Straightlaced Saturday — Elusive Isabel

Saturday, February 16, 2019 

victorian novels

Straightlaced Saturday and the Victorian Novels feature is finally back.  It complements the era of my steampunk serial, Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers. 

With these posts, I’ll give you some information about novels written in the Victorian Era of the real world, along with a link where you can get the book for free!

Elusive Isabel

This week’s novel from the Victorian Era is Elusive Isabel, by Jacques Futrelle.  I’ll be surprised if you’ve heard of it.  It was not an important novel in its day.  Far from it, the book was considered trivial.

So what?  I had fun with it.  It could be entertaining to re-imagine this as a steampunk story.  Why? Bear with me — I’ll get to that.  I read this book a number of years ago.  No, it’s not a fantastic book, but it’s not bad either.  In fact, I had a great time reading it.

elusive isabel illustration

Illustration from Elusive Isabel

Why did I enjoy myself?  The story is set in Washington, DC and nearby Alexandria, Virginia.  The author mentions real world places and establishments. It was fascinating to read a Victorian perspective on those places, transportation, and distance, comparing it as, to the here and now, as I rode through some of those locations on a shuttle bus.

A Spy Novel

When I started reading this book, I had no idea that the Victorians were as enamored of spy stories as we are today.  Elusive Isabel is a spy novel!  That’s why I thought it would be fun to re-imagine it as a steampunk story.  There’s an inventor, a secret weapon… those things just screams for steampunk.

In addition to being intrigued by how the locations had changed since the book was written, there was something else that made it fun for me.  Futrelle touched on the “secret” language of fans.  In the novel, Isabel uses the language of fans, and she all but bewitches the hero with it.   Otherwise the plot is pretty much standard spy novel fare. 

elusive isabel illustration stand off

Illustration from Elusive Isabel

This is an enjoyable book if you’re in the mood for something that you don’t want to take too seriously.  It’s entertaining if you let it be fun — and set your expectations accordingly.

Project Gutenburg Link to Elusive Isabel

If you want the book and have trouble accessing it, let me know and I’ll send you a file.

What do you think about the idea of the hidebound Victorians enjoying a spy novel?  Please leave a comment and start or join a conversation. 


Some of you have asked for updates on my personal soap opera — relocating.  I’m single-handedly doing all the planning, logistics, and particularly the physical work is a lot for anybody.  Then add my personal, peculiar disabilities, and it is 99% impossible. 

I haven’t blogged about that problem, but you may have seen me mention it in comments this year.  Anyhow, I’m striving for that one percent of possibility.  Now I’m trying to prepare posts in advance, so that I don’t leave you dangling from any cliffs while I’m deep in the throes of being severely agoraphobic in the middle of a cross-country move.  I can tell you — it ain’t pretty!

Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers continues on Hidebound Hump Day.  My chuckaboos, I’ll be looking for you at the steampunk submarine port on Wednesday.


Now some shameless self-promotion. 

Universal link to my Amazon Author Page

USA:  Atonement in Bloom

Amazon UK

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USA:  The Glowing Pigs, Snort Stories of Atonement, Tennessee

Amazon UK

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USA:  Atonement, Tennessee

(E-book still on sale at 99¢ )

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USA:  Murder at the Bijou — Three Ingredients I

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USA:  The Three Things Serial Story: A Little 1920s Story Kindle 

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This is a work of fiction.  Characters, names, places, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, locales, or events is entirely coincidental.

Copyright ©  2019 by Teagan Ríordáin Geneviene

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