St. Martin's, July 2003, 22.95, 224 pp.
After being wounded while fighting in the Boer War, Captain Harry Cartwright, the youngest son of Baron Derrington, returns home to London. His only income is his army pension and a pittance from the family trust. Through a mutual friend, Harry is recommended to the Earl of Hoodshire to investigate Sir Geoffrey Blandon to see if he is suitable to marry his daughter Rose. Harry's investigation leads him to discover that Sir Geoffrey's goal is seduction not marriage and his career as a private investigator is born.
Word of mouth spreads about Harry's discreet inquiries. At a weekend party given by the Marquis of Hedrey at Telby Castle, one of the guests dies and the police are called to investigate. The Marquis hires Harry to make sure the police rule it a suicide but they do that without his help. When Rose, a guest at the castle, is pushed off the roof, Harry jumps into the moat to rescue her. They find the body of the missing lady's maid who was definitely murdered. The police return, but this time Rose and Harry are helping them.
Marion Chesney, well known for her historical romances, also writes the Agatha Raisin and Hamish Macbeth mystery series under the name M.C. Beaton. Her new “Edwardian murder mystery” series combines history, romance, and intrigue resulting in a delightful romantic mystery. The two protagonists, both belonging to the upper class, do not fit in the polite society very well, and find themselves drawn to one another. The who-done-it is well developed and captures reader interest from the outset. SNOBBERY WITH VIOLENCE gives readers a glimpse into the aristocracy during the Edwardian era.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner