The Gilded Shroud

Readthrough Notes

EXPLANATORY NOTES – SPOILERS ALERT if you haven’t yet read the book.

In case it interests you to see how a writer works, these are the notes I made when I read through the first draft of The Gilded Shroud.

I didn’t have tracking then, so I couldn’t make notes in the text, so I created this second document and made notes as I went along. You will also see the editing completed DONE for each item. The NEW inserts were made during a later draft while I was polishing the text. There are also inserts of alternative words and bits and pieces of research data.

The first book about timing you can find as a separate item talking about Time of Death.

As you can see, there were numerous small queries I had as I read that needed checking and sorting out. Some were a quick fix. Others needed me to go through the whole thing checking for one particular character’s actions or words. This is a process that I go through with every book.

GO OVER TIMING AS BOOK STANDS FIRST – days occurring – then time of death

NEW – Dow – says “ain’t”  OK

NEW – what time do they eat dinner at this period?  pg 68 (2 – repast, but must be later – important at end when information laid and Harbisher in)

LOOKS LIKE ABOUT 6pm (Acworth book)

NEW – Ott must ask Cattawade about Abel’s night out.  He will confirm evening off and that he does stay out sometimes, which will cast doubt on his guilt.  DONE

NEW – check “which placed the absent Marquis of Polbrook on the premises at the time” because I’m not sure the time of his departure has been looked at yet,  OK

faggots? DONE

shutters closed at night? DONE

fan and what it looks like at the end unfurled DONE

Randal – heavy drinking, heavy sleeper OK

rouse Stibbbs, and head groom DONE

prepared to issue a series of further rapid orders DONE

Mary’s speech in beginning – match to later DONE

shock and horror – different way to say throughout  DONE

blow, jolt, jar, brunt, start, turn, calamity, reverse, stupor, trance

alarm, dismay, terror, dread, nightmare, affliction, curse, woe, oppression, ordeal,

perturb, grieve, anguish, bruise, wound, harrowing, lacerating, agonize, plagued, bedevilled, wrung, racked, woebegone, stricken, desolate, wretched, woeful,

shudder at, flesh creep, crawl at, shrink from, recoil,

appalling, dire, ghastly, grisly, gruesome, petrify, paralyse, stun, stupefy, strike dumb,

repulsive, repellant, repugnant, offensive, loathsome, grisly, foul

for the love of heaven – francis DONE

style of conversation promising – is it borne out? CHANGE – DONE

state of roads after rain – delayed Randal – hope to catch him quicker? OK

dowager – when use capital letter? RULES CHECK

kinship with Miss Mellis DONE

Francis appearance, lighter hair DONE (lighter later)

good grief – check date 1900

confound it, fiddlededee, fiddlesticks, botheration, perdition, by god, the deuce, drat, gracious, lud, thunder and turf, blood and thunder, good god, the devil, fiend seize it,

dear me, sir – Ott

my dear sir – ott

as I live and breathe, how now, la,

do you not think?  check Ott all time OK

pg 32 – candia mention etc spoils end of scene – rejig DONE

George – dear boy – check original OK

those she missed out would be eager to be included – show kitchen maid and boot boy, hovering when talking to Thriplow or Abel?  Brief words had – Jane said kitchen maid had hysterics or was that Sukey?  – or after Sukey conflab, both venture up? Could Boot boy have noticed Abel somewhere compromising? In which case, save him for later?  DONE

drainpipe – dates?  OK

cesspit below indoor privy, emptied by night men

cesspit below seat on outside privy, ditto (sometimes made artistic)

“necessary house”

WATER – supplied by underground wooden pipes, then small lead pipes to houses;  to tanks 2/3 hours 3 days a  week to a main tap in the house – from Thames

smelling salts – return to Ott – gave to Francis  DONE

Time of death – pg 41 – check that everything on this dovetails DONE

say that the time places randal in the house at the time  pg 43 DONE

at end – refer back to the evidence of fighting, fingernails etc, which would have happened during the rape as well as murder DONE 

dowager – paramour might be given a key pg 50 – square back with key actually being located – and Ott should be interested in key found in drawer  – IP DONE

pg 51 – places I may not go, people I may not question – only one is the club – what else could he do?  question valet Diplock, visit Quaife after Harbisher intros problem? Change  (there MAY BE places I cannot go, people you can better question) DONE

Abel wakes Turville not Stibbs pg 54 DONE

who drove the carriage to France? if turville drove it round to house? pg 54

stibbs took the reins. OK

carriage and horses brought back from Portsmouth – say when done DONE

pg 60 – which ball attended and Randal also went there DONE

I knew she’d ring pg 60 – but she would not have – change DONE

pacing back and forth in chamber – Emily – but Bowerchalke is in there – some evidence for this? whispering? Mary thinks she might be praying, but very unlike Emily? Hears movement and high-pitched laughter – must have been her but not in her style? Must have been talking to the master.  DONE

change the conversation between Emily and Randal to give more towards the introduction of the French mistress and the proposed separation or divorce DONE

door key mentioned again pg 65 OK

pg 69 – change jardine’s appearance – don’t like the allusions DONE

pg 74 – Ott thinking of something else – first time puts Abel into picture – check through as read when else – may need pushing  DONE

pg 78 – george arranging retrieval horse and carriage from portsmouth – he should give news when  back OK

sofas flank the fire – pg 79 – but this is not the case later – chairs flank the fire, sofa probably further up and opposite DONE

pg 80 – fairly pointless little scene – what is it for besides getting them into the house and arranging for emily’s stuff to be handled – could seeing portrait go in here? DONE

pg 87 – passage, seed of confusion – refer back before end when explained DONE

pg 91 – abel, Diplock, kitchen maid and boot boy outside the room Could kitchen maid and boot boy try for their interview? Diplock wouldn’t, and Ott can ask Francis to question him.  Who is kitchen maid anyway?DONE

pg 103 – copper on fire, range etc – check all this – what exactly does happen – fire for food cooking, fire for water. DONE

pg 103 – breakfast parlour – she knows where it is, they had luncheon there yesterday DONE

pg 106 – letter came yesterday? when did Francis set off ?  Harriet set off immediately, arrives first thing in morning?  Has she been at her town house or what? DONE

she went directly to brook street – but this morning?  could not have got here unless travelled overnight… DONE

This scene opportunity for Ott to look covertly at Abel – no sign from him, but she’s checking his face and did she see him last night?  Check him against Cattawade for resemblance. DONE

pg 116 – drawer above cupboard with chamber pot – does it have one?  Where else put the things? DONE

night table, (pot cupboard) with a drawer.

night commodes (box on legs with pot beneath the lid)

bedroom does not have any furniture other than bed, night table and washstand – perhaps bedroom chair

FIND – something to replace daybed by way of chair or small sofa? DONE

immediate interest in key DONE

pg 117 presses etc for clothes – what should be in there the dressing room DONE

kitchen – wide homely fireplace openings – pots, frying pans and kettles swung from chains over the open fire and meat was roasted before it on spits.  Oven built into the wall beside the fireplace, where it had to be heated separately.

pg 118 – where are the stockings?  could he have nicked them? or Bowerchalke?  In Bowerchalke’s pockets?  Keepsake as he took them off and stuffed into his pocket?  proof he was there that night.  Could Quaife be involved in this?  Confronts the boy while F/G there, who hunts for pocket handkerchief to mop his brow and brings out stockings.  Quaife seizes, asks whats this, suggests they are Emily’s – and Bowerchalke bolts.  F/G take stockings – proves B was there  – but G says no saying they are Emily’s, F says Emily’s were missing. Ott agrees it would not convince a jury, and just because he was there does not mean he did the deed – says what ladies told about palsy (which happens in between this scene?).  Abel must overhear this?


going to set Huntshaw find them – she can’t – mention to francis at some point  DONE

pg 120 – ladyship would have left drawer open and everything thrown around the floor DONE

pg 121 – key to jewel case? missing, obviously Abel had it, but when put back jewel box, what happened to it? where is it?  back in the drawer? OK

WHEN SAYS ITS ABEL – need what led you to suspect him, thought so from first and go through clues.  FIRST DAY at LUNCHEON ABOUT THE FAN DISAPPEARING (did not say as found it distasteful and perhaps incredible).  He said nothing re jewel box, for example, when questioned, and by then whole household must have known jewels stolen – you would expect any questioned servant to mention – Mrs Thriplow needs to mention for a start and that her girls all innocent and dare say Cattawade would say same of his lads. AFTER – DONE

pg 123 – when does the mourning clothes come back – should Sybilla be wearing by end of book?  DONE

It’s the same afternoon after discovery of jewels when she questions Thriplow pg 127 – when does Mary let cat out of bag – OK

The blasted portrait – when does Ott look at it – pg 130 – was in library, now in green saloon DONE

If portrait in earlier, take out of scene with Thriplow

pg 135 – pumping Cattawade, but she doesn’t.  does she need to? REMOVED

pg 135 – wondering what footman done to get animosity – but if she suspects him, that’s it, no need for this? DONE

pg 136 – why should he be uncomfortable in thriplow’s room – has she said anything?  threatened him?  in which case, he might kill her – look at this more closely or put in the reason.  later perhaps Thriplow was afraid of this in last interview with Ott 


pg 138 abel deliberately messes up the time, so we should know when things happened after when Ott expounds  DONE

Randal will say what time he came in that night, for example.  could be another reason to suspect abel.  OK

pg 138 – not clock – but watch calling the hour DONE

Abel places Randal still in the house – check for timing of this against Mary’s testimony  DONE

pg 142 – she does question abel re the other night, which is fine, but her suspicions have been lulled by what?  DONE

pg 143 – trip to bath – how long should it take by curricle?  OK

pg 143 – it’s not a coach but a curricle – fix DONE

pg 148 it was Francis who brought up the will – switch to Sybilla? OK

pg 149 – jardine’s man can’t be outfoxed, but runner is with randal – sort this OK

pg 150 – obviously it has a bearing on the case – jardine must know that – he would not say  improbable

pg 152 – drawer would have been left open and stuff strewn about DONE

pg 154 – get this timing sorted completely according to what actually happened DONE

pg 161 – carriage and horses mentioned as coming by easy stage and here in a day or two – check how many days OK

pg 167 – when searching for miniature, Francis says mama anxious – this conversation should have prompted that.  DONE

pg 172 – they’ll think me evil to say so – Ott thinks who they?  well, who?

pg 175 – Venner laughs because she thinks it is Abel – make clear at end DONE

pg 175 – had asked which door, but didn’t get an answer OK

pg 178 – who let cat out of bag?  she means to question Mary but doesn’t.  Should do so, so that it’s Abel who puts words about to cause someone else to be blamed and that’s why he gets rid of the box – mistake, Ott says later, but by then he is getting nervous?  DONE

pg 186 – this is where Fan tells Ott that Dow was exercised by what she said the night before and wants the lover located.  DONE

pg 187 – study – that would be secretary, maybe library? where he works?  DONE

pg 197 george more inclined to regard quaife with suspicion, but not so.  handle He must think so, because later he thinks Q is incriminating B. DONE

pg 197 – must ask Harriet, but do they?  OK

admiration – f for ott, ott for f – find more words  DONE

approbation, esteem, respect, appreciation, approval, estimable, awe, fascination, beguilement, marvel, captivated, enthralled, 

pg 200 – what, if anything, does the entrance of Harbisher do?  Does it forward the plot?  What complications arise?  What is revealed?  If nothing, needs sorting.  DONE

pg 200 – hesitation?  another word DONE

pg 212 – something relevant must come from brother’s entry into the fray.  Maybe when Randal back, he bounces in.  Could he be suspected of laying an information?  Or of murdering Bowerchalke?  He disappears from story and has no significance – unexplained red herring.  DONE

On Emily’s faithlessness, wife mentions Quaife – friend of Hugh’s – he explodes and threatens.  G and F go to Hugh’s house, find wife who confesses he has gone in search of Quaife.  Go to Quaife’s house, draw blank.  Go to Club just as Harbisher attacking Quaife in public.  Pull apart, hustle to private room to have it out.  Quaife admits his liaison, but not murder – confound it, he cared for the woman, etc – Hugh veers back to Randal, and Quaife starts to mention another – G stops him (Hold your tongue, man!) – and because F upbraiding Hugh, he misses it.  Hugh warns againt Randal setting foot in the country again because he will have him and storms off.

G then asks if Q was about to mention Bowerchalke.  Q says he saw the cub leave with Emily’s fan – knows what that means – her carriage will be waiting – followed and saw the boy get into carriage.  As coming out of room, B seen – Q drags him into room and confronts – get stockings.  B bolts.

In discussion, George holds Q could have said all that to throw suspicion off himself, by no means convinced he is not their man – has motive, is capable of it physically unlike Bowerchalke.  But Ott asks does he suppose Q planted the stockings on B?  Definitely B was there by his behaviour, but hardly conclusive – who can prove stockings belong to Emily?

pg 213 ball at Endicott house DONE

pg 216 – randal was at the ball DONE

pg 219 – harriet has been sounded out OK

pg 223 – again, resolves to talk to Mary, but it doesn’t happen – kill two birds with one stone DONE

pg 230 key to jewel box is in the lock OK

pg 230 the necklace should ring bells in Francis at least,, and in ott as she by now should have seen the portrait DONE

pg 234 dowager suggested supplying key in the first place – adjust  DONE

pg 235 – he needs to lock the door to the dressing room or remember that he must do so, won’t have key on him at this point OK

solved pg 236

pg 242 – jardine’s man did beat  runner OK

pg 249 – a moment for Harbisher to come back?  Nice fat row?  or maybe later DONE

Harbisher bursts in on dinner, accusing Randal to his face, trying to bust him in the nose.  Takes F and G to hold him off.  Wife tearful and apologetic to all, but she is the one who notices Violette and calls attention – dowager explains – Hugh stares at woman, then at Randal, says he sees how it is.  There will be a reckoning and leaves – wife scatters apologies, promises will try and make him see reason, and follows.

pg 258 randal works in library on business, so search library DONE

pg 270 someone will suggest Harbisher, but dismissed because why? unless he knows Randal is back – if earlier quarrel could be so.  First person mentioned is Harbisher – dow convinced because he obviously saw the Violette thing and revealed the motive.  Bowerchalke?  Discounted because he must know he is under suspicion.  Then who?  Which leads Ott to realisation as she does not believe Q did it and there is only one person left.  But B’s testimony is vital.  They must hope he has not left town, but rather is hiding out in his lodgings. OBVIOUSLY don’t say all this in the scene!


pg 273 – pall mall for lodgings?

pg 278 this is the thing about jewel box, so no need for it in the earlier talk OK

pg 295 this is a good time for Ott to say she suspected Abel from the start and why – which is why she also blame herself should have noticed him more OK

pg 312 – didn’t know he was there – how did he find out  DONE

end scene – check that joke – is it needed? does it add? OK

who told abel re French woman – Foscot? Stibbs?  OK

Time of Death

EXPLANATORY NOTE – SPOILERS HERE if you have not yet read the book!

Below you will find the working out I had to do while editing The Gilded Shroud. This was to work out the time of Emily’s death. Who was where when and what they did or said all came into it. You can see how I was working it out in my head as I wrote these notes, although I had to check that this was what I had written.

Obviously, once I had worked it all out, I had to edit the correct timing into the text and make sure everyone said the right thing at the right moment!

This is probably one of the trickiest parts of writing mystery.


Abel – Marquis leaving – sent to stables 4 – chaise left 5 (thereabouts) pg 8

pg 42/43 – doctor’s timing

– by time he saw deceased, degree of rigor, time “well beyond” 4 hours before

Tretower arrived past 8.30

Doc arrived 8.51

THUS – death “well beyond” 4.51 – ie much earlier

George says 5 am

Francis says “beyond 4 hours”

George says 4 am

Doc says – impossible to be exact – could be early as 3 or 2.30

George safely say no later than 5am

Doc says no later than 4 or 4.30 “at outside” believes “conservative”

WHICH PLACED RANDAL THERE AT THE TIME (according to Abel so far)

Turville – Marquis leaving – “it were dark still” – must have been 4 or 5   pg 55

Mary – Emily arrive home – after 1 am –

Cattawade – brandy for marquis – around 3 or 4 “but could not be certain” pg 101

Sukey – in chamber – finished 6  (Mary came in 1 hour later)

pg 153/  – Abel’s testimony

“voice” – before Foscot came for him

“up already” (Ottilia) at 4 in morning?

“stood in for porter” – let master and mistress in

heard watch call 2pm before master in

can’t say if before 3 – went straight off to bed

couldn’t sleep (had to be up again at 6)

went for water – heard gargling

just dropping off when Foscot woke him

[pg 157 – says had eye on bedchamber door, to hint someone could hve got in dressing-room]

Ottilia gives thinking on times – pg 171

unable to pinpoint

mary says after 1 when Emily home

Abel says after 2 when marquis home

THEREFORE quarrel between 1 and 2.30 or 3 – Emily still alive

dead by 6

Margin of 3 hours

assume carriage sent for around 4 or 4.30

Francis – therefore clear hour for Emily to receive another man

Francis – putting time of murder between Randal leaving Emily and leaving house

Why not lover in room after

Ott – because does not square with Abel’s voice, which came before

He was one sent to stables and didn’t go to bed again after

Dow – and Pellew says time could be earlier than 4

Bucklebury – pg 247 – confirms Emily had gone by 1

Randal was “in no state” to be looking at his watch, can’t remember when he came home or when he left Emily – just she was alive when he left her

NOTE – Abigail HEARD quarrel, thus row must have happened before 2.0 – she was dismissed after helping Emily off with clothes – and that was after Polbrook’s first visit



Marquis home 1.30 latest.

Quarrel with Emily 1.30 to 2.00

Called for chaise between 2.00 and 3.00

Gone by 3.30

Bowerchalke being seduced 2.00 to 3.30

Abel directly to chamber – kills her around 3.45

Discovered at 7

Rigor set in by 8.00

Therefore Bowerchalke there from 1.15 to 3.45