Pemberton Hall

Research is at least half the fun of writing. I particularly love mining local newspapers – the advertisements alone are priceless (Dr Williams’ Pink Pills for Pale People were genuinely being advertised in Cambridge newspapers in 1904). Since my Vita Crew stories are set in the early years of the 20th century, I get to call a stroll around a stately home a ‘site visit’ and amble about imagining the best places for the corpse to be found. This is what I did at Wimpole Hall, south of Cambridge, when planning Poison at Pemberton Hall. Here are a few of my not-very-expert photos. Pemberton Hall is based on Wimpole, but in the story I took liberties with the architecture.
 of the young Queen Victoria in an elaborate gilded frame
This is the portrait of Queen Victoria that seems to watch what goes on in the story with quiet disapproval.
The house is broad but not very deep. You can see through the back door to the front. In the story I replaced the balustrade along the top with battlements. My imagined Pemberton Hall had another floor or two and a round tower.
The painting of the shepherdess. Young William Pemberton and Dr Zecker agree (rather disrespectfully) that she does not look much like a real shepherdess.
The underground servants’ corridor. It runs the whole width of the house.
The bells. They must have ruled the servants’ lives.