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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.


  1. This sounds really neat; I'm reading a non-fiction book about the formation of South Africa right now so it'd be fun to also read fiction set in the same time.

  2. Eva - Your book sounds really interesting to me after reading this novel. I know so little about that region and the Boer War - other than Winston Churchhill was a war correspondent for a newspaper. Churchhill wasn't mentioned in the novel, but one of the characters was a war correspondent in Mafeking.

  3. How interesting! I am adding this right now to my wish list. Thanks for the great review and recommendation, Jenclair.

  4. That one does sound intriguing, Jenclair. Thanks for the heads up or I would have likely missed it.

  5. L.F. - I did enjoy it, and I enjoyed Eccles' style as well!

    Sam - I do love a good mystery, Sam!

  6. What an unusual premise! I am so glad to see you review this because I saw another book by Eccles at the library but it was one of those that I kept going back and forth on and ended up leaving it there. I'm going to add this one to my list and hopefully on my next library visit I can find it :)

  7. Iliana - :) I know those books, the ones your hand reaches out for, then hesitates. The cover helped cinch this one for me. Rational decisions - that's me.