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*****= An all-time favorite
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***Snobbery With Violence

by Marion Chesney

Reviewed October 9, 2003.
St. Martin’s Minotaur, New York, 2003.  226 pages.
A Sonderbooks’ Stand-out of 2003:  #7, Mystery and Adventure

Something unusual happened this week, and the book rental company sent our library books we hadn’t ordered.  Among those books was a book by Marion Chesney, with a note on the back that she also writes under the name M. C. Beaton.

I like M. C. Beaton’s Hamish MacBeth books and had been meaning to try one of her Agatha Raisin books.  When I opened this book and saw it dealing with lords and ladies of England, I thought it sounded like a lot of fun and that I could just take it home for the weekend and read it before I found out if I needed to send it back to the book rental company.  (Hooray!  We don’t!)

The story was great fun, another lovely British “cozy” mystery.  Captain Harry Cathcart has come back from the Boer War in low spirits.  He’s offered a job by the Earl of Hadshire to check on the background of Sir Geoffrey, whom his daughter Lady Rose has fallen in love with, but who still has not asked her to marry him.

The Earl has reason to worry about his daughter.  Before the start of the season, she joined a protest for women’s rights and earned the disapproval of the entire upper class.

Captain Cathcart does find a problem with Lady Rose’s suitor and ends up getting more work clearing up “delicate matters.”  As the book progresses, this brings him to a house party that Lady Rose is also attending where one of the guests turns up dead.  The owner of the house wants the matter hushed up.  Only Lady Rose and Captain Cathcart dare to suspect foul play.

Part of the charm of this book is the character of Lady Rose.  She wins the disapproval of her class with her radical views, but in the meantime she completely wins the hearts of Twenty-first Century readers.  This is an entertaining and delightful book, and I’ll be sure that I do order the next Marion Chesney book that comes along.

Copyright © 2003 Sondra Eklund.  All rights reserved.

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