Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Sick of Shadows - Marion Chesney

Lady Rose Summer couldn’t be more delighted to assist Society’s most beautiful new debutante Miss Dolly Tremaine in negotiating her very first Season. Now engaged to Captain Harry Cathcart in order to avoid being shipped off to India, Rose is desperate to do something more useful than attend endless balls and parties. And the country-bred Dolly was totally at sea—and needed all the help Rose could give. But when Rose rushes to prevent Dolly from making a disastrous mistake, she discovers her stabbed to death and floating in a boat on the Serpentine River. And it isn’t long before Rose barely survives an attempt on her own life. Now, Rose and Harry’s race to uncover the secrets of Dolly’s life is stirring up a hornet’s nest of deceptions and devilish schemes from London’s most exclusive townhouses to the seemingly-peaceful Yorkshire coast. And a cunning murderer is only a breath away from burying the truth—and the persistent Lady Rose—with one devastating stroke...

I had a lot of fun reading this third entry in Marion Chesney's Edwardian Mystery series. Like in the previous books the mystery is actually only part of the charm as the story also deals with the relationship between the main characters - Lady Rose Summer and Captain Harry Cathcart - whose misunderstandings and continuous banter always brings a smile to my face, the situation of women, the contrast between the living conditions of the upper and lower orders as with several other aspects of the Edwardian society.

Although this is a mystery I think the main thing here is Rose and Harry's relationship and how Rose is growing from a naive young lady to someone with more substance. Rose and Harry planned a fake engagement to prevent her from being shipped to India by her parents. However Harry is very involved in his detective work and more often than not can't escort Rose to the social functions her family is invited to. This leads to much gossip and to Rose and her parent’s distress.

Regarding the mystery in this story Rose befriends a young woman who is found murdered a few days later. Rose is the one who discovers the body and soon after there's an attempt on her life as the killer(s) seems to believe she knows more than she actually does. Her family decides she must go away to a secret location in the country with only her companion and Inspector Kerridge suggests they go to a family he knows where Rose starts by being a bit of a spoiled brat but ends up doing some growing up.

The best part of the story for me is the relationship between the characters and Chesney funny humor. Especially Rose and Harry's on-again, off again engagement and their many misunderstandings but also their dealings with Daisy and Beckett and everyone else around them. Rose is bored an unhappy without Harry in attendance but he doesn't seem to understand that all would be solved by giving her more of his attention (which deep down he would really like to). While I much enjoyed their banter and misconceptions about each other I hope Chesney doesn't keep them like this in future books, they make up in the end so hopefully they'll stay that way in the next book.

This is a light and fun series that gives you an insight on the Edwardian period and while being labeled as cosy mysteries there's no doubt that the characters and their involvement with each other takes center stage and the mystery is kept as a secondary thing. I can't wait to get to the next one!

Grade: 4/5

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