Thursday, August 17, 2017

MC Beaton - Sick of Shadows

Lady Rose Summer and Captain Harry Cathcart have an engagement of convenience to keep her from India and failed debutantes. She befriends newly arrived Miss Dolly Tremaine, stabbed to death and floating in a boat on the Serpentine River, and barely survives an attempt on her own life. Harry is summoned and the duo uncover deceptions, secrets, and the killer.

Comment: This is the third installment in the Edwardian Murder Mysteries by author MC Beaton, a.k.a Marion Chesney. This is the third book in the adventures of captain Harry Cathcart and lady Rose Summer. This time, the unlikely team must deal with another murder which puts lady Rose right at the center of the possible suspects...

Once more, lady rose sees herself in the middle of a dire situation, namely because she was bored and tried to help a young lady, recently arrived from the countryside. The girl is found dead by lady Rose and her faithful companion Daisy after a strange note sent to Rose scheduling a meeting. This means scandal is at Rose's door again and captain Harry Cathcart is called so he can investigate and solve the problem.
Lady Rose isn't much pleased with Harry, though, because since their fake engagement he has not done his part by going with her to public places or even social calls. They think about breaking things off and Rose even finds a new man to help her but scandal fallows them all once more...

I liked this small story, I managed to read this in one day not only because it was a shorter book but also because it's fascinating and, to me, completely engaging as well.
The stories heavily focus on the relationship troubles between Rose and Harry and I find it quite funny how they easily misunderstand each other and despite being so polite and knowledgeable about so many things, they still fail to talk properly. Since there's only one book missing, I fully expect an amazing finale for their adventures.

I like the writing style a lot. I know I've mentioned before the label "cozy mystery" attributed to books like this one and to me, the shoe sort of fits because it's quite cozy to read about these characters and their little quirks. I like there's a sense of seriousness while still letting us enjoy all the funny aspects of he character's personalities and actions. I can only imagine it's not easy to keep up the balance between the comedy and the drama without resorting to silly details and I think the author does this well.

The book deals with interesting subjects, namely the expectations of younger ladies at the times of plot's setting and even the parents but we still manage to get funny glimpses to make things sound a little easier to digest. I wouldn't say this is filled with stand up comedy jokes but when something is funny I do laugh and enjoy it, for instance, when a man is asked to search Harry's office and retrieve something, he is unable to do it in different moments all because of the cleverness of a character and the ways used to distract the guy seemed funny to me by their ingeniousness (even if things don't end up as funny as that). It just felt like a well played scene I couldn't help laughing at.

The plot is solved soon and although I had my ideas I still enjoyed myself a lot because the explanation proved to be interesting and not too obvious.
The lady Rose/captain Harry situation is taking it's time to be solved but while I understand the attempt to veracity in not making them too close as it to be improper and unrealistic, I do admit I wished they would show - even if not to one another  - bigger proof of their feelings and not just a conversation here and there to other characters. I guess I'd want ti to look a bit more romantic than what it feels now.

All things considered, I had fun reading this and do want to get back to it. I'm very eager to read he final book and to see if it's done and solved well by the author. As for this one, it's a great story, it can be read as s stand alone but it feels "fuller" if one reads the previous installments in order.
Grade: 8/10

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