Tessa Arlen is the author of the critically acclaimed Lady Montfort mystery series—Death of a Dishonorable Gentleman was a finalist for the 2016 Agatha Award Best First Novel. She is also the author of Poppy Redfern: A Woman of World War II mystery series. And the author of the historical fictions; “In Royal Service to the Queen” and available July 5, 2022 “A Dress of Violet Taffeta.”
Tessa lives in the Southwest with her family and two corgis where she gardens in summer and writes in winter.
When Tessa was asked why she chose to write historical fiction she admitted that history was the only subject in her English boarding school, apart from literature, that held any genuine interest or that she was particularly good at. She admits that she was a terrible student: a real day-dreamer!
Her father was a career diplomat which meant the family lived everywhere—until Tessa was nine and sent back to England for a ‘proper’ education. The contrast between her boarding school at the top of a windy hill in the Chilterns with its drafty dormitories and frightful food was a stark one compared to her earlier life in the vivid warmth of the tropics. She was in such culture shock she simply disappeared into her own world for four years; rescued from complete academic disaster by her history teacher, Elfreda, Lady Neale. Tessa recalls that Lady Neale was a strange old lady: “She was tall and rather stooped with straight iron-gray hair. She spoke in such a low tone we had difficulty hearing her, and would crane forward in our seats. She certainly made those ancient centuries live for us! She was very fond of telling us that history was simply ‘very old gossip.'” Tessa has been a fascinated amateur historian ever since.