The keeper of the dishes

Having become a little bogged down in my latest novel, I’ve decided to go back to the beginning and read it through and try and pull it together, hoping it will spur me on with the next part. The story is another in the life and investigations of Thomas Radwinter – this time his family are away and he has taken on a very different sort of commission, to research the genealogy of a very wealthy family. The story is in essence a country house murder mystery.

As usual, Tomas’s mind wanders, and he thinks of his family…

Scullery, Kylie laughs when I call it that, but what else would it be? It’s been in use for over five hundred years, and what else would you call ‘the household department concerned with the care of kitchen utensils’. It comes, as with so many domestic words connected to looking after a house, from the French, escuelerie, which was the office of the servant in charge of plates etc. – I guess office as in a room where it happens, and office as in position or job. The Old French was escuelier, and he was the keeper of the dishes! The Keeper of the Dishes! Imagine that, it sounds like something from a fantasy film, doesn’t it! In turn it comes from the Latin meaning dish…  It even became a surname.
Bonjour, je suis Monsiur Esculier!” … oh and the word scuttle as in cold scuttle comes from the same root… does anyone have coal scuttles these days?
I headed straight back to the library (library – from the French librarie), to have a look at the boxes. Before I’d come, when talking to Sonja about how I’d work, she’d asked me if the library would be suitable. Yes, wow, yes, more than suitable – thinking it might be a discrete room full of books, never imagining I’d end up in something like this!  I’d asked for a separate table as well as a desk  – not realising that the desk would be bigger than the one my boss had when I worked for the solicitors’ (soliciteurs) in Strand – my boss called Gerald (old French, Giralt… I must stop now…)

I can see why my cousins think that Thomas is based on me, even though he’s a man and a good deal younger than me… I didn’t consciously think this when I started writing about him, in fact I had no idea until my family mentioned it!

here is a link to the other stories about the mysteries he is commissioned to investigate:




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