums together and in the evening dine at fashionable restaurants and go on to the theatre, opera or ballet.

For longer breaks, she goes to Scotland to see her family and enjoys taking walks with her father and the family dogs. Often she goes to see her cousin, Biddy, at the Tay Farm. Sometimes she visits her grandchildren in East Sussex, but she is not a patient grandmother and never stays long. Besides, she spars with her daughter, who does not understand Elspeth’s choice of lifestyle. When in the San Francisco area, Elspeth spends time at her Marin County retreat and squeezes in a visit with her son when he has time to give her. When she can, she goes to Malta to see Magdelena Cassar and Richard Munro.

After she solves Malcolm’s murder, Elspeth is generally happy with her life, particularly as her relationship with Richard develops and they share time and pleasure together. Most of all, she tries to put the trials and tribulations of her work and Lord Kennington’s demands out of her mind.