Sunday, May 16, 2021

Locks of Love or Not?

Examples of love locks
Who thinks that a padlock on a chain link fence locks people in love?

The love lock fad has spread throughout Europe and across the globe, including here in the U.S.

Many couples seem to feel that the ultimate symbol of romance is to carve, write, or engrave their names on a padlock, clamp it to a bridge and throw the key into the water. Supposedly, this locks the couple together. The only way to sever the love bond is to retrieve the key and remove the lock. Remember, it's been tossed into a waterway, so there's slim to no chance of retrieval.

As for ourselves, we don't buy into this romantic fantasy which is akin to metal litter. We certainly don't need a lock for prove ❤️ after many years of togetherness. 
Us in much earlier years
That's because today, we're marking a year short of 25 years together. It's not our wedding anniversary that's 22 years in August. Instead, May 16 is the anniversary not only of our 1st date, but of our first in person meet-up.
A look back to other early days after we met
As some regular readers of this blog, may or may not know, we met online and emailed for several months — message exchanges only, no phone calls. This was way before the days of online social media, remember this was nearly 25 years ago and more like the exchanges between Kathleen (Meg Ryan) and Joe (Tom Hanks) in the film You've Got Mail. As for 
love locks, our favorites are kissing and hand holding (no further details here). 

Federico Moccia
Who's to blame for the love locks fad ?
Federico Moccia, an Italian writer, screenwriter, and film director has been credited to his 2006 novel, Ho Voglia di Te (I Want You) in which two young lovers secure a padlock to a street lamp on the Ponte Milvio bridge, then toss the key in the Tiber River, citing a legend that couples who do so will never break up. The 58-year old author, publicly took credit for putting the first lock on that historic bridge in northern Rome, Italy. 

Of course, couples flocked to follow his example (sort of like sheep) and placed padlocks on lamp posts and railings on the Ponte Milvio, throwing lock keys into the Tiber. Less than 10 years later, the lamp post partially collapsed due to the weight of the locks on  much of the bridge. City officials cut off the locks after fines didn't deter additions, but more have been added in the years since.

Which goes to show that too much togetherness can cause collapses, perhaps for many of those relationships too. Okay, back to the padlocks which, after time, don’t do well in the elements. Rusted metal spreads which can then lead to rusted bridges which jeopardizes their stability. Many popular love lock sites have been on more vulnerable historic bridges. Then, there's all the waterways that collect those rusting metal keys that are impossible to salvage. 

Locks removed from Pont des Arts (Internet)
Paris, the city of love, made headlines in June 2014, when a railing on 
the Pont des Arts buckled under the weight of several thousand locks. The bridge was temporarily closed and the city started removing locks. As in Rome, locks have been added since the removals. 

The Paris incident made this trend front page news in cities that earlier had considered it harmless romanticism. Love locks have proliferated and many municipal authorities regard them as litter or vandalism, and there's always a cost to the removal. Other cities turned the trend into a fundraiser or tourist attraction. 

And, it's here in New England as well. This was what we recently saw in a Portsmouth, NH, park along a stretch of river fencing. It was the first installation we had ever seen.
Love Locks in Prescott Park, Portsmouth, NH
There were dozens of padlocks on these chain link fences. Many, but not all, bore the names and/or initials (or both) of couples, either engaged or married and many had significant dates included as well. 
Prescott Park is a 10-acre waterfront park along the Piscataqua River in the heart of downtown Portsmouth. This was a run-down industrial area until Josie and Sarah Prescott purchased the land in 1940 and donated it to the city as a free public waterfront park. 
On a chilly and overcast day, too early for blooms and fountains, looking at and reading the lock engravings made this fence a point of interest. The fencing has not yet been completely obscured by the padlocks. 
The Portsmouth Love Wall was created by local artist Dylan Haigh, owner of a downtown design firm who said that the location was chosen as it is in the parking area, off the main concourse and does not interfere with the park's gardens and fountains. While there's been some local opposers, Haigh claims that supporters outnumber them. 

Elizabeth Barrett Browning
Reading about and seeing these so-called examples of love, I couldn't help but wonder what poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning would have made of these declarations of undying love

Ms. Browning expressed the concept of love very simply and eloquently in her renowned Sonnet 43 from Sonnets from the Portuguese, a collection of 44 love sonnets. (This poem is in the public domain.)

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of being and ideal grace.
I love thee to the level of every day's
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for right.
I love thee purely, as they turn from praise.
I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints. I love thee with the breath,
Smiles, tears, of all my life; and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death.

As for ourselves, we are not installing a padlock on a bridge or fence to prove our love. In nearly a quarter of a century together, it's very probable that's been longer than many couples who have placed a love lock. Instead, we're going on a(nother) New England getaway.
We're Best Friends Forever (from our Boyds Bears collection)
How about you — Are anniversary celebrations (any type) something you do as well?

Thursday, May 13, 2021

Meet Nicholas . . .

Who is our great nephew and the newest member of our family, born last week in FL. His full name is Nicholas James. 
Introducing Nicholas James
His parents are our niece, Jamie and husband Mike, and his "big" sister is nearly 2-year old Savannah Marie. Jamie's parents are my brother and his wife who live in NJ. Since 2019, they have become grandparents 3 times. Their oldest daughter, Julie and husband Michael, who live in NJ, are parents of Autumn Rose. The two cousins were born in October 2019, 2 weeks apart.
Mother & newborn son
Mom Jamie sent these first photos of herself and her newborn son, taken by his proud & happy dad shortly after his arrival. 
Siblings Nicholas James (2021) & Savannah Marie (2019) first ride
Nicholas had his first car ride in FL, just as his sister, Savannah did after her NJ birth.
First at home look by "big" sister
Once home, "big" sister Savannah was curious for a close-up view of her baby brother. According to her mom, she didn't sit still long enough for a good shot of both youngsters.
At home, mother & son
Baby Nicholas and his mom in a couple of "at home" photos taken within the past couple of days and sent to us.
Oh My Gosh !
While we're unsure when we will meet Nicholas and his parents in person, we're very excited about this newest family member. It looks like he's not yet sure what to make of the world.

Welcome to the family, Nicholas James ❤️

(All photos were sent by his mom, our niece, Jamie. She was sent a link to this blog post to make certain that she had no objections to photos being posted, which she did not.)

Monday, May 10, 2021

More At Home Cooking

Hope you all have eaten before reading this post as (sadly) there's no sampling provided.

It's been just over 2 months since I did a home cooking post. (The last time was in early March and previously in August 2020 and late May.) Not only are restaurants open in Nashua, NH, but outside dining is now in full swing. As in May 2020, concrete barriers were placed on Main Street for expanded outdoor dining, and, unlike last year, indoor dining is now permitted with social distancing plus other restrictions. 
Last year when restaurants were closed, take-out became a habit for many folks we know. Our take-outs were very minimal, but we'll be supporting local eateries and dining outside again this season. 

But, as you can see here, Grenville and myself enjoy cooking and eating too. In the coming months, we'll be cooking more seasonal meals with the availability of local produce in local markets. As with my previous food posts, there's no recipes or links included below. There's so too many in favorite cookbooks and many more online; some of ours are improvised with what's in the fridge or pantry.
Artisan bread baked in cast iron Dutch oven
Bread baking has continued (but not weekly) and no-knead artisan bread baked in a cast iron Dutch oven remains a big favorite. There's nothing like the smell of fresh bread baking, says Grenville.
Homemade rye bead baked in loaf pan
We didn't cook a traditional St Patrick's Day dinner day this March. We bought sliced corned beef from the supermarket deli and made sandwiches on homemade rye bread. This was a first-time for homemade rye bread complete with caraway seeds, which go everywhere when the bread is sliced.
Focaccia with fresh rosemary and kosher salt topping
Focaccia was another first in bread baking for me. A 10-inch Lodge cast iron skillet was the perfect starter size. This bread is so easy, it will be a repeat baking. Leftovers reheated in a 375 degree oven were great with breakfast eggs. (The chopped fresh rosemary on this bread is just as annoying as those caraway seeds on rye bread.)
Homemade nachos with chicken
Many times, when dining at a Mexican restaurant, we've ordered and shared a loaded nachos plate (and nothing else), so we decided to try making our own at home. Chicken from a store-bought rotisserie chicken was cooked in homemade BBQ sauce (brown sugar and catsup are homemade BBQ sauce basics). 
Other toppings included black olives, chopped plum tomatoes, shredded cheddar, black beans (healthier then refried) and no jalapeƱos for us. After baking, the final creation was topped with sour cream and mashed avocado when serving.
Homemade pizza
Homemade pizza is a shoo-in for an no fuss, easy clean-up weekend treat. We've used store-bought pizza dough and homemade depending on time. Translated this means if we thought to make the dough ahead of time or just had the thought of pizza in the grocery store. Sure, we could've bought a frozen one while shopping, but seldom do. A traditional homemade pizza lets us add our own toppings.
Homemade Detroit pizza
Detroit Pizza is a variation that we tried for the first time this year when dining out. At home, we watched an episode of Cook's Country and decided to give it a try and found it was easy. The base is like a focaccia bread, toppings were pepperoni and a mix mozzarella and parmesan cheeses. The chunky tomato sauce topping was added, as shown, in 3 lines. It was baked in a 13x9 pan. Yes, there were leftovers, which we enjoyed the next couple of days. First-time meals are just us without guests. Next time, we're inviting friends over to play dominoes and will make another Detroit pizza.
Chicken marsala with brown rice and asparagus
Chicken marsala is one of our favorite meals using boneless, skinless chicken breasts. It sounds fancy, but isn't that difficult to prepare and cooks in a single pan. There was another pot for brown rice and mushroom gravy was so good over it. Asparagus was microwave steamed.

Pork casserole with leftover pork roast, vegetables, pasta
This pork casserole baked dish was made with ingredients of leftover roast pork, fresh and frozen veggies, pasta and a cheese topping. It was largish and provided leftovers for several meals.

Pasta Primavera with bowtie pasta and roasted vegetables
Bowtie pasta and roasted vegetables make for a colorful and easy meal with sun dried tomatoes and asiago cheese on top. We serve with a side salad and a glass of white wine, Pinot Grigio right now.
Shrimp with zucchini noodles and other veggies
Besides chicken, we have seafood and shellfish (shrimp) meals and this one above paired shrimp with zucchini noodles, more popularly called zoodles. I can't recall the other added veggies, but suspect that peppers and cauliflower were also included in this meal. Many times, we create a dinner based on what's available in the fridge and needs must be used before the next grocery shopping excursion.
Strata made with focaccia bread and focaccia crotons
Focaccia bread was made again this past weekend (it's fast becoming a favorite) and enjoyed with homemade soup and salad. Then, leftover focaccia bread was used for a strata with zucchini, peppers, onions, ham, dried herbs, eggs, half-and-half. Some focaccia cubes were toasted for salad crotons.

Here's some information on the differences between a quiche, frittata and strata as I was a bit uncertain myself. Frittatas are a go-to for us when the plan is to use veggies quickly.

Frittata: a round omelet and unlike a regular omelet that's folded to make a semi-circle shape with the fillings in the centre, it isn't folded, but keeps the round shape of the skillet. Fillings are mixed into the beaten eggs. To cook the egg's surface, the (oven-proof) skillet can be covered and cooked on a stove-top, then usually goes into the oven to finish cooking the eggs.

Quiche: an unsweetened custard pie with savory fillings; if you make one without the crust, it's a “crustless quiche.” It traditionally includes milk or cream and eggs as the base, and you can add cheese, vegetables, cooked meats, or your choices. As a custard, it's more delicate in consistency than a frittata.

Strata: a sweet or savory egg-bread casserole baked in the oven that can be include a variety of fillings such as meats, cheese, and vegetables. Usually the bread and fillings, including cheese, are layered in a casserole dish with the egg mixture poured over all. This dish can be prepared the night before to allow time for the bread to soak up some of the egg mixture.

How about you — have you done much (any?) home cooking — do you improvise as well ?

Thursday, May 6, 2021

Haunted in Portsmouth

Hotel Portsmouth, NH
They say that what you don't know won't harm scare you. What we didn't know when we stayed in a Portsmouth, NH, lodging recently was that it has been named as one of the state's haunted locations.

This was another in-state New England getaway. As we've (temporarily) run out of area castles to visit, we've downsized architectural styles to former grand homes, many of which offer lodgings. A previous estate stay was Stonehurst Manor, North Conway, NH. As far as we know, it has not been reported to be haunted. 

But this latest stay was a different story. This hotel is in the Lark Hotels chain that's concentrated in New England (ME, NH, VT, MA, RI) with a single location in Carmel, CA. According to the company website: Lark Hotels are intimate getaways. They reveal a sense of place and nostalgia with imagination and a touch of mischief. 

That elevator sign in last week's Friday Funnies was taken during our stay at this former estate, now the Hotel Portsmouth. We thought the sign was humorous, as did others, but it seems the sign may have ghostly undertones not disclosed during our stay. Also, the elevator amenity was unusual as most multi-floor B&Bs and small hotels rarely have one which usually discourages us from staying on upper floors.

Portsmouth, NH, settled in 1623, is just over an hour's drive from Nashua. It's one of the state’s oldest towns and also home to some of its most historic buildings, such as Strawberry Banke, The Rockingham, and The Portsmouth Athenaeum. Quite often, spooky stories become very much associated with places that have been around for hundreds of years. 
Hotel Portsmouth, Court Street, Portsmouth, NH
The 138-year old Hotel Portsmouth is no exception. Built in 1881 by John E. Sise, a wealthy Portsmouth ship merchant and businessman, the estate is a classic example of Victorian architecture in the Queen Anne style.
Woodwork on hallway staircases, Hotel Portsmouth
Chandeliers on ground floor, Hotel Portsmouth
Before 1881, a three-story Federal mansion stood in this location on the south side of Court Street. It was built in 1798 for Charles Treadwell, the last owner was the family of L.E. Marsh. 
John Sise married Lucy Maria Marsh in 1857. They purchased the Marsh family mansion in 1879, which they demolished and replaced it with an elaborate estate. The Sise family included four children. The eldest daughter, Mabel, later owned the house and expanded it after her marriage to the Rev. Alfred Gooding.
John E. Sise residence, circa 1902 (Internet source) looks similar to current hotel
It remained a private residence until the mid-1930s, when the mansion began to be used for business and professional services that included a doctor’s suite of offices, a beauty parlor, a fashion shop, and apartments. In the 1950s, it was used as a half-way house for those afflicted with mental illnesses. 
Side view to show building Hotel Portsmouth expansion over the years
In 1986, it was expanded and, with a nod to its former owners, opened as the Sise Inn with 34 four guest rooms. After nearly 30 years, it was sold in 2013 and, after a six-month renovation with attention to historic details, it reopened as the Hotel Portsmouth with 32 guest rooms. The renovation didn't seem to have eliminated the spirits that frequent its walls according to sources.
Hotel Portsmouth lounges (we enjoyed pizza & wine by gaslit fireplace on lower left) 
Suite 204 is considered a particular hotspot. Rumor goes that a butler of the home's original owner fell in love with a maid who he killed and then hung himself in the room. There's no factual evidence this ever happened.
Hotel Portsmouth, Room 104
Our 2-night stay didn't result in any unusual occurrences or sightings even when we used the elevator. Our room (104) was on the first floor, and the rear hotel entry is on the ground floor.

We'd read about things that had reportedly happened like items being thrown or moved, elevator doors opening and closing, a rocking chair moving on its own. Some guests were locked out of their room and others said they felt like someone had climbed into bed with them.

Numerous online sites and printed publications, have included the Hotel Portsmouth as one of the states notable haunted places. It should be noted that many reported that any hovering spirits were considered to be more annoying than harmful. Perhaps, we'll meet on a future visit.
Stairway woodwork viewed in hall mirror
This post was not meant to discourage stays at the Hotel Portsmouth, which we enjoyed and would re-book again. The hotel was centrally located within walking distance from downtown Portsmouth, provided free on-site parking (a nice perk as many larger area hotels have a parking fee), and last (but not least), the staff were helpful and friendly. We enjoyed a take-out pizza and wine seated in front of a gas lit fireplace in one of the lounges on the rainy evening of our last night stay. No, we didn't share with any errant spirits. 

In a couple of weeks, we'll stay at another Lark hotel to celebrate a special anniversary. As far as we know, there's been no unusual sightings there. But, who knows what can happen on a getaway adventure?

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Swing Time in Milford

Milford, NH Swing Bridge
Doesn’t refer to 1930s and 1940s music, but a 275-foot long footbridge that, years ago, was known to swing as mill workers and others walked across it.

After reading about the bridge, we went on an excursion to Milford, NH, a 20-minute drive from Nashua. The advantages about many of our recent adventures are that all are close by car, all outdoors, and all free of charge —very nice overall.

Built in 1889, the Milford Suspension Bridge, its official name, is popularly called the Milford Swing Bridge or Swinging Bridge. It spans the Souhegan River between Bridge and Souhegan Streets in Milford just a short walk east of the Milford Oval (town center) in the downtown area.

An original wooden footbridge, built in 1850, is how the Swing Bridge got its name. That footbridge was reported to sway heavily under the foot traffic of mill workers as they travelled across it to work and home. 

In 1869, the wooden bridge was swept away by high waters and later replaced by the current iron and cable suspended footbridge. (Despite 20-years between the loss of the first bridge and completion of the second bridge, I couldn't find details on how the river was crossed.)

The new bridge was built by the Berlin Iron Bridge Company, a Connecticut-based firm, recognized for building metal bridges in the late 19th century. The firm constructed hundreds of bridges across the eastern U.S. until 1900.
Berlin Iron Bridge Company, 1898 Construction Date
Uniquely enough, the Milford bridge is the last remaining one of more than 78 suspension bridges that the company is known to have built in NH. In 2017, it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Berlin Iron Bridge Company also built truss bridges in VT, RI, MA, and CT. Many of these bridges collapsed or were destroyed by floods, some have been restored and remain standing today.

A product of its time, the Milford bridge bears Victorian Era traits such as a cross beam with decorative finials (finial is a decorative ornament on the top of a bridge marking its "finish" or completion) that span opposite ends of the nearly three-story high support towers on each side of the bridge. These towers have cables which suspend the wood-plank walkway over the Souhegan River. 
Iron work and cabling, Milford Suspension Bridge
The bridge is constructed of riveted iron work and cabling and the abutments were built by a local stone worker. The bridge's
 wooden deck has been replaced over the years, and it doesn't sway. In 1975, the bridge underwent a major restoration which included installation of the chain link fencing, while it does nothing to enhance the bridge, it's more likely for safety reasons.
Walkway, Milford Suspension Bridge
Six years ago, an article in the Milford Cabinet weekly newspaper cited that heavy usage and environmental conditions were contributing to the need for a full restoration of the Swing Bridge. At that time, the price tag was listed at half a million dollars, which would be much higher now. According to the Milford Historical Society, restoration is in the hands of the NH State Dept. of transportation.
Anchoring cables, Milford Suspension Bridge
Mill workers who used the original swing bridge may have been going to work at The Milford Cotton and Woolen Manufacturing Company. It's one of the few surviving mill complexes in Milford, which derives its name in part from the word, mill

Just a short walk from the bridge we saw the former mill site. Like most New England Mills, which were located near water, the river was its power source back when it operated. 
Former Milford Cotton and Woolen Manufacturing Company, Milford, NH
This mill complex was created between 1813 - 1916 and
originally produced fabric during the War of 1812. It closed in 1833, reopened in 1838, and was sold to the American Thread Company in 1901. Products made here were sold throughout the U.S. Material woven at the mill was used in the production of army uniforms for both world wars.

The mill buildings were listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1982 and converted to senior residences in 1983.

Souhegan River, Milford, NH

Friday, April 30, 2021

Friday Funnies

As we all know, life has its Ups and Downs and in more ways than one, like this . . .
This notice was posted inside an elevator we used during a recent hotel stay.
In reality, the elevator worked OK and we never had to press every button during our visit.

Thanks for your comments on my recent post about books and the ways in which they can be enjoyed. It's clear that a lot of fellow bloggers are also avid readers. To answer Christina's question on how I track my reads, it's not through Goodreads or an app (although I'm sure there are ones for that purpose). I just list the titles and authors in a Notes file and it's accessible on my desktop, tablet and phone.

Enjoy Your Weekend, Everyone.
Weather permitting, we're off on a NH day trip

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Good Reads Many Ways

Internet source
Over the past year and a half, one thing that many folks have been doing more than ever before (besides online movie streaming and binging) is reading, m
yself included. That's why I was surprised to see that the last time I posted about any of my good reads was in such a while ago, August 2020. I've been reading a lot more since then.

I've always read a lot, without ever tallying my annual reading numbers. However, with most things being defined by confinement of sorts last year, I kept a running total. It came to 61 including a dozen or so audio books. My total, while less than many fellow bloggers, was amazing to me and I suspect it's much larger than previous years. My preference has usually been fiction, but there were at least 5 non-fiction titles in that tally, surprising even myself. 

Nashua, NH, Public Library
A big difference from previous years was that my 2020 and now 2021 reading has mainly consisted of 
e-books and audio books downloaded from the Nashua Public Library (NPL) website. The library building was closed for months and recently reopened with restrictions. 

During the shutdown, books and other items could be requested online and picked up curbside, that's still possible even though the library has reopened. But, as there's no sitting areas available, staying in the library is not as enjoyable as before the you-know-what current situation.

That's why downloading from the comfort of home, and reading on a Kindle paperwhite e-reader became very convenient. A huge benefit was that every e-book (regardless of physical size) weighed the same, built-in backlighting made reading in bed easier, and there no distractions as my Kindle is just an e-reader. And, a built-in dictionary was of great use.
In the same way, audio books downloaded to my cell phone were very convenient to listen to when doing chores, meal prepping, waiting for appointments, walking on a treadmill. As a friend, and long-time audio book listener explained, enjoy them when doing mindless activities that don't require your full attention. In so doing, I listened to readers who provided wonderful narratives in various voices, favorites include Cassandra Campbell, Simon Vance and James Langton.

Don't misunderstand, hardcover books are wonderful. I'll always return to reading them, but in unsettling times, it's been so easy to read or listen then return a book (14-day loan limit) without going out. A handy plus is that downloaded books would time-out on the expiration loan date, handy if one should forget to return one on line.

My thanks to countless bloggers who have posted about current and/or favorite reads. I've been introduced to and enjoyed authors I've not read, such as Elly Griffiths, Peter James, Catherine Steadman and more. A downside has been that sometimes the NPL didn't have a recommended book in any format, print or otherwise.

My favorite literary genres includes mysteries and historical fiction as even when some (or all) of the characters and all of the dialogue has been created by an author, many novels retain some basis in factual events. Personal favorites historical fiction authors include Marie Benedict (The Only Woman in the Room, The Other Einstein, Carnegie's Maid), Beatriz Williams (The Golden Hour, Her Last Flight, The Secret Life of Violet Grant), Fiona Davis (The Lions of Fifth Avenue, The Address, The Dollhouse) and Erik Larson (The Devil in the White City, Dead Wake, Thunderstruck, The Splendid and the Vile). 

Recently, I completed two historical fiction series set in 1800s England. Each series features a prominent male protagonist; one is an adventurer and the son of a baron, the other is an American doctor in London. The series were written by two female authors, British and American. 

Tessa Harris
British author Tessa Harris studied history at Oxford University followed by a career in journalism as a newspaper reporter and magazine writer. According to her website, she developed the Silkstone character after winning a screenplay writing competition later opted by a film company.

Her six-book mystery series featuring Dr. Thomas Silkstone mystery was published between 2011 to 2016. Set in 1870s London, England, the main protagonist (Silkstone) is introduced in the first novel as a young anatomist and forensic scientist from Philadelphia, PA. A crucial element at the start is that Silkstone finds his way to England in the 18th century, when America is fighting the War of Independence against British forces.

The Anatomist’s Apprentice introduces Dr. Silkstone arriving in London as the apprentice of a famous anatomist. He's described as a pioneering detective in the world of forensic medicine who introduces unconventional methods of investigating suspected murders. An American by citizenship, he's considered an outsider by Londoners. In the first novel, the author credits Silkstone with several firsts, such as recording the stages of decomposition and observing insects on a corpse to determine the time of death. In subsequent novels, he uses these techniques and many others to solve some perplexing murders.

Luckily, I found the entire Silkstone series —The Anatomist's Apprentice, The Dead Shall Not Rest, Devil's Breath, Lazarus Curse, Shadow of Raven, Secrets in Stone — as downloadable library e-books. These were very compulsive fast reads, which I binged on in sequence.
Harris has also written a second mystery series featuring Constance Piper with three books in this series: The Sixth Victim,The Angel Makers, and A Deadly Deception. The downside is that currently none are available through the library's website.

D.M. Quincy
American author D.M. Quincy, who grew up living in various countries as the daughter of a U.S. Foreign Service officer, now lives in Virginia with her family. In her career as TV journalist, she covered crimes, that included violent unsolved murders. According to her website, one summer she read all the romantic fiction books available at the local library. This led her to create her own historical and romantic fiction characters. 

The Atlas Catesby novels were written from 2017 to 2019. According to the author's website, the events in the three-book series were inspired by true-life murders. 

The novels are set in 1800s Regency England, a period of elegance and extravagance, crime and poverty. This is the world surrounding amateur sleuth Atlas Catesby, an adventurer who not only travels the world, but has a penchant for solving puzzles which inexplicably draws him into murder investigations and their solutions.
Murder in Mayfair was inspired by a real incident that happened in the 1700s, when a duke purchased the wife of an hustler who was selling the woman to the highest bidder. 

Murder in Bloomsbury borrows liberally from a sensational murder trial that occurred in mid-1800s Scotland. Glasgow socialite Madeleine Smith was accused of killing her low-born lover. Letters detailing the passionate secret love affair were introduced in court and scandalized society at the time.

Murder at the Opera resulted from the 1779 murder of Martha Ray, a British singer and the longtime mistress of the 4th Earl of Sandwich, who supposedly having invented the sandwich.

Like the Silkstone series, I was fortunate to download this series from the library website and like that previous series, found them to be fast, compulsive reading.

Like Harris, Quincy has also written a second series but under her given name, Diana Quincy. The Accidental Peers series is historical romance with four novels: Seducing Charlotte, Tempting Bella, Compromising Willa, Her Night with the Duke. However, this series doesn't hold an appeal for me and, like the previous second series, none are available through the library's website.
As mentioned, downloadable e-books and audio books have been enjoyable and so convenient these past many months, but I still crave the pleasures of hardcover books. Luckily, last week's library visit resulted in three checkouts, including these new ↑ mysteries by favorite authors Donna Leon and Charles Finch.

If anyone has read or decides to read the Dr. Silkstone or Atlas Catesby novel, please let me know your opinions in one of your future posts. I would be interested in your comments.