Thursday, March 12, 2015

Character interview: Alice Collins from the Adventures of Xavier & Vic series by @Liza0Connor

Today, we have Alice Collins from the Adventures of Xavier & Vic series to talk about poison.

Kim: Welcome Alice. I’m curious as to why you are discussing the matter of poison instead of Vic.

Alice: Honestly, I don’t know the answer to that. All I know is that I received a most peculiar letter that I wished Vic to investigate. However, when I arrived at Thorn’s Private Inquiries, Vic was not there and Xavier was barely there.

Kim: What do you mean ‘barely there’?

Alice: He was behaving in a confused and angry manner. When I offered him coffee to help him wake, he slapped it away and accused me of trying to poison him…again.

Kim: Have you tried to poison him before?

Alice: Of course not! I do not go around poisoning people. I realize my social standing in society is persona non grata, but that doesn’t mean I’ve resorted to poisoning people, and even if I had, I assure you I would never harm Vic or Xavier. Vic discovered where my step-father had hidden my mother so Jacko could rescue her.  Thus, she—I meant to say he—helped to return my mother and also sent me the love of my life. I had never expected to marry, and now I’m having my second child with the most wonderful, loving man in the world.

Kim: Sounds lovely. But why did Xavier think you had poisoned him?

Alice: Evidently, the butler of one the Ministers of Parliament poured a half cup of arsenic into his coffee. As you may be aware, poisoning people with arsenic has become a Victorian pastime. It has been said that more people die from arsenic than rats do. The Parliament has attempted to stop the improper use of poisons by requiring the pharmacist to know the person he is selling the poison to. But at most, that can only delay matters a short time as you purchase a few items in advance of asking for arsenic to kill the rats.

Kim: A poor solution indeed.

Alice: Next they passed a law that arsenic must be mixed with charcoal or indigo ink. Fortunately, for Xavier, the butler possessed arsenic with charcoal, which caused Xavier to spit the coffee back into the cup upon first taste. He said it was like licking the inside of a chimney.

Kim: That seems like a much better deterrent.  I believe pure arsenic is considered to be almost tasteless and odorless.

Alice: That is correct, which makes soot an effective warning substance.

Kim: What about the other option of mixing indigo ink with the poison? What does that taste like?

Alice: Indigo ink comes from the leaves of Indigofera Tinctatoria. It’s a tropical legume and is used to improve soils between plantings. Depending on the base used to stabilize the coloring, its taste might not have been detected in a strong coffee. If lye was used, it would have been, but there are other options.

Kim: For someone who claims not to be poisoning people, you sure do know a great deal about poisons.

Alice: Well, I run an estate of some of the finest farmland in England. Rodent control is critical to a successful farm. Some farmers use arsenic as a pesticide since it attacks the internal organs of a bug just as easily as it does a human. However, arsenic remains in the soil a very long time, and some vegetables will mistake it for nutrients and absorb it. So while we do use it on rats and other small pests, we are very careful to keep it away from our plants, livestock, and most importantly, the children.

Kim: What are the symptoms of arsenic poisoning?

Alice: If you swallow the poison, first you will feel a burning in your throat, followed by difficulty in swallowing. Next you incur violent stomach pains, which will cause continuous vomiting as the body attempts to purge the poison. Diarrhea, fainting, cramps in the calves, and vertigo would follow, ending in a loss of consciousness and death.  It is most fortunate Xavier spit out the first sip at once. In this case, the use of too much poison saved his life.

Kim: Most fortunate indeed. Thank you, Alice. Let’s check out a bit more about this story.

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.

When Davy dragged his boss through Dr. Connors’ waiting room, which contained the elite of London, they gasped in horror at ‘the poor’ polluting their space. They were baffled when the nurse led the two men straight in to see the doctor.

One gentleman rose to object, but whatever the nurse whispered silenced him at once. Once seated, he leaned to the woman beside him and shared what he had been told. Upon taking in the information, she told the woman beside her.

By the time Davy hurried out to his carriage, the entire lobby of very fine people smiled and nodded as he rushed by.


Davy didn’t notice the people in the lobby, not when he carried Xavier into the doctor or when Connors told him to bring Inspector Stone at once.

All he knew was someone had poisoned his boss.

Davy ignored the people scrambling to get out of the way of his speeding carriage. Upon arriving at New Scotland Yard, he ignored the policeman yelling at him that he couldn’t leave his carriage in front of the building.

He ran past the officer at the front desk demanding he stop and state his business and up what seemed to be a thousand flights of steps to Inspector Stone’s corner office. Just before he reached the door, he was tackled from behind.

Fortunately, the noise of his fall and his shouts for Inspector Stone brought the head of Scotland Yard to him.

Upon seeing it was Davy, the Inspector demanded his men to release him.

Davy scrambled to his feet. “Xavier’s been poisoned. Dr. Connors says to come at once!”

Book 4
Well Kept Secrets
Free with Amazon Kindle Unlimited
L’il Pete’s mum is murdered,
and discovering who & why reveals a great deal of secrets.

Need to catch up?
Book 1
The Troublesome Apprentice
The greatest sleuth in Victorian England hires a young man
who turns out to be a young woman.
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 romantic detour for Jacko. Want to see how amply rewarded Jacko was when he & Vic save an old woman from Bedlam?

 The Mesmerist can control people from afar and make them murder for her. Worse yet, Xavier Thorn has fallen under her spell.
All Xavier books Free with Amazon Unlimited

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 Lover— Two 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 & Unabashed—The 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.



Investigate these sites:

Liza's Blog and Website   Facebook   Twitter

Enter this great giveaway for e-books, note cards, 
and an autographed print copy of Dawnflight!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

All this month, you are invited to...
— Follow Kim on Twitter
— Add Kim to Google+
— Subscribe to Kim's YouTube channel
— Leave a comment on this blog, especially if you have done the Twitter and/or YouTube follow
...and each action this month is good for one chance to win an e-book copy of Dawnflight. Please enter often, and good luck!


  1. Thanks for having Alice over.She's very smart, sweet and calm. I'm not worried if Jacko confesses he kissed Vic, which he probably will when they talk, because she'll understand...or I hope she will. She should...I think.

    1. You're welcome!
      If I hear anything... compromising... I promise I will be discreet.
      X my heart! :D

  2. Oh no... I know Alice values Vic and won't hold it against her but I hope she doesn't get too angry at Jacko. Alice is one of my favorite characters so far in this series. She's so down to earth!

  3. She is, isn't she. She is the woman I wish I could be.


Scribble a note on the wall of the Maze so you can find your way out again... ;-)