May 26 2006
Dear Ms. Chesney,
Historical mysteries are my favorite type and I’m looking forward to reading more of your Edwardian series featuring the unconventional Lady Rose Summer and Captain Harry Cathcart. Lady Rose’s suffragette sympathies, excellent education and concern for the lower classes is just enough to be considered odd by her social peers without seeming too modern for the time period. Boer War veteran Captain Cathcart with his willingness to take money for “fixing” embarrassing things for his social peers is made to be an outsider to his upper class background but still able to mingle with them in order to get the task done.
I like how Harry uses down to earth methods to uncover the intentions of a bounder, foil a blackmailer and prevent the King from trying his luck with the socially disgraced Lady Rose.
The fact that Lady Rose wants to fit into society and be liked by her fellow debutantes makes her seem poignant and not strident. I especially like that these two misfits see the other as a misfit instead of instantly bonding through their misfitedness. You make good use of their personal servants, Daisy and Becket, to smoothly convey information about the era. And I enjoyed the fact that the reason for the murders was historically relevant to the times and beliefs.
While there were enough clues to put me on the right path to solve the case and enough red herrings to make it interesting, I still felt the denouement with the killer had a bit much tell instead of show. And you had so many added secondary and tertiary characters in the house party setting, that at times it was hard to keep their identities and personalities separate. I’d still give this a B- and am excited about continuing the series.