61 of 62 people found the following review helpful
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.
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
This is the first of a series of murder mysteries set in Britain in the first decade of the 20th century featuring Captain Harry Cathcart and Lady Rose Summer.
To date there are four books in the series, which are
Snobbery with Violence
Sick of Shadows
Our Lady of Pain
The author writes romantic fiction, mostly humorous regency romances plus one or two set in the Edwardian period, under the name Marion Chesney, and mystery/detective stories such as the Agatha Raisin and Hamish MacBeth series under the name M.C. Beaton.
This Edwardian series is a something of a cross-over between the two - part romance and part murder mystery - and the books often have both names on the cover (usually something like "M.C. Beaton writing as Marion Chesney.")
Tha main characters in the series are:
Captain Harry Cathcart, younger son of a Baron, has left the army after being injured in the Boer war. At the start of this book he carries out a service for Lady Rose's father, the Earl of Hadfield, for which he gains a reputation as a fixer, and eventually formally goes into business as the Edwardian equivalent of a Private Investigator
Lady Rose Summer, only daughter of the Earl and Countess of Hadfield, is slightly notorious as having briefly been involved with suffragettes. Chafes at the fact that society will not allow her a useful role, and when she is present at a murder, Lady Rose uses her considerable intellect to help solve it.
Detective Superintendent Kerridge is a senior policeman of humble origins and carefully supressed radical views, reinforced by the fact that whenever he has to interview an aristocrat they always threaten to report him to the Prime Minister. Plays Inspector Slack to Lady Rose's Miss Marple.
Despite that comparison, this is not in the same league as Agatha Christie as a detective story, and neither is it in the same league as Jane Austen as a romance. However, it is an amusing and entertaining light read.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 1 November 2010
I usually avoid these books set in the past. However, I have read several Agatha Raisin stories and one of the Hamish McBeth stories and thought I would try it.
I really enjoyed it - it made me giggle out loud as I was reading and I am now looking for the next book in the series!
The only bad thing is that now I have to buy these books as well as the Agatha and Hamish books!
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on 2 November 2010
This is a light read and I found it funny. It is ideal to pick up when you are bored with the TV. Lady Rose's sheltered life leads to her making decisions with unforseen consenquences for herself and the people around her. It pokes fun at the upper class way of life as well as being a light hearted murder mystery.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
I am a huge fan of the author's two other mystery series, that of Agatha Raisin and that of Hamish Macbeth, which she writes under the name M.C. Beaton. So, when I saw that the author had written an Edwardian murder mystery series, I decided to read the series. I confess that I am hooked on this series, as well.
It is a lighthearted mystery and a romp through Edwardian social mores. The author introduces the reader to the highly spirited Lady Rose Summer, who is the well-educated, outspoken, and beautiful daughter of a fabulously wealthy earl. Due to her suffragette leanings, however, Lady Rose is having a rough season as a debutante, when she finds herself romanced by the handsome Sir Geoffrey Blandon, who seems to be dragging his heels in terms of making a proposal. Her father, suspicious of his daughter's suitor who has only just returned to England after a four year hiatus in the States, calls upon Captain Harry Cathcart to discreetly investigate him. Recently returned from the Boer War, Captain Cathcart is a gentleman who is in somewhat financial straits. So, he undertakes the commission.
Due to the subsequent scandal surrounding her ill-fated romance, Lady Rose finds herself reluctantly attending a house party being held at Telby Castle by the Marques and Marchioness of Hedley for women whose matrimonial prospects have been dampened by the vicissitudes of fate. When murder strikes at Telby Castle, Lady Rose finds herself immersed in the mystery, and Captain Cathcart reappears in her life as a guest at the castle. Lady Rose and the Captain collaborate in finding out the truth when, suddenly, another murder occurs, and it becomes a matter of life or death for Lady Rose.
The main characters are likable, as are the secondary ones. The book is light-hearted and fast paced, and the mystery is really not the driving force of the book. What makes the book most enjoyable are the characters and their interactions with each other, as do the period details that are laced throughout. The book is a good addition to the genre of the cozy mystery. I look forward to reading the next one.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 10 February 2012
I truly don't understand how this book has such high ratings. The characters are barely likable, in fact, they complain incessantly like teenagers throughout the whole series. The main character Lady Rose Summer is such a snob it's almost unbearable. Her flightiness and her easy declarations of how much she 'hates' Captain Cathcart one minute and loves him the next gets extremely tiresome after awhile. Unfortunately for me, when I get a series I have to read all of them and after reading the four books in this series, I can honestly say that I wish I hadn't wasted my time. I kept expecting the books to get consecutively better to no avail. The ending of the series isn't worth the annoyance I felt reading these books.
The murders are interesting (which is why I gave 3 stars instead of 2) and I did enjoy solving them with Lady Rose and Captain Cathcart but after awhile the plot-line of Lady Rose putting herself in danger to get the last clue just gets overdone! I can completely understand Captain Cathcart's disgust/anger with her.
These books were recommended to me because I enjoyed Deanna Raybourn's series, but I have to say that Ms. Raybourn's books are on a completely other level than this series by M.C. Beaton.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 3 January 2011
I am not in to series books and felt this would probably disappoint but it was on offer & I can't resist a bargain. This was great! It was not pretentious but managed to provide a fun social commentary in to Edwardian life which slowed the plot down but actually wasn't frustrating. I suppose with a series time spent developing character and place reeps benefts for loyal readers later on, like a soap, I'll let you know! If you want a series or a one off it does the job well and enjoyably. A lovely experience, great.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
I bought this and finished it in just over a day as I found it almost impossible to put down. I have since finished the second instalment of the series and am starting the third. I bought it having already read some of Beaton's Agatha Raisin books and thought I would give it a go. I wasn't really sure what to expect but I am delighted I took the plunge and bought them. I just wish there were more to buy than the four that make up the complete series.
Some reviewers have complained about characterisation, improbable plots etc. I enjoyed this as an Edwardian romp, with a heroine seemingly born before her time and as unable to see the perfection of a match with the hero as he is.
Simply and sublimely wonderful!
on 15 October 2013
M.C. Beaton must be one of the hardest-working authors writing in the mystery genre. She is most famous for having written twenty-six Hamish MacBeth detective novels and twenty-one Agatha Raisin mysteries but, it turns out, has also found time to write four historical whodunits. The Edwardian Murder Mystery series was originally published under Beaton's actual name, Marion Chesney, but are currently being republished with nice Julia Quinn-esque covers asserting the authorship of M.C. Beaton, presumably to solidify her detective brand and keep the Chesney name for her romantic fiction. Snobbery with Violence, a tale of murder and mayhem at a high-society house party, is the first of the Edwardian Murder Mysteries.
Lady Rose Summer was something of a fair-weather Suffragette - while she believed that women's rights were certainly worth fighting for, the photograph of her at a protest which was published on the front-page of the Daily Mail was really a step too far. With her debut season in London society already becoming something of a disaster, Rose's parents decide that she must abandon political protest and forget about improving her mind (after all, what gentleman would wish to wed a human encyclopaedia?) and concentrate on making a suitable match. Of course, Rose's choice of an ideal suitor is vastly different from her father's picture of the ideal son-in-law and so, when Rose announces her intention to become engaged to notorious bounder Sir Geoffrey Blandon, her father employs Captain Harry Cathcart to do some discreet digging into Blandon's character. Once Cathcart brings to light Blandon's dishonourable motives, Rose breaks off the engagement, takes the unforgivable step of making a huge scene in public, and seemingly throws away her chances of ever making a "good" marriage.
In desperation, Rose's parents insist that she attends a lavish house party thrown by the Marquess of Hedley to try and fix-up the social pariahs of the recent London season. By this time Captain Cathcart has established quite a reputation for discreetly "fixing" things for members of the aristocracy and so, when the Marquess discovers that one of his more disagreeable guests has died in suspicious circumstances, Cathcart is called in to help hush-up the matter. As Cathcart becomes caught between his client's wish to avoid scandal and his own suspicion that a murder has been committed, Lady Rose becomes far more interested in discovering the truth behind the death than in landing an appropriate suitor. Together with Superintendent Kerridge of Scotland Yard, Cathcart and Rose form an uneasy alliance as they work together to untangle the mystery behind the death and try to stop the body count rising as the mercenary courting continues among their fellow guests.
From reading the summary of Snobbery with Violence it might well seem that the first part of the story seems to be the work of the romance writer Marion Chesney while the second part seems slightly detached and more the work of noted cosy mystery writer M.C. Beaton. Fortunately these two styles knit together well and, although the book begins very much like a humorous historical romance, the emphasis of the novel is actually very much the mystery and the detective exploits of Captain Cathcart and Lady Rose. The strict standards of decorum demanded of society courtships serve as a convincing way of gathering together a group of relative strangers in an isolated country house so that a murder (or three) can be committed and then ultimately wrapped up by the likeably dysfunctional detective duo. While Cathcart and Rose hold centre stage, they are ably aided in their investigations by Cathcart's Jeeves-style manservant Becket and showgirl-turned-maid Daisy. As ever, the toffs get the glory while the commoners do most of the work. There are plenty of shenanigans afoot both above and below stairs which, when coupled with the amusing snobbery of the upper classes and the unacknowledged presence of a nefarious murderer, help make Snobbery with Violence a fun, fast-paced romp through Edwardian society.
on 28 January 2013
I was drawn to this period detective story by it's clever and fun title; it seemed to promise what the book did, indeed, deliver - an amusing detective novel with a period setting that didn't take itself too seriously.
The book is somewhat episodic to begin with - there are several minor adventures before the scene is set for the main crime - but this is easily forgiven as everything that happens is great fun and we're getting to know the main characters.
Rose, our heroine, is a poor little rich girl who feels out of place in her world of idleness and privilege. She's also rather naive and gormless which helps endear her to us as she can also be arrogant and thoughtless.
The hero, Harry Cathcart, meets Rose when hired by her father to avert a family scandal. Practical, efficient and wonderfully no-nonsense he's also tactless and as much of a misfit as Rose. It's obvious these two prickly individuals are made for each other despite frequently driving each other to distraction.
Written in a racy, chatty style the book skips along and is a very entertaining quick read. Much of the characterization verges on caricature but there are some marvellous comic creations here. Once they are all gathered in a remote, mock Gothic castle murder and mayhem are soon unleashed. There's melodrama, bedroom farce and a suspicious death - more skulduggery than you could shake a stick at - and it's wonderfully entertaining.
A perfect, quick read for a miserable January weekend.