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Keeping Up Appearances
on 25 August 2010
I must admit that I am a fan of the Agatha Raisin books, but so far I haven't read an Hamish Macbeth novel and I only heard about these being re-issued by I think it was chelle, on one of the discussion boards. So thank you young lady.
I thought I would try one to see what it was like, and as this is the first in the series it seemed a good place to start. I think there are only three or four books in the series because apparently M C Beaton stopped writing them due to the stresses and strains of coming up for ideas for her more famous two series'. This is set in Edwardian times where we meet Lady Rose, a young woman who has caused a bit of a ruckus by getting herself involved in the Suffragette Movement. When a man of good standing starts to make advances to her her father is a bit suspicious and thus is referred to Captain Harry Cathcart. Harry did espionage work in the Boer War and apart from coming from a good family, is considered to be highly discreet. Of course what Harry finds out about Rose's suitor doesn't go down too well with Rose who causes a public scene. But as word gets around Harry finds he is making money as the nobs call on him to sort out a whole host of problems. If you need to rough someone up or retrieve things, if you need a bit of help, there is Harry. Helping Rose's father again he introduces Daisy, a chorus girl to the family and Rose takes to her and trains her up to be her maid.
Rose is then invited to a house party at Telby Castle, not knowing that parents have paid for this so as to get their offspring married, this is the last chance as the season is over. When a guest turns up dead then the Hedley's, owners of Telby Castle call in Harry to hush things up. But when a maid disappears as well, only to be discovered dead, and Rose is attacked, will Harry cover it up? Or will he join forces with Rose to get to the bottom of this, along with police?
With the snobbery of the upper classes, and the shennigans in the country house, this is a great little romp through Edwardian England that will keep you engrossed and chuckling away. Well worth reading.