First Line: When the telephone rang downstairs so early that Saturday morning, Ursula Marlow knew it could only be bad news.
The year is 1910. Ursula "Sully" Marlow is a year out of Oxford and wants to be a serious journalist. Unfortunately the magazines and journals she applies to all view her as a society girl, and now her father is demanding that she find herself a husband. Ursula has no intentions of getting married, and in between suffragette meetings, she still applies for various positions of employment.
When a fellow suffragette and friend is accused of murder, Ursula sees that very little is being done by the police to find the truth, and she vows to carry out her own investigation to uncover the murderer. It doesn't take long for her to find out that her own father has connections to the murder victim and to a strange expedition to Venezuela that occurred twenty years previously.
Consequences of Sin is a promising start to the series. Ursula has led such a privileged, sheltered life that she "talks the talk" but finds it much more difficult to "walk the walk." I did find her tiresome on occasion-- shooting off her mouth when she didn't know what she was talking about and with the tendency to be brave one second and fall into a swoon the next. Hopefully she'll mature a bit and truly have the chops to be a good amateur sleuth. She's got the right ingredients. She just needs seasoning.
Langley-Hawthorne does a good job with the time period and the setting, and she's put an interesting romance in the mix by way of Lord Wrotham, the Marlows' solicitor. Hopefully it won't be so easy to figure out whodunit next time because I have the next book in the series, The Serpent and the Scorpion, on my bookshelf. I am interested in seeing how the character of Ursula grows.
Sorry folks but this book is so poorly written and thought out that I couldn't get past about page three. The author's purple prose: "Ursula rose quickly from the four-poster bed, slid her feet into a pair of ivory satin slippers and grabbed a tawny cashmere shawl..." all it needed to be was a dark and stormy night. In the next sentence to show us how fiesty the heroine is she thinks as the butler announces "Miss Stanford-Jones" was on the phone the author writes "Really Biggs could be so formal..." what was he supposed to say to the young lady...There's a darn nuisance on the phone? This gets even worse further down the page when hurriedly getting dressed (not wishing to bother her maid) we get another elaborate description of her struggle to dress herself but no mention of what she was doing to her hair...a young woman of her class would have seen to her hair before leaving the house,especially since she had just got our of bed. This book needed a good editor with an ear for the written word and an author with more talent. Please spare me any comparison to Masie Dobbs/Jacqueline Winspear because even on a bad day Winspear writes circles around this unpromising start.
Good start to a new Edwardian era mystery series.
Haven't actually finished this book as my copy of the Penguin paperback contained a printer error; the page after 86 is 35-86 again, then it picks up at pg 135. Pgs 87-134 are missing. A pity because it was shaping up as a cracking good tale. I hope to catch up with a decent copy (this one did not come from the club!) at some point so I can finish the tale.
For fans of Maisie Dobbs, a riveting new Edwardian mystery series featuring detective heiress Ursula Marlow Ursula Marlow, the star of this richly detailed, beautifully paced, deeply romantic mystery, is a strong female heroine with whom fans of Dorothy Sayers, Sarah Waters, Anne Perry, and Jacqueline Winspears Maisie Dobbs series will instantly fall in love. An Oxford graduate active in the battle for womens suffrage, Ursula is not your typical Edwardian heiress. Her once-charmed life takes a frightening turn when a fellow suffragette and friend is accused of murder. As Ursula digs deeper to discover the truth and clear her friends tarnished name, she is drawn into a mystery that raises troubling questions about her own fathers connection to the murder victim.