Sick of Shadows
Chesney continues the adventures of Lady Rose Summer and her fiancé of convenience, private investigator Captain Harry Cathcart, in the third installment of this Edwardian mystery series. At the end of their last adventure, Hasty Death, Lady Rose and Harry became engaged to keep her parents at bay and allow her a measure of freedom from the marriage market. However, as Sick of Shadows opens, Rose is smarting from the pitying glances and whispers when Harry can’t accompany her to society functions. She befriends beautiful but poor Dolly Tremaine who has been put into society to find a rich husband. One morning when they are supposed to meet, Rose finds Dolly dead. The tabloids have insinuated that Rose knows more than she is saying, and attempts are made on her life.
A rich cast of supporting characters assists Rose and Harry in finding Dolly’s killer, including Daisy, a former chorus girl turned companion to Rose, and Miss Bridge, Harry’s secretary, fond of her gin but loyal to her employer. There were one too many red herrings for my liking, but the strength is in the evocation of the era, which Chesney masterfully brings to life with such details as a letter from Harry never received by Rose, as her father reserves the right to read her mail. It remains to be seen how much longer the two can continue to deny the love they feel for each other as even their servants recognize it. I hope the next installment finds them married amateur sleuths.