I've talked before about the image that prompted this novel initially--although, alas, that too has changed somewhat--and about the difficulties I've had with titles generally. But naming a book is a difficult thing--it has to be right!
The new title--A DEATH ALONG THE RIVER FLEET--feels right. (I mean, I also liked Murder at Fleet Ditch, but it was deemed a bit too harsh for my Lucy books, which I can totally see now).
Here is the working premise:
Crossing Holborn Bridge, where it crosses the River Fleet, Lucy Campion—printer’s apprentice--encounters a distraught young woman, barely able to speak and clad only in a blood-spattered nightdress. To the local townspeople, the woman is mad, afflicted with the devil’s tongue, but Lucy, feeling concerned for the woman’s well-being, takes her to a physician. When the woman is shockingly identified as the daughter of a nobleman, Lucy is asked to temporarily give up her bookselling duties to discreetly serve as the woman’s companion while in the physician’s care. As the woman recovers over the month of April 1667, she begins—with Lucy’s help—to reconstruct the terrible event that occurred near the bridge, as well as the disturbing events that preceded it. When the woman is attacked while in her care, Lucy becomes unwillingly privy to a plot with far-reaching social implications.
But, given that I don't like to disclose too much about my work-in-progress, this is all I will say!