When I began to write the Mary Russell books, my dates were more or less given me by Conan Doyle’s stories. The latest setting for any of them is the beginning of the Great War, August 1914. The Sherlock Holmes stories written after that are all set before the war, with, I was to find, good reason: The England that emerged after November 1918 was not the same country at all; similarly, the Victorian detective about whom Sir Arthur wrote would not be the same at all, either.
The door which the war shut in Conan Doyle’s face, however, magically opened in mine. My character, unlike his, was a person of the new century, come to age in the time of great guns across the Channel.
Politics of Europe between the wars
For a survey of Britain in the 19th and 20th centuries, click here
What northern England was like in the 20s and 30s, click here
For a look at what women did during the Great War, go here and here
On civilian life during the First World War
And for The Great War itself