Tag: John Singer Sargent | Violet Paget mysteries

Blog Book Tour | “The Spoils of Avalon” by Mary F. Burns a #cosy historical mystery which enraptures your head within a cleverly crafted suspense full-on of action & dialogue of centuries past!

Posted Monday, 17 November, 2014 by jorielov , , , , 2 Comments

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The Spoils of Avalon by Mary F. Burns

{ Book 1: A John Singer Sargent | Violet Paget Mystery }

Published By: Sand Hill Review Press (@SandHillRP)

Available Formats: Trade Paperback, & Ebook

Converse via: #TheSpoilsOfAvalon, #JohnSingerSargent & #SpoilsOfAvalonBlogTour

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Acquired Book By: I was selected to be a tour stop on the “The Spoils of Avalon” virtual book tour through Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours. I received a complimentary ARC copy of the book direct from the publisher Sand Hill Review Press, in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

A most auspiciously clever beginning:

I was most delightfully blissful to see where the reference to Holmes and Watson might have sparked a nodding glance by Ms. Spann, but before I could even dig deeper into the context of the novel itself, I was first greeted by such a curious note out of the pen of Ms. Paget herself — who auspiciously cast the most alluring footbridge into her introductory mystery! I always fancy writers who find a way to insert their lead character into the early bits of a novel’s opening sequence, wherein one of my favourite choices is the note ‘left for future readers’ and writ especially for the curious as to why this particular tale might be told and the merits behind it’s reading; alas, the reason I appreciate this most?! It allows a bit of an anchor between the writer, the chosen narrator of the story, and the reader who wants to take up the journey and see where everything of which is yet to unfold shall lead them to travel; as if vagabond to the action themselves!

The poem by William Blake highlighting a moment out of the life of Jesus was a special touch, as I had not had the pleasure of reading this poem previously and it knits together the setting of placing the story around Avalon most directly. I also appreciated the biographies of the two lead detectives: Sargent & Paget, as what originally appealed to me to read this particular cosy historical mystery is the fact the two lead characters are rooted within the historical past! Two individuals I am earnestly curious about learning more about and yet, never once in my pursuits of the fine arts did I see Sargent’s name mentioned; such a pity as I am drawn to watercolour painting techniques, as it works around my allergies to the more stringent oils.

A new foray of choice within the coattails of cosies are the ‘historicals’ which draw out such a breath of interest inside me heart that I am not even sure I will be able to read and appreciate all the lovelies I am seeking to read next! There is such a hearty breadth of choice these days for the historical reader who likes dig their chops into the art and skill behind sleuthing and murder mysteries! It has become a most delightful part of my blogging life to unearth such lovelies on blog tours therein having the honour of drawing a happy glow around the Indie Writers and the Indie Pubs who are producing such a wicked quality to the craft! It is my long-term goal to re-visit the authors I have previously reviewed, to see if their second or next novel in sequence have become released and thereby, potentially able to become acquired! I appreciate each cosy historical writer I am discovering for being uniquely different from each other and for capturing my passionate love of time travelling through the historical past!

Blog Book Tour | “The Spoils of Avalon” by Mary F. Burns a #cosy historical mystery which enraptures your head within a cleverly crafted suspense full-on of action & dialogue of centuries past!The Spoils of Avalon
by Mary F. Burns
Source: Publisher via Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours

The death of a humble clergyman in 1877 leads amateur sleuths Violet Paget and John Singer Sargent into a medieval world of saints and kings—including the legendary Arthur—as they follow a trail of relics and antiquities lost since the destruction of Glastonbury Abbey in 1539. Written in alternating chapters between the two time periods, The Spoils of Avalon creates a sparkling, magical mystery that bridges the gap between two worlds that could hardly be more different—the industrialized, Darwinian, materialistic Victorian Age and the agricultural, faith-infused life of a medieval abbey on the brink of violent change at the hands of Henry VIII and Thomas Cromwell.

First in a new series of historical mysteries, The Spoils of Avalon introduces two unlikely detectives and life-long friends—beginning as young people on the verge of making their names famous for the next several decades throughout Europe and America: the brilliant and brittle Violet Paget, known as the writer Vernon Lee, and the talented, genial portrait painter John Singer Sargent.

Friends from the age of ten, Paget and Sargent frequently met in the popular European watering places and capitals, frequenting the same salons and drawing rooms in London, Rome, Paris, Florence, Venice, Vienna and Madrid. Both were possessed of keen minds and bohemian tendencies, unorthodox educations and outsized egos (especially Paget). Their instant, natural bonding led them to address each other as “Twin”, and they corresponded frequently when they were apart.

Henry James once described Violet Paget as having “the most formidable mind” of their times, and he was an active fan and patron of John Sargent, introducing him to London society and his own inner circles of literary and artistic genius.

Places to find the book:

Also by this author: Mary F. Burns (Spoils of Avalon Interview)

Series: John Singer Sargent | Violet Paget mysteries,


Genres: Cosy Historical Mystery


Published by Sand Hill Review Press

on 1st November, 2014

Pages: 300

About Mary F. Burns

Mary F. Burns

Mary F. Burns is the author of PORTRAITS OF AN ARTIST (Sand Hill Review Press, February 2013), a member of and book reviewer for the Historical Novel Society and a former member of the HNS Conference board of directors. A novella-length book, ISAAC AND ISHMAEL, is also being published by Sand Hill Review Press in 2014. Ms. Burns’ debut historical novel J-THE WOMAN WHO WROTE THE BIBLE was published in July 2010 by O-Books (John Hunt Publishers, UK). She has also written two cozy-village mysteries in a series titled The West Portal Mysteries (The Lucky Dog Lottery and The Tarot Card Murders).

Ms. Burns was born in Chicago, Illinois and attended Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, where she earned both Bachelors and Masters degrees in English, along with a high school teaching certificate. She relocated to San Francisco in 1976 where she now lives with her husband Stuart in the West Portal neighborhood. Ms. Burns has a law degree from Golden Gate University, has been president of her neighborhood association and is active in citywide issues. During most of her working career she was employed as a director of employee communications, public relations and issues management at various San Francisco Bay Area corporations, was an editor and manager of the Books on Tape department for Ignatius Press, and has managed her own communications/PR consulting business, producing written communications, websites and video productions for numerous corporate and non-profit clients.

A timeslip between the 19th & 16th Centuries: 

Each new journal entry gives you a further perspective of the events unfolding per each timescape we are entering; therefore where one chapter relates to us where Sargent & Paget are finding themselves a bit bemused by unexpected developments at the start of their journey towards understanding a riddle within the note which carried them to Uncle Chaffee’s village, we are also returning back to the Abbey in due course. It is a good pace to set the timeslip, because just before you gain too much information in one particular time dimension, you’re embarking backwards or forwards as the case might be to the other one! The unknown suspense needling out around the edges of both interludes is pleasantly suspended as if a spider is still knitting their web. Read More

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

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Posted Monday, 17 November, 2014 by jorielov in 16th Century, 19th Century, ARC | Galley Copy, Art, Arthurian Legend, Biographical Fiction & Non-Fiction, Blog Tour Host & Reviewer, Book Trailer, Bookish Films, Britian, British Literature, Clever Turns of Phrase, Cosy Historical Mystery, Cosy Mystery, Crime Fiction, Death, Sorrow, and Loss, Debut Author, Debut Novel, Epistolary Novel | Non-Fiction, Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, Indie Author, John Singer Sargent, Story in Diary-Style Format, the Victorian era, Violet Paget, Wordsmiths & Palettes of Sage, Writing Style & Voice