When a marriage proposal appears imminent for the beautiful -- if rebellious -- Lady Rose Summer, her father wants to know if her suitor's intentions are honorable. He calls on Captain Harry Cathcart, the impoverished younger son of a baron, to do some intelligence work on the would-be fiancee, Sir Geoffrey Blandon.After his success in uncovering Geoffrey's dishonorable motives, Harry fashions a career out of fixing things for wealthy aristocrats. So when the Marquess of Hedley finds one of his guests dead at a lavish house party, he knows just the man to call.But when Harry is caught between his client's desire for discretion and his suspicion that murder may indeed have been committed, he enlists the help of Superintendent Kerridge of the Scotland Yard and Lady Rose, also a guest at Lord Hedley's.Set in the Edwardian world of parties, servants, and scandal, Snobbery with Violence is a delightful combination of murderous intrigue and high society. Snobbery with Violence was originally published under the name M.C. Beaton writing as Marion Chesney.
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May 03, 2004
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Excerpt from Snobbery with Violence by M. C. Beaton
Unlike White's or Brooks's, it was simply known as The Club, lodged in a Georgian building at the bottom of St. James's Street, hard by St. James's Palace. Its membership was mostly comprised of the younger members of the aristocracy, who considered it a livelier place than the other stuffy gentlemen's clubs of London.
Some of them felt that the acceptance of Captain Harry Cathcart into The Club was a grave mistake. When he had left for the Boer War, he had been a handsome, easygoing man. But he had returned, invalided out of the army, bitter, brooding and taciturn, and he seemed unable to converse in anything other than clich's or grunts.
One warm spring day, when a mellow sun was gilding the sooty buildings and the first trembling green leaves were appearing on the plane trees down the Mall, Freddy Pomfret and Tristram Baker-Willis entered The Club and looked with deep disfavour on the long figure of the captain, who was slumped in an armchair.
"Look at that dismal face," said Freddy, not bothering to lower his voice. "Enough to put a fellow off his dinner, what?"
"Needs the love of a bad woman," brayed Tristam. "Eh, Harry. What? Rather neat that, don't you think? Love of a bad woman, what?"
The captain, by way of reply, leaned forward, picked up the Times and barricaded himself behind it. He wanted peace and quiet to think what to do with his life. He lowered his paper once he was sure his tormentors had gone. A large mirror opposite showed him his reflection. He momentarily studied himself and then sighed. He was only twenty-eight and yet it was a face from which any sign of youth had fled. His thick black hair was showing a trace of grey at the temples. His hard and handsome face had black heavy-lidded eyes which gave nothing away. He moved his leg to ease it. His old wound still throbbed and hurt on the bad days, and this was one of them.