Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The joys of research

by Carola Dunn

Sometimes it's a real struggle to find information you desperately need for your story. Sometimes information you didn't even know you wanted just falls into your lap--more information, in fact, than you can possibly use.

My next book, GONE WEST, comes out this month, January 17th to be precise, in hardcover and for Kindle and Nook. It's the 20th in my Daisy Dalrymple series, set in England in 1926.

The story takes place in the Matlock district of Derbyshire. When I started to research the area, I came across mention of a huge health spa, Smedley's Hydro.

The building dominates the small town, so Daisy couldn't avoid noticing it. And lo and behold, there on the web was Smedley's visitors' handbook for the mid 1920s. I couldn't resist using some of the wonderful information, and the hydro ended up playing an important part in the story, though I hadn't ever heard of it when I began planning the book.

Here is an excerpt to whet your appetite:


Bath Arrangements - continued

    Galvanic or Faradaic          per application 1/6
    Both Galvanic and Faradaic                    2/-
    High Frequency                                2/6
    Diathermy                                     5/-
    Ultra Violet Rays                             5/-
    Electric Ionization                           5/-
    Bath                                          2/-
An installation of these baths has been in constant use for some years, and the results obtained have been very satisfactory. Recently the full bath of the latest pattern has been added. The heat is produced by Electricity, and there is consequently no vitiation of the atmosphere by products of combustion. These baths are especially useful in cases where the patient is enfeebled or crippled, or from any cause unfit for the ordinary Turkish or other form of hot-air bath.
    For a Single Bath           7/6
    Course of Three Baths     £1/1/-
    Course of Six Baths       £1/10/-
(If booked at one time and taken within one month.) £ s. d.
     Bath only                                      0 4 6
     Bath and Schott Exercises                      0 5 6
PLOMBIERES TREATMENT, per application               0 2 6
PINE BATH                                           0 3 6
AIX DOUCHE                                          0 3 0
VICHY DOUCHE                                        0 3 0
Night Attendance for Invalids.-The night watchmen are qualified to give simple treatment in case of need. If required, they will summon medical assistance. BATHS TO VISITORS.
Ladies and Gentlemen desirous of taking baths on their own account, and without consultation, are requested to apply to Head Bath Attendants. Time and place will be arranged so as to avoid interference with Patients going by prescription. Baths in the bedroom, and private baths, are subject to a small special charge in the case of visitors.
For Massage and such other of the foregoing treatments as may be taken by non-patients, the charges are 50 % higher.
Baths to persons not staying in the Establishment., £ s. d.
Turkish or Russian Bath per single bath             0 3 6
                        per series of six           0 18 0

Page 26

The Baths, &c

N0 description can do justice to Smedley's unrivalled suite of baths, renowned all over the world for completeness of equipment and efficiency. Nothing but a tour of inspection, or, better still, actual experience of the incomparable treatment, can convey any adequate conception of the astonishing scope of the health-restoration and health-maintenance facilities, aggregated during many years, and vigilantly modernised to the moment. . . . THE BATHS ARE UNDER THE SAME ROOF AS THE ESTABLISHMENT, THUS DISPOSING OF ANY NECESSITY TO GO OUT OF DOORS, WITH CONSEQUENT RISK OF CHILLS.


Take a look at the rest--it's fascinating!

Unfortunately I was too far along in the plotting to use the Galvanic or Faradaic bath to bump someone off. Another time...


Mark W. Danielson said...

I love researching for new novels. With most everything available at your fingertips (via the Internet), there is really no excuse not to get things "right". I enjoy the learning as much as my characters do.

Morgan Mandel said...

Fascinating, stuff, Carola!
Love your cover, as I love all of yours!

Morgan Mandel

Jean Henry Mead said...

I love this, Carola. What fun spooning in some of it into your book(s). Research is my favorite part of writing, which is why I love writing historicals.

Jaden Terrell said...

What fun research! I love it that you bring so much accurate detail into your books.

Sylvia Dickey Smith said...

Well, Carola, another book is coming so hang onto this information!