I literally just finished Mortal End: A Simmering Pit Of Jiggery Pokery and let me just say that this was a great novel.
Love how it intertwines with fairy tales (especially Hensel and Grettle.) So my question is this: how is this based off of a true story?
I would be very interested in learning why because the mystery was really fascinating. Thank you.
A: Hello Booknerd,
Thank you so much for not only reading Mortal End but for also giving me great feedback and asking this particular question.
As mentioned, my starting off point for the book was wondering about the wicked witch in the Grimm fairytale of Hansel & Gretel; who was she and why did she want to eat children? Obviously something must have happened to the ‘witch’ in order for her to end up being so evil and unpleasant, so I did a little research into evil and unpleasant real life characters and interwove certain elements of those stories into the Mortal End story line.
One of those real life characters was an actual couple from the UK; Fred and Rosemary West. They tortured, raped and murdered numerous young women, including their own daughter. A great deal of the book that I read about them put an emphasis on their childhoods, especially Rosemary’s, as having very much created who and what they then did as adults and the fact that certain behaviour not only seemed ‘normal,’ but also inevitable. My character Beliala was born into such a family and it was the treatment that she received growing up that created the monster that she later became.
Another person I researched was a woman called Amelia Dyer, who was the most prolific baby farm murderer of Victorian England. For decades she ‘fostered’ hundreds of babies, pocketed the money and the children were never seen again.
Hope that answers your question.