Tuesday 22 October 2013

Snobbery With Violence (Edwardian Murder Mysteries #1) by Marion Chesney/M.C Beaton - Book Review

From the Blurb:

Beautiful but rebellious Lady Rose Summer's debut into high society is a complete disaster. When a marriage proposal appears imminent for Lady Rose, her father wants to know if her suitor's intentions are honorable. He calls on Captain Harry Cathcart, the impoverished younger son of a baron, to do some intelligence work on the would-be fiancee, Sir Geoffrey Blandon. After his success in uncovering Geoffrey's dishonorable motives, and a scandalous public breakup follows.

To redeem her name, Lady Rose attends the last-chance soiree at Telby Castle for aristocratic women with dubious matrimonial prospects. But when a malicious guest is found dead under strange circumstances, Rose becomes far more intrigued with discovering the truth than with landing a suitor.

Harry fashions a career out of "fixing" things for wealthy aristocrats, so when the Marquess of Hedley finds one of his guests dead at a lavish house party, he knows just the man to call. But when Harry is caught between his client's desire for discretion and his suspicion that murder may indeed have been committed, he enlists the help of Superintendent Kerridge of the Scotland Yard and Lady Rose, also a guest at Lord Hedley's.

Set in the Edwardian world of parties, servants, and scandal, Snobbery with Violence is a delightful combination of murderous intrigue and high society. From Telby Castle's whisper-filled corridors to country lanes with secrets at every turn, Harry and Rose must unravel a web of lies, rumors, and perilous plots as a clever murderer sets out to make Rose's disastrous season her last.

The Review:

The heroes of Snobbery with Violence, Harry and Rose, don't like each other. Harry finds Rose unladylike, and Rose finds Harry rude. But when a guest is murdered at a dinner party of which Rose is also a guest, the two are thrown together as Harry is hired to investigate, and Rose is equally determined to find out the truth.

This is one of those romance stories where the banter between the hero and heroine makes the tale. The two are so irrationally irritated by each other, and simultaneously attracted to each other, that you have to laugh. Miscommunications, insults and passion abound. I love that both are really as outspoken and stubborn as each other, even if this MIGHT be unladylike in a woman. They are the perfect match and we just have to wait for them to solve a few murders, have a few more arguments, and realize the truth.

The mystery side to this story is fine. Nothing outrageously unbelievable or too predictable, but it isn't really the point. The murder mystery is really just an excuse to throw Harry and Rose together. But it does make the story more interesting and adds a little flavor to this historical romance.

Though I suppose it was nothing particularly special, and although (or maybe because) their unspoken and unrealized feelings drag on for quite sometime, there is something quite addictive about Rose and Harry's story.

What about the rest of the series?
Each of the books in this series follows Harry and Rose, as they solve a new mystery, but if you are anything like me, you will be desperate to get from book to book to find out if they will actually realize their love for each other - something which gets hinted at the end of each one, but only fully realized slowly as the series progresses. One of the nice things about the movement of the series is that while the two fail to declare their romantic love and certainly continue to quarrel throughout, they eventually become good friends even as their passion increases, which I thought added a really nice element to the romance.

The second book, Hasty Death, was by far my favorite as I loved the idea of Rose moving out of home and trying to make her way with her maid, Daisy, as a working woman. Daisy's story is also given more color in books two and three and she gets a really sweet romance of her own.

I admit I was a little disappointed with the final, though it had a satisfying ending, it felt a little tired after the other three and the mystery seemed more random in its resolution. All the same, I'm glad I read the lot and got my ending for Rose and Harry. I had heaps of easy fun throughout this series, which also includes book 3, Sick of Shadows, and book 4, Our Lady of Pain.

I read the Audiobook, so what about the Narrator?

Davina Porter reads Snobbery with Violence and she is exceptional. She does consistent and excellent voices for each of the characters, including wonderful accents. Fans of romance audiobooks would recognize her voice as she has read a lot of my favorites.

Snobbery with Violence was first published in 2003 by Minotaur books and has since been republished numerous times. It is available on Amazon, Book Depository and AudioGo.