I well recall my first encounter with Violet Meeks, although I did not know her name at the time. She stood among the tombs, as quiet and pensive as if she were a stone angel. Only her eyes betrayed her vitality, watching me as I passed between the lichgate and the rectory.
Violet Meeks appears in the story “A Man of Vice” by Peter and Alexandra Freeman, published in The New Hero Volume 1.
The unnamed narrator of Peter Freeman’s “Violet Meeks” is a quæstor, a lay official of the Anglican church who acts as a Victorian-era forensic accountant, investigating the alleged financial peculations of rectors, vicars and bishops. Here he recalls the events linking the strange suicide of the Rector Piers Myton to complaints regarding the conduct of Reverend Saul Bulmer, newly installed at the parish of St. Petroc’s in the Diocese of Bodmin. Central to his account is the titular character, a serving girl whose striking eyes belie her quiet, pensive demeanor.
Peter Freeman conceived this story with his young daughter Alexandra during a country hike. He goes beyond pastiche to fully inhabit its Victorian style. Peter’s alternate Victorian era is steam-powered but scarcely punkish, with nary a goggle in sight. What lurks behind his ecclesiastical facade are ways much older than that. As you read “Violet Meeks”, ask yourself to what extent it cheats the project brief. In one reading, it is an origin story, and hence verboten. But that depends on who you select as the iconic hero…
Peter Freeman was born in London, educated at Oxford and is still alive. He has now been a professional writer for fifteen years, producing over a hundred works on all manner of subjects and under more than a dozen different pseudonyms. His output has varied from writing cartoon strip text for Punch Magazine, through fantasy, humour, detective fiction and erotica to non-fiction on everything between recycling equipment and unexpected sexual practises. For him, this story was very much a case of coming home to early influences. (Alexandra Freeman is his daughter and has an imagination perhaps more vivid still.)
All New Hero artwork by Gene Ha.
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