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Lounging around with Lyndsay Faye


Lyndsay Faye’s second novel, Gods of Gotham, is one of our favorite novels of 2012. She’s here today talking Gods of Gotham, Sherlock Holmes, and showing off her flash slang.

Lyndsay FayeSheKnows: The Gods of Gotham was one of our picks for the best historical fiction of 2012. Can you give our readers a short overview of the book?

Lyndsay Faye: Thank you! Following a terrible fire killing over 30 locals, the courageous Timothy Wilde and his rough and rowdy brother Valentine Wilde pledge to unravel a dark plot when a child prostitute named Bird Daly informs them of a host of corpses hidden at the northern edge of Manhattan, around 30th Street.

SK: Can you do it again, in flash slang, the mid-19th century jargon used by your characters?

LF: Following a terrible stir that sends over 30 flash men to the eternity box, Timothy Wilde and his dead rabbit brother Valentine Wilde vamp to unravel a shady lay when a kinchin mab by the moniker of Bird Daly leaks that a host of innocents have been put to bed with a shovel to the north of the stait, around 30th Street.

SK: A little birdie (OK, it was you on Twitter) tells me that you have two sequels to The Gods of Gotham coming. What can you tell us about them?

Gods of GothamLF: Ah, yes! I can tell you that the sequel is called Seven for a Secret and finds Tim and Val six months later, in the winter of 1846, fighting a corrupt group of star police and slave catchers who run a black market operation selling free people of color South, under the pretense they are runaway slaves. All of this is based once more on truly appalling historical fact. And as usual, the lawless Democratic Party, Silkie Marsh, and Tim’s own hardheadedness conspire against the poor fellow. The usual suspects return, and Tim finds himself battling to protect his brother and unravel the mystery before all he cares about is lost.

SK: Your books span the Atlantic — your debut novel featured Sherlock Holmes and Jack the Ripper in late 19th-century London. Where does your love of Sherlock Holmes come from?

LF: I read those books when I was 10 and I just sort of… never stopped reading them. I’ve said to people who are mystified by this phenomenon that most folks initially read the Sherlock Holmes mysteries for the adventure, and to reach the solution to the insoluble puzzle. But we re-read them because the friendship between the Doctor and the Detective is such a beautiful thing, and we get to follow them through decades of trials and fights and forgiveness and derring-do, and affection. It’s lovely.

SK: What books are on your nightstand now?

LF: There is a literal pile of books next to my nightstand — none of them are in fact on my nightstand, but rather form their own separate nightstand. Mastermind: How to Think Like Sherlock Holmes by Maria Konnikova, Telegraph Avenue by Michael Chabon, and White Horse by Alex Adams are all near the top of the stack.

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