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by Marion Chesney (M.C. Beaton)
St. Martin's Minotaur, June 2003
226 pages
ISBN: 031230451X

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Captain Henry Cathcart returns from the Boer War "invalided out of the army, bitter, brooding, and taciturn..." The youngest son of Lord Cathcart, he is living in not very high style, on a pension and a small income from the family.

Lady Rose, the daughter of the Earl of Hadshire, has a large dowry, but she had been photographed at a suffragette demonstration in Trafalgar Square, so her parents have forced her to undergo a London season. She meets Sir Geoffrey Blandon and has fallen in love with him. Rose's father is worried that Sir Geoffrey might not be "one of us" and, at the suggestion of Brigadier Bill Handy, the Earl asks Captain Cathcart to look into Sir Geoffrey's background. Henry finds information to expose the fortune hunter and save Rose and her fortune.

The Captain's reputation for discretion in difficult circumstances grows, and others of titled class hire him to save their reputations and their fortunes. Then Baron Derrington learns that Edward VIII was planning a trip to their country estate to make a play for the nubile Rose. Cathcart stage manages situations that make the king change his mind, but when Rose is finally invited to a house party, one of the guests turns up dead.

Marion Chesney is M. C. Beaton who is the author of the Hamish Macbeth and Agatha Raisin series'. If you are a fan of well written traditional mysteries, Lord Peter and Albert Campion, you might want to try this series. I, for one, will be eagerly awaiting the next.

Reviewed by Barbara Franchi, July 2003

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