Sick of Shadows is part of M C Beaton’s Edwardian mystery series. This series regales us with the adventures of Lady Rose Summer who is a bit too smart to be successful in the marriage mart. After reading through most of Agatha Raisin and Hamish Macbeth, this is a slightly different setting from the queen of mystery.
Lady Rose has made a deal with Captain Harry Cathcart to avoid being shipped off to India with the ‘unmarriagable’ crowd. They have an engagement in name only, leaving them both free to pursue their interests. Lady Rose runs across a country girl at a ball. Dolly’s family has spent a lot of money to get her a London Season and they hope to see her married to a rich gent so that they can recover their fortunes. Dolly seems to be troubled and under stress. She summons Lady Rose to a clandestine meeting but is found dead. The hunt is on for Dolly’s murderer. An attempt is made on Rose’s life and she is bundled off to the North along with her companion to hide out. She escapes yet another attempt on her life. Why are Rose and Harry oblivious to their mutual attraction? Why is Dolly’s family reluctant to help the police or talk about their daughter? And why are two well known gentlemen stalking Lady Rose?
Sick of Shadows is set in the Edwardian era, the early 1900s, when class distinction is still rife but there are winds of change. Lady Rose is highly spirited, especially for someone of her station. Readers will get a glimpse of a different sort of London – one that is blackened because of coal fires, and one where motor cars are gradually making an appearance. There is a good story here, and the mystery gradually unravels like the petals of a rose. A must read for M C Beaton fans, or for anyone who loves a good mystery.