Our very first blog post featured Miss Lizzie Borden. In COLD STONE & IVY, she is under the care of psychiatrist/neurologist Arvin Frankow. But Lizzie isn’t the only famous (or infamous) resident of Lonsdale. From the very start, Ivy Savage makes an impression on a wild young Russian known as Grigori. His hair is long, his beard tangled and his eyes ‘dart about as if watching a swarm of bees.’ To Ivy, he is the very definition of he word insane, owed in part to the fact that he cannot die., His surname, she believes, is either Rasmussen or Raspberry and it isn’t until his release at the end of the story that she learns that his name is Rasputin. From stealing bread in church to rumours of his regenerative constitution to an obsession with the Virgin Mary, these are all anecdotal chapters of the real man’s story. The great escape, however, is fiction. Probably.
Next to Lizzie, Grigori and Catherine Savage, there is another resident of Lonsdale. Daniel Dunglas Home (pronounced Hume) was a Victorian medium who stunned crowds of believers and skeptics alike with his levitating abilities. He died of TB at the young age of 38. Readers of COLD STONE & IVY will know that in fact, he did not die, but retired to Lonsdale to recover both health and skills, using them in the service of Arvin Frankow, Queen Victoria and the War Office.
Two of Lonsdale’s staff members were also Victorian celebrities of a sort. The first, Carl Feigenbaum, is a quiet, sober-minded orderly working behind the scenes at the sanitarium and assisting Frankow in the running of the Abbey. Ripperologists will know him as one of the more convincing Ripper suspects, having been tried and sentenced to death for the similar murder of a woman in New York City in 1896. Carl was a merchant seaman and it is possible to tie an international series of Ripper-like crimes to the naval vessels upon which he served. He remains one of the most solid Ripper candidates but in COLD STONE & IVY, Carl is one of the ‘good guys.’ Sort of.
The second historical staff member was Mrs. Amelia Dyer. A part-time nurse in the Victorian era, Mrs. Dyer worked in Lonsdale along with Agnes Tidy. She stonewalls young Ivy in the Abbey’s foyer, but has met her match in the Mad Lord of Lasingstoke.
Sebastien turned and bounded up the steps but as he passed the nurses, the cold rose up all around him. He paused, turned back to study them. Agnes Tidy was the first. He’d known her for years, but the other scowled at him and he stepped closer.
Gagging, choking, silent as night
He narrowed his eyes at her. She stiffened, raised her brows in defiance.
Barely a whimper, Godfrey’s Cordial, dressmaker’s tape
In a smooth, swift motion, he reached behind his back to pull a clockwork pistol, leveling it between her eyes. He cocked the hammer.
“Leave,” he growled under his breath. “Leave before I put a bullet in your brain.”
Tidy gasped and shrank back, but the woman whose pin read “Amelia Dyer” did not. She scowled one last time before spinning and quitting the foyer. He waited until the sound of her shoes had died away, then pocketed the pistol and threw a look at Tidy, smiling like the sun.
“Hello, Tidy. How’s the children?”
Perhaps Sebastien should have shot Mrs. Dyer, for she has gone down in history as England’s greatest serial killer. She was tried and ultimately hanged for the murder of only one child, but it is commonly believed that she was responsible for as many as 400 infant deaths over a 20-year period.
As we can see, Dr. Arvin Frankow was not the best when it came to choosing patients or employees. You can find the fantastical fictions of these infamous folk in COLD STONE & IVY, available wherever fine books are sold.