St. Martin's, Aug 2004, 22.95, 224 pp.
It might be the dawn of a new century, but women remain the property of their father, brother, or husband. The chasm between the social classes is as large as it has ever been and the human females of Polite Society are expected to marry a rich titled gent. Lady Rose Summer, daughter of an earl, is not content to idly party, as she prefers to work. Her reluctant but suffering parents accept her laboring at a bank alongside her former maid Daisy.
At the bank, Rose learns of the murder of Mr. Pomfret. She checks the records and learns that three people deposited funds into the account of the deceased. Rose discusses her finding with private detective Captain Henry Cathcart and both agree that it seems the victim blackmailed several people, of which all had the motive to kill him. Unable to resist, Rose accompanied by Henry and her maid Daisy hunt for the killer.
Although this novel takes place at the beginning of the twentieth century in enlightened London, the gap between the social classes remains as vast as ever and the suffragette movement is just starting to impact society. The solid investigation into the cleverly designed mystery is fun to follow especially in light of Rose's deeper agenda to gain the attention of her “social inferior” Harry. Sparks fly while they making inquiries, which makes for a terrific tale from Marion Chesney, know for her Agatha Raisin and Hamish Macbeth tales.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner