Thursday, December 27, 2007
Shadows & Lies
Eccles, Marjorie. Shadows & Lies. This mystery begins with an entry in an "exercise book" by a young woman who has lost 9 years of her life following an accident. If this were not trauma enough, there appears to be no one who really knows who she is, and although she wears a wedding ring and owns a house in St. John's Wood, there are no clues to the past 9 years. She knows that her name is Hannah and that the year is 1910, and her doctor has encouraged her to write what she does remember about her life before the memory gap. The hope is that the writing will act as a stimulus that might lead to a recovery of the lost memories.
Then in Chapter One, we are introduced to new characters, Sebastian Chetwynd and Louisa Fox. Sebastian drops Louisa off at her father's house and proceeds to the Chetwynd estate. His mother, father, and grandmother all have their own agendas, some secretive, some openly discussed. Sebastian is the reluctant heir since the death of his older brother, and the family wants him to marry. Preferably to money.
The following morning, a woman is found murdered on the estate grounds. How the Chetwynds, the murdered woman, and Louisa are connected to Hannah of the lost years requires a detour to South Africa in the late 1990's and the violence before and during the Boer War.
I enjoyed this mystery. Eccles brings a good bit about the early suffragette and women's rights movement into the story, as well as some interesting parts about life in South Africa during the troubled years at the end of the nineteenth century.
Fiction. Historical mystery. 2005. 333 pages.