In today’s blog I would like to return again to my published novel The Lady in Red and take a look at the title character of the novel. Who, precisely, is The Lady in Red and what part does she play in proceedings? The answer to this is that she is a beautiful woman who goes by the name of Charlotte Rothersby. She plays an integral role is everything that goes on within the pages of the book.
She is a married woman whose husband is a well-respected mill owner in the locality. When she goes missing it does not go unnoticed. Her husband makes enquiries, trying to find out what happened to her. He is a man with a lot of influence in the neighbourhood. When he speaks people listen. He has a lot of financial pull also and he uses this power to try to find the answers he is looking for.
Of course, it transpires she is yet one more victim of the Farley and Dreghorn Murderers’ Incorporated business venture which has accounted for the lives of so many other innocent victims. However, unlike some of their other victims Charlotte will not die easily. The murder itself is straightforward enough. After all, what chance does a woman have when faced with the infamy of two robust men? However, this is merely the start of their relations with her. This occurs differently to them. However, in both cases it is Charlotte’s ghost which plays a leading part in the action.
When young Paul Stanley starts having dreams about the long-dead villain who is Jack Farley, it is not long before Charlotte comes under his attention. When she does the young boy starts viewing the horror which is going on all around him in a very different way. Where previously he thought he was facing up to an adversary which was much too strong for him, he now sees that he is not on his own. Charlotte is quick to assure him on this point. She appears to him and his two good friends Alan Johns and Stephen Carr to bring comfort to them when they most need it.
As the novel progresses, Charlotte proves her worth. She is a strong woman. She was so in life and she retains this strength in her spirit form. She is filled with determination that Jack Farley will not continue to torment innocent victims. He was able to do this in his mortal guise but Charlotte has a plan which she believes will be effective in ending his reign of terror as he returns to the scenes of his former crimes as a ghost.
Charlotte knows this will not be an easy task to fulfil. It will take a lot of striving on her part, of hitting at Jack’s weak points and evading the strong thrusts of evil intent he will be sending her way. It will prove to be a classic battle between her good intentions and Jack’s sinister aims. But she is convinced she will be the one left standing when the dust has settled.
When she comes back as a ghost and discovers Jack is not merely intent on continuing his murdering spree but is going after even more innocent victims than his former ones, she is filled with even greater determination to halt him in his tracks. She soon discovers he has set his attentions on children such as Paul Stanley, Stephen Carr and Alan Johns. This is something she will not tolerate. She will not see young boys falling foul of his infamy without doing something about it. No, he has to be stopped and she knows she is the only one who can bring a halt to his unruly practices.
It is Paul who christens Charlotte with the title of The Lady in Red. She is touched when she hears of this but she proves herself more than adequate in living up to this name. She is most certainly a lady through and through. She had not deserved to die so cruelly as she had done. But she she is keen to prove that Jack Farley’s murderous activities will come at a price. She will do everything in her power to send him back to where he belongs: Hell itself.
The Stanley family as a whole soon come under Charlotte’s influence and receive much inner strength from having her by their side. She seems to radiate assurance from every pore of her being which the Stanleys need at their time of collective trial. Each member of their household has been touched by Jack Farley’s malicious intent in one form or another. Having Charlotte in their corner is therefore a big plus for them. Here is a woman who suffered at Farley’s hands in her own time. Even though this was a very long time ago the memories she retains of the moments leading up to her death are still very vivid. She will use the strength of these memories as she works to ensure Farley’s days of glorying in his wanton cruelty are coming to an end.
Charlotte will show how resourceful she is as she prepares to go head to head with Farley. There are some small skirmishes between them as the novel heads towards its conclusion. But nothing can compare to the battle which rages on in the final pages of the novel as the storyline works up to the climactic ending. Throughout it all even Farley has to admit that Charlotte is a deserved adversary. She will be able to surprise him on occasion with her tenacity, but will it be enough to get the better of him?