I am currently working on a novel (I'n my spare time, undergrad here) but I am really unsure about a couple ethical matters and possible copyright infringement. In the style of Arturo Perez Reverte's "The Club Dumas," I am incorporating a historical piece of literature (written in 1899) as the inspiration for the murders of my main antagonist. I would really like to leave messages from the book within the various murder scenes, and have my detective reference the book throughout the novel in an attempt to solve the murders. Is there anyone who can tell me if I am stepping on an legal water? Second, while the city I set my novel in is fictional, it will be based off high 19th century England and France during the time of their colonial empires. I really want to explore the themes of imperialism and colonialism without drawing the usual condemnation of these two nations in particular. Is fictionalizing the locals and nationality of the characters (both the imperial center and the colonial country) a good way of avoiding that? I think it may give me more freedom - does any body know of any works that have fictionalized this period well (not pure fantasy, but a fictional place and people based on a certain period)? I have read many Guy Gavriel Kay novels which essentially do this, but I was wondering if there were any in the European Imperial era of history. Sorry for the long request. Thanks for reading.