Marion Chesney 2003 – Edwardian Murder Mysteries #1
In case you didn’t know, Marion Chesney is one of the pen names for Marion Gibbons, who wrote the Agatha Raisin and Hamish Macbeth mysteries using the pseudonym M.C. Beaton. Being an Agatha devotee, I grabbed the the second book in this series off the shelf for the A to Z Mystery Tour, but knew by the time I got to the end of the first page that I needed to read the first book – well, first. (Stay tuned for a review of the 2nd book in a few days.) I found Snobbery With Violence on Scribd.
A hallmark of Chesney’s work as M.C. Beaton, for me, is her habit of bluntly bringing the reader up to speed regarding past events with no attempt as easing the facts into the story. It works – we know what’s going on – and Chesney never minces words.
Another Gibbons hallmark is her humor, although, which is relatively understated in this series. Each chapter starts with a quote from an Edwardian author, poet, etiquette authority, or drinking song; lots of sly humor can be found in those quotes, so don’t skip them. As Chesney develops the characters of Lady Rose Summer, Captain Harry Cathcart, lady’s maid Daisy Levine (whom Rose’s mother decides to call Baxter for bizarre Edwardian reasons), and Cathcart’s manservant Becket, the humor inherent in their personalities is more fully present. I hope to see more of that in the second book.
So, the story – yes. Lady Rose, having been humiliated by a scoundrel, is invited to a house party with other young people; at that house party there is a murder – and maybe there’s even another murder. Cathcart and Rose team up to solve the crimes, with the help of Daisy and Beckett.
If you liked Agatha and enjoyed Hamish, give this series a try; it’s more understated but still a fun read. On to book #2, Hasty Death.