Seton asked me to explain my “Strip Piquet” scene in The Wagering Widow.
For the one or two of you who may not have read The Wagering Widow by Diane Gaston, my alter ego, this book told the story of Emily and Guy who enter into a hasty marriage, each thinking the other would provide them financial security and both discovering that they have not a feather to fly with. Guy needs money to save his crumbling estate and the people who depend on him; Emily needs money to escape a marriage to this gambler like her father. Both turn to one London gaming hell to gamble their way to a fortune. Emily wears a disguise, but Guy recognizes his wife immediately, even though his shy, timid wife masquerades as Lady Widow. She does not know he has guessed her identity when he proposes a private game of piquet. They play “strip piquet” losing one piece of clothing for every hand lost.
I loved the idea of “strip poker” for my characters, but poker was not a Regency era game. For Guy and Emily, I needed a card game of both skill and chance for them to play, a game that could lead to a loss of clothing….and more.
I’d first heard of Piquet when reading Georgette Heyer’s Faro’s Daughter. It seemed the perfect game, so I went looking on the Internet for instructions on how to play Piquet.
I found several sites willing to explain the game of Piquet, a card game that has been in existence since 1650. The problem was, I could not understand any of them. The instructions talked about exchanges of cards, declarations, winning tricks, making Repique and piquet, crossing the Rubicon, a partie and on and on. Players were requires to call out their points and remember them. All the terminology was in French.
My husband is not a card player so I had no one to play the game with to try to learn these incomprehensible rules and French words, by attempting to follow the rules. I kept reading site after site to try to find one that really explained the game enough so I could make my characters play it.
I finally discovered Meggiesoft Games, an online card game site which had a computer version of Piquet with a 30 day free download. I downloaded the game, took the tutorial which actually showed what to do, and I played the game over and over and over until I felt like I understood it. I even used the computer game to provide the details for the Strip Piquet scene. I played on the computer and recorded what cards Emily and Guy were holding as they were removing shoes, stockings, dress, shirt, corset, pantaloons……
Meggiesoft Games also had a game called German Whist, a two player version of Whist that helped me understand and write the games of whist in The Wagering Widow. I was a little wary of downloading to my computer but I had no problems at all with the site or its products. Pretty soon I was playing Piquet and Whist when I should have been writing.
Madame Bisou is the owner of the gaming hell where Emily and Guy play their seductive game of Piquet. Madame Bisou appears again in A Reputable Rake, along with Sloane, who was the villain in A Wagering Widow but who becomes a reformed rake in the next book. Madame Bisou also appears in Innocence and Impropriety by Diane Gaston, the love story for Rose from A Reputable Rake.
Innocence and Impropriety is available now from eHarlequin.com in North America and Mills and Boon in the UK. If you prefer to wait for it to appear at your local bookstore, it will arrive March 1.
My websites are in transition and may not be up to date, but if you want to read an excerpt, there is one at Amazon.com.
There you go, Seton. My explanation of Strip Piquet. In Innocence and Impropriety, you will visit Vauxhall Gardens and the King’s Theatre, as well as returning to Madame Bisou’s.
I wondered how you wrote those scenes. Now I know. It’s so much more complicated than I expected! LOL! I must admit, I truly appreciate a writer who does their homework!
Thanks a whole bunch, Diane, for the link to Meggiesoft Games. Luckily, the Riskies also have a resident card sharp, er, expert in Cara.
My I&I should be here this week. I’m so excited!
My homework, Judy! It became a great time waster. I’d play Piquet or Whist endlessly!
Keira, you MUST let me know what you think of I & I. Judy is one of the few who has read it!
And I devoured it! 🙂
I have a piquet game in something I’m writing, and I figured out it was somewhere between whist and poker, so I could see how this would work. I sort of fudged my way through the game itself and concentrated on what happens when the heroine (who is heavily in debt already) finds out she now owes the hero fifteen guineas and he, uh, demands satisfaction.
I figured out it was somewhere between whist and poker
It’s really not much like poker, notwithstanding the pairs and runs. It’s more like a two-player game that’s half gin rummy, and half whist.
I remember that scene well Diane, and really loved it. I do like cards too, and it’s fun to read those things in stories as well. Especially when you can get to see a handsome mans nice backside! 😉
Alas I’m awaiting to get ahold of your book I&I too and read it. I’m happy that it’s finally out! 🙂
Best Wishes! Mallory, (who likes to shock handsome men by suggesting they come play a game of Strip Piquet with her) ;)-jk
Thanks so much Diane on today’s post on Strip Piquet. I had no idea that you went to so much trouble for this scene. I never thought much about the intricacies of piquet when I come across piquet gambling in regencies. Besides the excellent FARO’S DAUGHTER that you mentioned, the other older regency that I think of when i think of piquet is the Alix Melbourne’s REGENCY MISS. Thanks again and like Keira, I also have a copy of I&I on the way to me.
This scene sounds like it was a blast to write, Diane!
It sure sounds like this scene is a heck of a lot fun, to do and to read (most especially!!) Hope I can pick it up sometime soon! 🙂
Keira and Seton, I’m thrilled you have already ordered I&I! Hope you like it.
The scene was a blast to write after I got over my terror of having to figure out the game. It also has all those lovely French terms for the characters to call out–now I’m calling them lovely! Before it was, “what the h*ll is Repique?”
Lois, I’m sure you can find A Wagering Widow, but only used at this point. Ebay always has some. And Amazon.com has used ones. I liked that heroine–Emily–a lot. And Sloane, the hero of A Reputable Rake, made his appearance and refused not to be sexy so I had to give him his own book.
You know I missed this the first time I read through the comments. It was only on my second pass through that I noticed that Mallory said…
Especially when you can get to see a handsome mans nice backside! Best Wishes! Mallory, (who likes to shock handsome men by suggesting they come play a game of Strip Piquet with her)
Mallory, do you live in Washington state perchance? Or driving distance from here?
Thank you so much for your nice comments about my Strip Piquet scene!
Keira, The place I stay whilst in the USA is quite a far ways from there. Not sure how long though. 🙂
Diane thanks, I’m looking forward to geting your new book in, anxious to read it, feels like it’s taking forever to get it. 🙂
Strip Piquet, eh?