Thursday, March 15, 2018

The Study of Silence Blog Tour

THE STUDY OF SILENCE by Malia Zaidi, Historical Mystery, 448 pp., $18.49 (Paperback) $8.99
(Kindle edition)


Author: Malia Zaidi

Publisher: Bookbaby

Pages: 448

Genre: Historical Mystery

Lady Evelyn Carlisle has returned home to England, where she is
completing her degree at St. Hugh’s, a women’s college in Oxford. Her
days are spent poring over ancient texts and rushing to tutorials. All
is well until a fateful morning, when her peaceful student life is
turned on its head. Stumbling upon the gruesome killing of someone she
thought she knew, Evelyn is plunged into a murder investigation once
more, much to the chagrin of her friends and family, as well as the
intriguing Detective Lucas Stanton. The dreaming spires of Oxford begin
to appear decidedly less romantic as she gathers clues, and learns far
more than she ever wished to know about the darkness lurking beyond the
polished veneer. Can she solve the crime before the killer strikes once
more, this time to Evelyn’s own detriment?

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My hair is tangled, a loose knot at the nape of my neck, where my head rests
against the cool stone wall. I close my eyes and see it all swimming like a
dream beneath my lids. And him, always him. I open my eyes, still here. Still here. The thought echoes in my
mind as if I have spoken it aloud, and it is bouncing from the uncaring walls
of this chamber.
            Suddenly, from somewhere above and
beyond comes the sound of clanging metal. A door opens and with a screech is
shut again. Closed. Secured. Barred. Steps follow. Slow, reluctant steps. One,
two, three . . . I want to lose myself in the monotony of the rhythm. I grow
used to it, even enjoy it, when the steps suddenly cease once more. Silence.
Then nearby, another metallic cry. A key is turned in a rusty lock. A door is
opened. A door. My door. Steps again. Two this time. Only a small space to
cross. I notice his shoes first. They gleam in the low light. Attached to the
shoes, a man in a dour black suit. I look up at his face, but perceive only
shadow, dark lines. Squinting, I make no effort to get to my feet. There is no
pretending we are equals now. He has no choice, but to crouch to my level. I
have brought him down with me. To me.
            "Do you have anything to say?"
            His face is close, and I am shocked
by his youth. I had expected gray temples and furrowed brows. He is younger
than I, not by much perhaps, but nonetheless. His eyes meet mine. Can I speak
to him? Should I tell him the truth, my
truth? A sudden bang from a place beyond these walls makes him flinch and he
tears his gaze from mine, only for a moment, but it is decisive.
            His voice is quiet, calm . . . kind? "My child, speak."
            A warbled laugh escapes my dry
throat. My child. I am no one's child
any longer. The words are ludicrous coming from this man, this frightened boy
in an adult's body. He wants to be here nearly as little as I, and fights with
himself not to recoil at the sudden sound erupting from my mouth. I frighten
him. I, a helpless creature sitting at his feet, frighten him. Another choked
            "Shall I get you some
            Water.  I shake my head.
            "Will you not let me hear
you?" I am struck by his earnest expression, nothing like the permanent
mask of stern reprimand, the looks of disgust I have received these past weeks.
Could I tell him? Might he understand? It would not change my fate. But someone
else would know the truth. Before I can think of reasons to stay silent, before
I can begin to understand the consequences, my words pour out. The last words I
will ever speak find compassionate ears. Once spoken, they cannot be unspoken,
and when I complete my tale, my truth, I am empty. There is nothing more and I
am nothing more.
            The light is so bad I cannot tell
whether he has paled at my confession. Our eyes meet in the gloom, glowing
embers. He watches me for another moment, then gets to his feet, brushes his
trousers and walks the few steps back to the door. I hear him rap the thick
wood twice. Then the lock is turned.
            He speaks once more, his words run
through me like flour through a sieve. Nothing sticks. Nothing stays. I am water
and he is oil. The door clatters shut and his steps fade away.
            I am alone.

Malia Zaidi is a writer and painter, who grew up in Germany and lives
in the US. An avid reader and traveler, she decided to combine these
passions, and turn her long-time ambition of writing into a reality. The Study of Silence is the third book of The Lady Evelyn Mysteries.



Interview with Malia Zaidi:

How did you come up with name of this book?
Lady Evelyn is herself studying in Oxford, but the book is also about the study of her surroundings, particularly after a murder takes place. The silence aspect refers both to the fact that people are keeping secrets and unwilling to be truthful, and to a specific character about whom I think I won’t say any more for fear f spoiling the story☺

Do you read yourself and if so what is your favorite genre?
I LOVE to read and do so all the time. My favorite genre is te one I write in, mystery, but I read amost every genre. Historical fiction and literary fiction are also quite predominant on my to-read list.

Do you prefer to write in silence or with noise? Why?
I definitely prefer silence, though I don’t mind a bit of music. I am generally a person who likes a quiet environment and I struggle to concentrate on my work when there is a lot of noise and stimulation around,

What do you feel you can accomplish with this book?
I want to entertain my readers, first and foremost. I hope the mystery is engaging and the story thought-provoking. The Lady Evelyn Mysteries are all set in the years between the two wars, which was a time in which some people flourished and others, particularly those affected by the First World War, were often left behind. It is also a time in which women achieved greater independence, gaining the right to vote and growing more educated and able to partake in university life as Lady Evelyn does in The Study of Silence.

What is your next project?
I am working on another book in the Lady Evelyn series, but have also recently finished another book in a different genre, so expect something a little different coming from me soon.

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