Title: A Perfect Secret
Author: Donna Hatch
Release date: November, 2013
Genre: Historical Romance
Tour: Irresistible Reads Book Tours
Desperate to protect her father from trial and death, Genevieve breaks off her engagement with Christian Amesbury and marries a blackmailer. After a year of marriage, she flees her husband’s violent domination only to have fate bring her back to Christian. Just when she thinks she’s started a new life of safety and solitude, her husband tracks her down, stalks her, and threatens everyone she loves.
Still brokenhearted over Genevieve’s betrayal a year ago, Christian can’t believe she’s come back into his life–and worse, that she’s done it on the anniversary of his brother’s death, a death that haunts him. Though tempted to throw her back into the river where he found her, he can’t leave her at the mercy of the terrifying man she married.
When her husband torments Genevieve and puts his family in danger, Christian will do anything to protect those he loves…anything except give Genevieve another chance to break his heart.
Guest Post by Donna Hatch
Bow Street Runners
Next to Robin Hood’s Merry Men, few other groups inspire images of mystery and intrigue quite as well as Bow Street Runners. They were a unique and unprecedented fighting force that paved the way for the modern police. They are also no longer in existence, and very little is actually known about them. Hence the mystery. And the tragedy. As an author of Regency romance novels, I made a study of these elusive and fascinating law enforcers.
Before their formation, there was no organized police. The few constables in London were untrained and failed to do much to protect the innocent or bring justice to the guilty. There was a night watch peopled by the men in a particular district on a rotating basis, but most working class men wouldn’t or couldn’t be up all night keeping watch. Besides, it was dangerous—so many ruffians and thugs out at night, you know. So they hired out others to take their turn, often elderly men who needed the money because they could no longer work. These night watchmen typically huddled in groups around the nearest light and hoped no one would harass them. Needless to say, they were too feeble to affect much of a threat to a criminal.
Therefore, the average citizen performed the majority of the arrests. The citizen who’d been wronged had to gather all his own evidence, perform the arrest, drag the person before the magistrate (judge) and convince the magistrate this was their man. That citizen was basically the investigator, policeman, and lawyer all in one. A daunting task, to be sure. Although since the accused were considered guilty unless proven innocent, receiving a guilty verdict was usually a no-brainer.
Into this ineffective chaos step the Fielding brothers. Henry Fielding was a magistrate who operated his office on Bow Street. In 1750, he organized an elite fighting force of highly trained and disciplined young men known as the Bow Street Runners. Nick-named the “Robin Redbreasts” for their distinctive red waistcoats, they knew how to conduct investigations including a rudimentary forensics, and question witnesses and victims. They even carried handcuffs. How early they began carrying them and wearing the red waistcoats is anyone’s guess but there are Bow Street Runners with handcuffs and red waistcoats in a book by Robert Louis Stevenson.
In the early years, there were only six Bow Street Runners in London and for some reason, that number was kept constant. But later, those figures grew and there was even a mounted patrol who protected the highways from the dreaded and dangerous highwaymen. The patrol changed safety, and therefore nature, of travel.
While the office of a magistrate belonged exclusively to gentlemen of the nobility or gentry, the Bow Street Runners were working class men. They were smart, skilled and cunning, and hand-picked by the Fielding brothers. Though they typically remained in the London area, there are accounts of them tracking fugitives as far as the Scottish border. They drew a modest salary from Bow Street, so most of their pay came in the form of a bounty or reward, usually paid by the victim or a group who had a vested interest in solving the crime. Runners could also be hired out to conduct special investigations, or act as body guards. I have found no evidence of any foul play or briberies taken, suggesting that they were men of honor and that they had a strong loyalty to their magistrate.
Other magistrates followed the Fielding’s example by having a specific group of investigators, but none achieved the acclaim that the Runners did.
In 1830, when Scotland Yard was organized, the Bow Street Runners became obsolete. Much of Scotland Yard’s procedures were adopted from those created by the Runners, and I can only assume that many Runners became investigators for Scotland Yard. Progress is usually a good thing, but I feel a sense of loss whenever such a unique organization is swept away to make room for something better.
Why my fascination of Bow Street Runners? It started of necessity because Runners have a role in each of the books in my Rogue Hearts Series and I needed to research them. Each hero in the books The Stranger She Married, The Guise of a Gentleman, and A Perfect Secret end up calling on his brother Grant who works closely with the Bow Street Runners to help him overcome the obstacle standing between him and his happily ever after. But it turned into a genuine interest. I think someday I’ll write a book about a Runner getting his own true love.
About the Author ~ Donna Hatch
I’ve had a passion for writing since the age of 8 when I wrote her first short story. During my sophomore year in high school, I wrote her first full-length novel, a science fiction romance. I wrote my second novel during my senior year, a fantasy romance. Needless to say, English and Creative Writing were always my favorite subjects. Yes, I’m a total grammar geek! In between caring for six children, (7 counting my husband) I manage to carve out time to indulge in my writing obsession, with varying degrees of success, although I write most often late at night instead of sleeping. And yes, all of my heroes are patterned after my husband of 21 years, who continues to prove that there really is a happily ever after.
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