London’s Great Fire—A Selection of Fearsome Facts

The Great Fire of London was an event of HISTORIC proportions. While researching the 17th century timeline in AND BY FIRE, I read a collection of exceptional books on the Fire. In fact, let me drop a footnote in here with a couple of recommendations for those of you who would enjoy a deep dive…

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Arson—a crime you generally CAN get away with

Please don’t think I am encouraging you to a life of crime, but most arson is NEVER detected—*shudder*—let alone prosecuted. In the US, Fire Chiefs estimate the percentage of arsonists detected and prosecuted hovers between 15-20%. And serial arsonists . . . let’s just say they get to burn a heck of a lot of…

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Sir Christopher Wren’s Stamp on a NEW London

In 1666 when London caught fire, Christopher Wren wasn’t the city’s most famous architect—not by a long shot. Just thirty-three years old, Wren was considered an amateur in the field, albeit a passionate one. His actual job was as a Professor of Astronomy at Oxford (where he’d also been commissioned to design and build a…

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How Bodies Burn

So, this is the kind of stuff that sends waiters scuttling away looking worried if you discuss it with friends over lunch (yes authors do that), and that makes authors certain they will be arrested if a body is ever found near their home. BUT honestly scientists probably have the same concerns, especially Elayne Pope…

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Helping London Rise Again . . . Allegorically

While London’s Monument to the Great Fire is, as a whole, splendid, its most significant artistic element is Caius Gabriel Cibber’s stunning bas-relief stone panel on its West face. So lets have a closer look (see, told you in my Monument Post that I’d get back to it). Cibber’s carving is allegorical, depicting post-Great-Fire London…

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The City Has Eyes: CCTV in London

If, like me, you’re a Yank, living on this side of the Atlantic you have an expectation of privacy when you go out to stroll the streets of your favorite large American City. You don’t expect cameras to be watching.[i] Londoners KNOW they are. London ranks as the number one “most spied-on city” in the…

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London Circa 1666—oh the smell!

And By Fire is a dual timeline crime novel. While Nigella and O’Leary race around modern London trying to stop a brutal killer, a second pair of unlikely detectives (a lady-in-waiting to the Queen and a royal fireworks maker) search for a missing friend—a bookseller who disappeared into the smoke of London’s Great Fire some…

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The London City Police—Protecting One Square Mile

There are two Londons. Most people don’t realize that when they pop into the British capital as tourists. They aren’t aware, as they race from the Tower to St. Paul’s Cathedral, from Christopher Wren’s Monument to the Great Fire to Harrods, that they are crossing and recrossing the boundaries between two independent Londons. Sometimes called…

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