Snobbery with Violence by Marion Chesney, aka
MC Beaton, fulfilled the category “Favorite
Past Prompt” for the PopSugar 2021 Reading Challenge. As always, I chose
Audiobook. I listened to the title on Audible because it was free with my gold membership,
as are many of MC Beaton/Marion Chesney’s books.
The novel is subtitled an Edwardian Mystery. The
Edwardian period spans 1901 to 1910 and followed the Victorian period. I
mention this as I had to keep remembering as I read the book that we were not
in Jane Austen times but wholly in another century. The mentions of the
suffragette movement should have nudged my brain that we were more Downton
Abbey than Pemberley.
The book was written in 1971, so it’s older than me. I read
about halfway through the novel when I stopped and looked up the information.
One listing said it was pubbed in 2003, and another said 2008. Google to the
rescue because no way was this book written after all the Agatha Raisin books.
The mystery was not very complex, and the characters were scattered. The
detective work, even given the era, was disjointed. Yep, an early book and she
got so much better.
I chose the book because of the author, the title,
and the time period. I do like a historical romance, but this was a nice, light
twist. Many historicals are lengthy. Lately, I’m just not focused enough for a long book. Maybe it’s the
months and months of being stuck in the house or the recent closure of my workplace.
Either way, I have a short attention span.
My lack of focus may be the reason I didn’t love-love the book. (Or it
was the fact it was older, less well-written, and of a time period I’m not
familiar with.) I was confused about the societal conventions of England at the
turn of the century. With motor cars and fingerprints in the background, I
assumed young ladies had more freedom. According to the book, I guessed
incorrectly. Again, I used my considerable Downton Abbey knowledge to confirm
that yes, women were still in need of chaperones, had lady’s maids, and needed
to comply with class rules. Though the main character seemed to take it on the
fly, using her lady’s maid (a former show girl) as a chaperone. Would an Earl
worried about his daughter’s reputation allow that? Probably not.
The book was whimsical, fun, and cute. Not high literature,
but in essence, it’s a
romance with a bit of a cozy mystery wrapped inside.
I give Snobbery
with Violence by Marion Chesney Four Doses of Arsenic, because why not?