I stumbled across a reference to a Kolinsky coat in a short story by Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald. The image stuck with me and made its way into Let’s Misbehave, where the heroine possesses a fur coat made of Kolinsky hair.

While the idea of real fur coats appals me, I can’t deny that fur in all its forms was a popular fashion accessory for centuries, and never more so than in the early part of the twentieth century when owning such an item just screamed wealth. Kolinsky is another name for the russet-coloured Siberian weasel, a member of the Mink family, whose winter fur still provides the hairs for the finest artists’ brushes available (often incorrectly known as Kolinsky sable brushes).

While the Kolinsky does not necessarily need to give its life in order to provide fur, these animals are seldom farmed for their pelts, as they require the cold climate of Siberia and northern China to grow the lush, thick coats they’re renowned for. So they are caught by trappers and sadly either the traps themselves, or the cold they are exposed to while stuck in the traps, usually kills them.

My heroine, Gabrielle, is soft-hearted. I’m sure if she’d known, the coat wouldn’t even have lasted as long as the admirer who gave it to her.