WARNING: Spoilers in this data if you haven’t read The Candlelit Coffin
With every book, at some point during the editing process, there comes a time when “timing” becomes crucial. This is where I figure out what has happened on which day and what time of day it happened. Once that is worked out, I have to use a calendar of that year (fortunately available online) and fix the actual dates accordingly.
I will also check, if I can find out, what the weather was doing in England at that time. There were some exceptional years for weather and it’s as well not to find you’ve put in a load of sunny days when that year it actually rained for the whole of the summer.
With everything decided, I then adjust the text to incorporate the correct day, date and weather. Below you will find the first couple of pages of the timing document I created for The Candlelit Coffin. The first part covers where and when the theatre company were performing on their summer tour.
It’s beginning August.
Were in Weymouth a month ago – mid to late June. 2 weeks
Dulcie 2 months gone or more.
On to Lyme – one week
Exeter – 2 weeks
Lyme – 1 week
Weymouth – 1 week The Rivals [when Cecile sold necklace – 6 weeks gone by then]
Exeter – 2 weeks
Lyme – 1 week
Weymouth beginning August
On to Bournemouth
After performance, first on return to Weymouth.
Murder at 2-3 am.
Wednesday morning early: discovery. (backstory George/Cecile)
Francis and doctor re seaside potential.
George to boarding house to see players.
Wednesday morning still:
Cecile and players discussion.
George and Ferdinand identifying body.
Then questioning where everyone was.
Francis gets his letter. Mother arrives.
Ottilia persuaded to go.
Arrived at Weymouth, George spills beans.
Ottilia has it out with Francis and reconciliation.
Reads newspaper and later dinner as Ottilia gets all the data, divines George in love.
After dinner with Sybilla, guesses re baby, wonders how to meet émigré.
Cecile meets Ottilia when company rehearsing.
Ottilia questions Cecile walking along Esplanade. Ottilia enlists Hemp’s services. Meets Francis and goes upstairs to hear Sybilla has Rodber there, interviewing cook. Decides go to theatre and Hemp gets tickets.
Tillie questions Rodber re local males who might have courted Dulcie. Then talks of suspects and mentions purse.
George routs out players (after perf night before) and examines all their purses after search.
Cecile questioned by George, he explains re purse, asks about male admirers, develop love story.
Ottilia questions Hemp re players (tavern after perf night before). Hemp points to Rob. George comes in with report nothing found. Discusses Cecile. Decides to target Kate re confidences from Dulcie. Francis returns in irritation with his mother. Byplay. Some data about Charlton. Cecile arrives.
Ottilia asks Cecile about Kate. George asks Cecile about Paglesham. Francis goes to fetch Mother. Cecile talks about the players. Fitzgerald introduced as possible suspect. Cecile is persuaded to talk of Dulcie allowing liberties and how she clearly had succumbed. Arranges to bring the actresses to tea.
Francis back to Assembly and sounds out Charlton. He points finger at Paglesham. Dowager relates her conversation with him. General tells about Edgcott, annoyed at cut out by Paglesham. Back in house, Ottilia says George off to beard Fitzgerald. Ottilia frets about purse and says must have been witness to the murder.
George questions Fitzgerald. Fitz says saw Dulcie enter a coach on way home from tavern. Asks about players. Tells him Dulcie pregnant. Decides Fitz is cool villain.
Ottilia discusses Fitzgerald’s testimony with George, determines what may have happened and what info needed.
Actresses come to tea, Ottilia questions each one. Reassures matriarch re George/Cecile. Ottilia bemoans can’t get hold of gravediggers.
Samples of theatre programmes from the era