Thursday, March 26, 2015

Blog Tour: Well Kept Secrets, by Liza O'Connor

The telephone may be the most popular and beloved product ever built.

The need for a telephone was so vast, that an amazing amount of inventors set about inventing it. Beginning in 1854, the telephone existed in some form and was re-invented over and over for the next twenty to thirty years. Actually, we are still reinventing it…

Here are some of the inventors of phones: Charles Bourseul, Johanne Phillipe Reis, Antonio Meucci, Elisha Grey, and Alexander Graham Bell. All these men invented phones, but most didn’t have the ability to market and gain financial supporters, nevertheless pay the patent fees.

The need for instantaneous communication between people at a distance from one another was fully recognized. It’s why we had telegraphs. But if we could actually send words over the line, and actually speak to the person we wished…That would be a huge improvement. A change-the-world improvement.

In the worlds of patents, only one person or company could be declared the owner of a specific device. By that I don’t mean ‘the telephone’ but all the components of a particular telephone and how they work together to transmit voice. And not surprising, there are hundreds of ways to reach the same end results. Thus, explaining the myriad of inventors of the telephone.

If Alex’s domineering father-in-law had been hit by a newly invented automobile and died, Alexander Bell would NOT have been the father of telephony.  But the bullying-father-in law lived, so Alexander Bell and Elisha Grey submitted patents on the same day. Elisha’s arrived first, so it was further down in the pile and thus Alexander’s patent was read first and granted. Yes, Fate is that fickle. Elisha Grey, by all rights, should have been awarded the patent.

That’s how important telephones were to the survival of humans. Fate chose the most likely to succeed, but still it had a backup ready, in case Alexander failed to get the job done. Fate had done everything it could to ensure Alexander created the phone, specifically giving him the meanest-father-in-law ever, who stopped him from working on other inventions and focus on the phone. I think Fate favored Alexander because his father-in-law had the money, connections, and forcefulness to make telephones become a reality. And given the lawsuits on patent infringement that followed, without said father-in-law (who was a lawyer), Alexander would have probably given up and worked on other inventions, like his compost toilet instead.

So who actually invented the telephone? Maybe Fate deserves the credit. It had to manipulate a great deal to ensure Bell came through.

In England, the telegraph authorities insisted a telephone was technically a telegraph and thus under their purview. They then set about to slow its growth with onerous regulations. By 1894, when Well Kept Secrets takes place, the regulations had changed and the telephone business was finally able to grow. Not surprisingly, the parliament and its members and other related buildings, such as Scotland Yard, acquired telephones first, along with many of the upper class.

However, Xavier Thorn refuses to have a phone in his place of business. He finds clients lie enough when they sit before him, where he can catch their lies by their ‘tells.’ If he had a phone, he’d never be able to bully a single true word out of any of them.

The great Victorian sleuth Xavier Thorn and his partner Vic Hamilton take a case close to home. Their youngest staff member, L’il Pete, discovers his mother murdered in the alley. Jacko is called up from the country to assist in solving the crime. The good woman’s murder proves to be tangled up with a much larger and shocking list of crimes perpetrated by a powerful man who may truly be above the law. Making matters more complex: Vic discovers her recent weight gain may be the result of a condition that could destroy her life and everything she loves.

(To set the scene: Xavier sent Tubs to kidnap the butler of a Minister of Parliament, so he could ask the fellow why he had tried to kill him earlier in the day. A perfectly reasonable thing to do, yet the Parliament Minister and his wife show up at six in the morning, demanding the return of their butler.)

Catherine held her ground. “I can read my servant like a book. I wish to observe the interrogation to make up my own mind to his guilt or innocence.”

“Fine, I’m going to call Scotland Yard!” Meridan replied.

Xavier gave Catherine instructions to the basement. “Please don’t scream upon sight of Tubs. It hurts his feelings.”

With a soft snort, she hurried from the room.

Meridan was a bit slower, this early in the morning, but eventually Xavier’s words sunk in. “Tubs? You’re sending my wife into the company of a mass murdering giant?”

“I didn’t send her. She demanded to go, and you let her. But for the record, Tubs only does what he’s told, so he rarely murders now that he works for me.” Xavier pasted a smile on his face.

“And he’s questioning my butler?”

“Yes, he’s very good at getting information out of people. Most start talking upon sight of him, or once they regain use of their vocal chords.”

Humor was completely wasted on Meridan. Xavier didn’t know why he bothered.
“Where is your phone?” the minister demanded.

“Are you serious? If I had a phone, I’d never get a moment’s peace. People would be calling me day and night asking me to find their missing pets, or worse yet, their errant butlers.”

Book 4
Well Kept Secrets
Free with Amazon Kindle Unlimited

Need to catch up?
Book 1

Book 2

Book 2.5

Book 3
All Xavier books Free with Amazon Unlimited

About the Author

Liza O’Connor was raised badly by feral cats, left the South/Midwest and wandered off to find nicer people on the east coast. There she worked for the meanest man on Wall Street, while her psychotic husband tried to kill her three times. (So much for finding nicer people.) Then one day she declared enough, got a better job, divorced her husband, and fell in love with her new life where people behaved normally. But all those bad behaviors have given her lots of fodder for her humorous romances. Please buy these books, because otherwise, she’ll become grumpy and write troubled novels instead. They will likely traumatize you.
You have been warned.
Mostly humorous books by Liza:
Ghost LoverTwo British brothers fall in love with the same young woman. Ancestral ghost is called in to fix the situation. And there’s a ghost cat that roams about the book as well. (Humorous Contemporary Romance)
Untamed & UnabashedThe youngest of the Bennet sisters, Lydia, tells her story. A faithful spinoff from Pride & Prejudice.
A Long Road to Love Series: (Humorous Contemporary odd Romance)
Worst Week Ever — Laugh out loud week of disasters of Epic proportions.
Oh Stupid Heart — The heart wants what it wants, even if it’s impossible.
Coming to Reason — There is a breaking point when even a saint comes to reason.
Climbing out of Hell — The reconstruction of a terrible man into a great one.
The Adventures of Xavier & Vic Sleuth series: (Late Victorian/Mystery/Romance)
The Troublesome Apprentice — The greatest sleuth in Victorian England hires a young man who turns out to be a young woman.
The Missing Partner — Opps! The greatest sleuth in Victorian England goes missing, leaving Vic to rescue him, a suffragette, and about 100 servants. Not to mention an eviscerating cat. Yes, let’s not mention the cat.
A Right to Love A romantic detour for Jacko. Want to see how amply rewarded Jacko was when he & Vic save an old woman from Bedlam?
The Mesmerist The Mesmerist can control people from afar and make them murder for her. Worse yet, Xavier Thorn has fallen under her spell.
Well Kept Secrets L’il Pete’s mum is murdered, and discovering who & why reveals a great many secrets. 

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Melissa Keir said...

This book is funny and I can't wait to read it. I love Liza's books!

Daryl Devore said...

Interesting post on phones. Great excerpt. Tweeted.

Liza O'Connor said...

Thanks for having me over