I’m off on a frolic some evenings, writing a historical mystery series set in the Regency. My main protagonist is Lady Violet, a widow of means with a penchant for getting into trouble. I’m only into the second book, so Violet and I are just getting to know each other, and the first things to strike me are some of her weaknesses. She’s working on a case of agoraphobia, for example. She’s also a little OCD about some things, which can make her a pain in the behonkis as well as a good investigator.
I’m trundling down this path in part because I enjoy reading historical mysteries. Captain Gabriel Lacey is my book boyfriend, Thomas and Charlotte Pitt scratch my Victorian itch, Charles Lenox scratches my other Victorian itch, and, and, and… If you like historical mysteries too, you’ve probably come across C.S. Harris’s Sebastian St. Cyr Regency mystery series. (Has smoochin’ in it!)
From the first book, Sebastian exhibits a combination of traits that make him well suited to sleuthing. He has very quick reflexes, astonishingly keen hearing, and excellent vision particularly in low light. His eyes are golden, and highly sensitive to light. Madam Author very, very cleverly gave her protagonist superpowers before they were popular by conferring upon him a case of Bithil’s syndrome. This is a genetic mutation found in some Welsh family lines, and the author’s daughter has a particularly robust form of the symptoms.
From a plotting perspective, Sebastian’s superpowers get him into and out of trouble. He hears things he’s not supposed to, sees things others can’t discern, and gets the side-eye when he’s trying to fit in. Like a lot of people with superpowers, he didn’t realize he was different until later in childhood, and the moment stands out in his mind.
Which of course led me to a question: Do I have a superpower? (Other than the ability to make good dark chocolate disappear.)
I think I do, though it’s hard to describe. I can yeah-but anything. You tell me God once destroyed the earth with a Great Flood and I will come back with, “Very sad business, but we got the rainbow out of that deal, and Mr. and Mrs. Noah had a ton (literally) of fertilizer ready to go when it was time to start over, and I bet they got some quality couple time in during those forty nights…”
You tell me being fat is unhealthy and I will tell you that as body mass index increases, the use of antidepressants goes down as does the rate of successful suicides. The two-party system can lead to power swings and entrenched conflict but the multi-party system can result in a minority calling the shots. I have always had this ability to think in dichotomies and counter-examples. As a kid it got me in trouble. As an attorney, it got me a lot of results for my clients.
I believe everybody has superpowers, and that those qualities are usually part blessing and part burden. I still have to figure out what Lady Violet’s superpower is, but I’m also interested in YOUR superpower. Do you have one? More than one? Is it a mixed blessing or purely a boon? To one commenter, I’ll send a $50 Amazon e-gift card.
PS: If one of your superpowers is reviewing books, and you’d like an advanced reader file for A Lady of True Distinction, please email me at email@example.com.