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4.4 out of 5 stars
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4.4 out of 5 stars
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Lady Rose Summer is engaged to Captain Harry Cathcart - a private investigator. But she is getting rather tired of him not attending social functions with her because he is busy on cases. She makes friends with Dolly Tremaine, a debutante only to find her murdered body when she goes to meet her in Hyde Park one morning. This puts Lady Rose and her companion Daisy Levine in personal danger and they are forced to take drastic action to avoid coming to a sticky end.

Rose as ever gets herself into some sticky situations simply because she is bored and curious. At times it seems as though she and Harry are finally seeing eye to eye and then they are at daggers drawn again. Will their engagement - which was only entered into to stop Rose's parents shipping her off to India - survive their latest arguments?

I enjoyed this third book in the series as the regular characters are developing - Harry and Rose, Daisy and Harry's manservant Becket. I like the style of writing which has the down to earth quality evident in this author's other two series - Agatha Raisin and Hamish Macbeth. I also like the historical background to the story which shows clearly how differently women were treated only one hundred years ago.
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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. I am also now enjoying this Edwardian mystery series. These are a farcical and madcap in tone, with a touch of romance. Light hearted and silly, they are easy, quick, fun reads.

In this third installment in the adventures of Lady Rose and Captain Harry Cathcart, Lady Rose finds herself once again firmly under her parents' supervision, attending balls and soirees one after another. She befriends poor Dolly Tremaine, society's most beautiful debutante of the season, who is somewhat of a country bumpkin. Unfortunately, Dolly's sojourn in high society will be a relatively brief one, as she is stabbed to death by person or persons unknown.

Lady Rose and Captain Harry now endeavor to uncover the mystery behind Dolly's murder. As always, someone is trying to put an end to Lady Rose's sleuthing. Her long suffering companion, Daisy, is there alongside Lady Rose, often coming to her rescue at great peril to herself. Captain Harry can barely keep up with the antics of his fiancée, and keeping her safe seems to be something that he cannot seem to guarantee. With all that is going on, their romance certainly has its share of ups and downs. The perils of Pauline have nothing on what awaits Lady Rose, as she tries to show her beleaguered fiancée just how clever she can be.

As with the other books in the series, the mystery is not what keeps one reading the book, as the plotting is a bit loose and a somewhat far-fetched. What keeps one reading are the farcical elements of the book, which are amusing. The characters are likable, and the interaction of the main characters with each other is the glue that binds the book together.

I will add, however, that with this particular book, the editing was atrocious and actually hampered the enjoyment of the book somewhat, with numerous typos and dialogue credited to the wrong character, as another reviewer pointed out. Moreover, the author contradicted herself in terms of facts already established in the previous book. Still, that being said, if one can overlook those editing deficiencies, one will still enjoy the book.
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on 25 February 2011
I absolutely love 'Sick of The Shadows' and indeed this whole M.C. Beaton series.
I stumbled upon them accidentally and I have to say that I've never looked back. If you're looking for an interesting (but light) read with great wit and humour, then this book is the one for you.
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This is the third in 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

Hasty Death

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.)

At the start of this third book, Lady Rose Summer is engaged to Captain Harry Cathcart. They agreed an engagement to prevent her parents, the Earl and Countess of Hadfield, shipping Lady Rose out to India to find a husband. Neither has admitted even to themselves that they actually have feelings for each other.

Lady Rose has arranged to meet Dolly Tremaine, the latest beautiful debutate to mesmerise London society, but finds her murdered, with Dolly's body laid out as a horrible parody of the painting "The Lady of Shallott."

Despite the fact that fierce arguments between them cause their engagement to be broken off, Lady Rose and Captain Cathcart must work together again to find out who murdered Dolly. Meanwhile they have to deal with a pair of noble blackmailers and with wicked society gossips .....

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 the first book in the series he carried out a service for Lady Rose's father for which he gained a reputation as a fixer, and by the time of this third book he is successfully running a business as the Edwardian equivalent of a Private Investigator - though this makes some members of "Society" look down on him as being "in trade."

Lady Rose Summer, only daughter of the Earl and Countess of Hadfield - slightly notorious as having briefly been involved with suffragettes. Chafes at the fact that society will not allow her a useful role, and constantly looking for something more challenging to do - fom working as a typist for a bank to helping the police solve murders.

Beckett - Harry's valet: in love with Daisy

Daisy - Lady Rose's companion. A former chorus girl, but when Captain Cathcard recruited her to play the role of a maid with a contagious disease as one of the escapades in the first book, Lady Rose recruited her to do the job for real. Later Lady Rose promoted her from Maid to Companion. In love with Becket.

Detective Superintendent Kerridge - 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.
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on 1 February 2006
(It's more of a 2.5 star rating)
It has been a long time since I've read a Marion Chesney book and this particular one has given me mixed feelings. The books I read when I was younger were purely romance, maybe there was a bit of mystery, but essentially it was about 2 characters and their paths to love and marriage. Reading this Lady Rose Summer book, I can see she has diversified a lot more. I enjoyed the detecting and the characters. They appeared real to me rather than being just aristocrats and being benevolent just because they can. What has given me the mixed feelings are the historical events she comments on during that era. Having read some of her previous books and other views concerning that era, I know what has happened during that time and I don't need to be told more than once about it. Having the characters comment about their situations were fine but not repeatedly.
Okay, social commentary about the Edwardian era aside, I did enjoy the story itself and I do hope that the characters all find their happy ever after.
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I really enjoy all of MC Beaton's books. Having gone through all the Hamish Macbeth (on Audible as well!) and Agatha Raisin I decided to start on her Regency and Edwardian novels. Yes, there are quite a few typos but nothing to detract from the storyline. I like a bit of escapism and these books fit the bill.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 12 January 2013
Sick of Shadowsis the first book I have read from this author and I have enjoyed it very much. It is the kind of easy murder mystery you want to read on holidays or at week end.
But at times, Captain Harry annoys me as he should really make an effort to escort Lady Rose more often and maybe I am not so sure Lady Rose and the Captain would have been allowed to be engaged for so long without seeing each other, in the Edwardian times..
Even though I enjoyed the book, I felt something was missing and I could not find out what. But by reading the other reviews, I realised that this is the third installment of the Edwardian series, so, my mistake and not the author's fault, I should have started with the first book (which I do not know which one it is, I shall have to do a little search) and I would have enjoyed it better, I think.
I have also bought the School of Manners series from same author. I know I shall like them because she has a very nice way of describing that period and a nice way of writing. Nothing heavy but nothing so simple that we get bored.
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on 26 November 2010
This runs along very similar lines to the Agatha Raisin books. Very light-hearted and improbable story line but a quick and entertaining read.
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on 27 August 2014
How does M.C. Beaton keep up the writing of so many fluffy stories which nevertheless give amusement and intrigue? As an author to dip into every time the troubles of life overwhelm she is essential to chill out with.
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on 28 May 2013
I have now read all four books in the Edwardian Murder Mystery series. This series were written some time ago & like all of M C Beaton’s books they are easy reading probably what would be called holiday reading or a good travelling companion. If you liked the books written by Georgette Heyer these should appeal even though Georgette Heyer’s books were set in the Regency period & these are set in the Edwardian period.
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