Meet Author Louise Hare Author Of Miss Aldridge Regrets

Glamour, sex, Soho and murder make an intoxicating mix in Louise Hare's second historical crime thriller, Miss Aldridge Regrets.  Her heroine, Lena Aldridge, is travelling in first class on the Queen Mary from London to New York, but also on that ship is a murderer ...

Read on to find out why Hare has written the book she wanted ro read; her attraction to history, her writing routine and tips for writing twisty plots. Plus who is her favourite golden age detective?

You can download the ebook of It Ends at Midnight from Amazon or buy the hardback from Thriller Women's list at NB: if you buy books through this link we may earn a commission from, whose fees support independent bookshops.

Book cover of Miss Aldridge Regrets by Louise Hare

TW: Miss Aldridge Regrets is a thrilling ocean ride! Congratulations on your second book. How did the character of Lena Aldridge come to life for you?

LH: Lena started out as a woman onstage in a jazz club in my first novel, This Lovely City. For some reason she stuck in my head even though she’s only mentioned in passing. I then wrote a short story about a murder in a jazz club, featuring Lena, but everyone who read it wanted to know what happened to her afterwards. By that point I was interested enough in Lena to want to find out myself.

TW: The novel takes us back to the days of glamour between the World Wars, but also shows the sleazy side of Soho. What did you enjoy about juxtaposing the two worlds?

LH: I wanted Lena to be a fish out of water. She has aspirations to be an actress and so it feels like a role to her. She’s come from nothing but she’s met and spent time with wealthy people before so she knows how to act around them. What I love about 1930s Soho is that everyone went there looking for a good time. You’d find the upper classes mingling with people who didn’t have two pennies to rub together. I liked how different that was to the Queen Mary which was very segregated. If you were in Third Class you couldn’t visit the First Class sections of the ship, for example.

TW: When a murderer is on a cruise ship they can't escape. How did you work out the twists and turns of your version of a 'locked room' mystery?

LH: I confess that I’m not a plotter! What I do though is place some markers, so I know at what point ‘something’ needs to happen. I used to struggle with structure until I read the book Into the Woods by John Yorke. I use his five-act structure from the beginning and that really helps me. I also had the time factor to think of. I picked an actual sailing of the Queen Mary so I had the departure date and time from Southampton and the arrival into New York. Everything had to take place within that timeframe.

TW; Which of the classic golden age crime writers inspired you?

LH: Obviously, Agatha Christie! I’m a huge Poirot fan and I’ve read most of the books and seen every episode of David Suchet’s Poirot on TV. Glamour and murder is the perfect combination! She’s not golden age but I also love Patricia Highsmith because her characters are so interesting. Flawed and yet you root for them.

TW: Why are you attracted delving into history for your thrillers?

LH: The history came first for me. I love reading historical fiction, both crime and otherwise, but I wanted to read a historical novel that featured Black characters – not just a token servant or slave character but someone who had agency and a proper narrative arc. They say that if the book you want to read doesn’t exist then you should write it yourself. That’s what I’ve done!

TW: Do you write full time and what's your writing routine?

LH: I split my time between writing my own stuff and doing freelance work. I do coaching, mentoring and editing for writers of historical fiction. My routine has been a bit up in the air thanks to the pandemic. Rather than forcing myself to write at a particular time of day, I set myself daily or weekly word count targets. I always need to be working to a deadline as otherwise I find it difficult to get motivated!

TW: What do you read for pleasure?

LH: Always fiction, but I read widely. Historical, crime, contemporary… as long as there’s a good story I don’t mind. I’m really into fantasy at the moment as well and I’m working my way through Sarah J. Maas’s backlist.

TW: What are you writing now and will be meeting Lena Aldridge again?

LH: Lena will be back! I’m editing the follow up novel which continues her adventures from her arrival in New York. There’s no title yet but hopefully it’ll be out next year.

Quick fire questions:

TW: Travel by cruise or airplane? 

LH: Plane.

TW: Jazz or pop? 

LH: Jazz, if these are the two options. I also love a bit of metal. A good movie soundtrack is great for writing, and I’ve been listening to a lot of flamenco- influenced music recently.

TW: Time period you wish you could have lived in? 

LH: I’d love to visit Victorian London but I’m not sure I’d want to live there. I like modern comforts too much!

TW: Book you're reading at the moment? 

LH: House of Sky and Breath by Sarah J. Maas.

TW: Favourite cocktail? 

LH: Dark and storm.

Thanks Louise!

Photo of Louise Hare, author of Miss Aldridge Regrets

Exclusive extract from Miss Aldridge Regrets:


The doorman barely glanced at me as I approached, slipping past him and down the stairs into the basement club, the stale air thick with cigarette smoke. No one here knew who I was; no one cared. It was a risk, but I’d had to come. The wig that concealed my real hair, the long trench coat that hung almost to my ankles, the glasses from a dress-up box, they lent to me a new persona. My own mother wouldn’t have recognised me, let alone Lena Aldridge. She may have possessed both common sense and ambition, but from what I’d learned about her, she rarely used the two together.

Why else would she still be working at the Canary Club?

The place was a dive but it was packed. The drinks were cheap and the clientele was mostly made up of young couples, none of whom gave me a second glance. I lurked at the back of the room, out of place without a companion by my side. The club wasn’t as sleazy as I’d expected, a pleasant surprise. Apart from the owner that is. I could see Tommy Scarsdale, sitting right at the front where I’d been told he would be, on show for the crowd. A too-young girl leaned into him and he gave her a sloppy-looking kiss.
He was more than old enough to be her father. He deserved everything coming to him.

I slid behind a table in the back, out of sight, as Lena was announced to the stage. I’d heard so much about her that seeing her for the first time, it was as though I already knew her. I ordered a drink from a girl whose skirt was short enough to show off her stocking tops. The waitress’s cheeks were rouged like a clown and her caked mascara had begun to flake in the steam caused by a low ceiling and damp weather, every newcomer laden down with a wet coat and a sodden umbrella to add to the humidity.

Lena can sing, I’ll give her that. Her dress was cheap and she looked like she’d rather be somewhere – anywhere – else, but every man in the audience was watching her, most of the women too. What must that feel like, to hold sixty or so random strangers in the palm of your hand? A temporary sort of power, but still…

Two couples were trying to force themselves into a space made for one, the girlfriends giggling as they shared the spare chair at my table.

‘Here,’ I offered my table, standing up as I pushed my untouched drink away. ‘I’m leaving in a moment anyway.’ They smiled and thanked me, then lost interest. I loitered by the exit, my heart beating hard, in time to the drums on stage. Not long now. As long as everything went to plan.

I watched Tommy Scarsdale knock back his drink. An Old Fashioned, to which he had added his own sprinkling of cyanide. A green-bound Agatha Christie novel from Hatchards on Piccadilly gave me the idea, the best sixpence I’d ever spent. It wasn’t long before he realised something was wrong, his hand clutching at his neck, ripping at his tie, trying to catch a breath. It was over quickly, not that I could see. Being right at the back, those closer stood to get a better look at the dying man. Macabre, really.

It didn’t matter that I couldn’t see the man on the floor, that I had to imagine his body seizing in the throes of death. I could see Lena just fine. The horror on her face, the realisation that this man she had despised, had so often wished dead, was dying right before her. She stood there, frozen to the spot, then looked across at her friend, the new widow, their eyes meeting. Shared guilt.

The first doorman charged down the stairs and began to push his way through the crowd. When the second doorman appeared, I slipped past him while his back was turned and ran lightly up the steps before anyone could stop me. Outside, the rain had ceased. I took it as a sign of my good fortune continuing and walked home on a cloud of jubilation. I’d done it. I’d actually pulled it off.

There was no turning back now.

More about Miss Aldridge Regrets:

London, 1936

Lena Aldridge is wondering if life has passed her by. The dazzling theatre career she hoped for hasn't worked out. Instead, she's stuck singing in a sticky-floored basement club in Soho and her married lover has just left her. She has nothing to look forward to until a stranger offers her the chance of a lifetime: a starring role on Broadway and a first-class ticket on the Queen Mary bound for New York.

After a murder at the club, the timing couldn't be better and Lena jumps at the chance to escape England. Until death follows her onto the ship and she realises that her greatest performance has already begun.

Because someone is making manoeuvres behind the scenes, and there's only one thing on their mind...



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