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Deadly Dames. Saturday 12th November, 7.30pm at Crown House on the St Leonards sea front

Deadly Dames. Saturday 12th November, 7.30pm at Crown House on the St Leonards sea front


Deadly Dames. A 1940s cabaret with a female twist

HOT’s Judy Parkinson, all glammed up in a pencil skirt, high heels, red lipstick and matching nails, stepped back in time for an appointment with acclaimed local author Helen Jacey.

Miss Jacey will be hosting a jazzy, 1940s vintage-inspired cabaret night with a distinctly female twist to celebrate the publication of her latest book in the Elvira Slate Investigations detective series, Dead Language and Other Stories.

Elvira Slate smashes every stereotype known to woman and cracks crime with a female gaze and a handbag loaded with attitude. According to Miss Jacey, “Elvira is the noir anti-heroine we’ve been missing – for a very long time.”

Miss Parkinson wanted to find out more about Miss Jacey’s ballsy heroine. “Elvira was born to a British woman and an unknown GI,” explains Miss Jacey. “Abandoned by her mother aged six, she suffers what we now call PTSD from her rocky upbringing in an orphanage and reform school. She takes up with a gangster and gets banged up for most of WW2. She trusts no-one, she’s cynical yet vulnerable, takes risks and cuts through the bullshit. She is the antithesis of a respectable 1940s lady, flying in the face of everything polite society stands for. Elvira Slate is in her mid-twenties when the book series begins, and she solves crimes in her own convention-busting style.”

This new collection of noir novelettes, Dead Language and Other Stories, promises more mesmerising mysterious mini-cases for Elvira Slate. Miss Jacey will be signing copies of the book and giving the audience a glimpse into her genre blending creative process with a talk on ‘Greek Myths and 1940s Female Gumshoes’, exploring the inspiration behind the five stories in her new book.

Helen Jacey

Helen Jacey

“I grew up in South London and always wanted to write, but life had other plans until I studied Screenwriting in London twenty years ago,” Miss Jacey tells Miss Parkinson. “Since then, I’ve been writing professionally, script editing, story coaching and teaching screenwriting. My book on creating female characters for the screen, The Woman in the Story: Writing Memorable Female Characters was first published in 2010, before the sea change in the representation of diversity on our screens, and the book reached writers and filmmakers far and wide. I became a story consultant and trained filmmakers all over the world. In my masterclasses I often ask, ‘What have you not seen a woman be or see in a film?’ – people would come up with very long lists. Personally I had never seen an ex-con female character become a private eye in Old Hollywood, so creating Elvira Slate, an ex-con from London turned private eye, was me walking my talk. I wanted to overturn the ubiquitous 1940s femme fatale character with a psychologically complex woman who is both resilient and troubled.

“Interestingly, there was a diaspora of South Londoners – Ida Lupino, Charlie Chaplin, Claude Rains – who all migrated to Hollywood. Even Raymond Chandler went to Dulwich College! Elvira Slate is a fictional part of this ex pat tradition.”

Miss Jacey is the founder of Shedunnit Productions which creates original stories with a distinctive female point of view across all media. The Elvira Slate Investigations series includes two books, Jailbird Detective and Chipped Pearls.

Headlining the evening’s entertainment will be award-winning saxophonist Charlotte Glasson who leads her all-female trio Swingshifters, to set the scene with American jazz, jive and swing interwoven with Latin tunes from the era. Special guest appearances from vocalists Loretta Heywood and Babs Savage complete the musical line up.

Charlotte Glasson has appeared on the BBC documentary Dancing Cheek to Cheek, performing for Len Goodman and Lucy Worsley. She is a multi-instrumentalist, band leader and session player, performing with artists from Nick Cave, Roxy Music and Oasis to The Latin Soul Brothers, Sophie Ellis-Bextor and the late Will Gaines. She performs at jazz festivals and in venues across the world. For Deadly Dames, she will be joined by pianist Hilary Cameron and Marianne Windham on double bass making special guest appearances.

All this and more will be seamlessly hosted by Lisa Harmer, aka Reba T, a badass gangster character from the Elvira Slate books. She will preside over a killer-diller Femme Fatale Murder Mystery Quiz, tantalising the audience with clues, introducing special guests and keeping proceedings in strict order. Get those pencils sharpened!

Get togged up in your glad rags and sashay on down. Grab a complimentary cocktail at the door and shake your tail feathers on the dance floor. And don’t forget to ask Miss Jacey to sign a copy of her new book.


Saturday, 12th November 2022, 7.30pm

The Regency Rooms, Crown House, St Leonards on Sea TN38 0BE

Tickets £16 plus booking fee:

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Posted 23:40 Wednesday, Oct 26, 2022 In: One Long Party

Also in: One Long Party

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