Saturday, April 17, 2010

Review: Murder Has No Class by Rebecca Kent

Murder Has No Class (Book 3, Bellehaven House Mystery)
by Rebecca Kent
2010 Berkley Prime Crime
Paperback Edition; 232 Pages
Genre: Historical Mystery/Murder
Source: Library

3 / 5 Stars

Summary (Synopsis)
Headmistress Meredith Llewellyn's assistant is behaving badly, the maids are planning an all-out riot, and the lads from the darts championships are corruption her girls.  But these troubles are not what keep Meredith up at night.  Rather, it's one livid ghost...

Lord James Stalham has continued to claim his innocence in the murder of his father - even after they've hung him for it.  Now Stalham's ghost, desperate to clear his name, is haunting Meredith.  The practical headmistress needs her sleep, so she sets out to find the truth - and discovers a scandal that's far more complicated than upper-level mathematics...

My Thoughts
If you are looking for a light-hearted, easy beach read, than this book is definitely for you.  It was entertaining, quick-paced, with a few twists and turns, and although I enjoyed it, it definitely wasn't thought-provoking or a difficult-to-figure-out who-done-it.

What I did enjoy in this novel were the characters, in particular the headmistress and two of the tutors.  It was interesting to learn about their backgrounds and the hardships they faced as women in what was definitely a man's world. I really don't think I would have fared very well during this time, although I am also thinking in the modern time perspective so who knows.  I have to admire these women's fortitude to try to make a life for themselves and to succeed despite the fact there is little good employment for women during this time period, and they still have to answer to a male as the school is owned by a wealthy male named Stuart Hamilton.  Several of these women faced some difficult times in the past and have been deeply scarred by it.  It certainly made me think how lucky I am to have a lot of the privileges I have today.  And the freedom to do pretty much what I want.

As for the plot, while it was interesting, was very easy to figure out.  I was also somewhat skeptical of some of the events as you just can't walk up to people and start asking questions about a murder that took place around them and expect people to answer the way that they did without getting their backs up.  I just couldn't imagine servants opening up to strangers so easily in real life.  It just made things seem a little too pat, if you know what I mean?  

I found some of the events around the girls in the boarding school to be hilarious however.  The food fight and the scene where some of the girls are drunk and the headmistress has to deal with both of these scenarios, especially in the uptight world of decorum and virtue, were too funny.  It made the girls seem more human and more interesting.  I found the contrast between how Stuart Hamilton dealth with the situations and how the women dealt with them very interesting and it says a lot about the division of men and women at that time. 

This was a light and interesting read, but if you are looking for an in-depth murder/mystery, you will not get that in this novel.  It is too bad that the author has said that this will be the last novel in this series as there is definitely some potential to develop these characters and the stories.  If you like easy mysteries that you can read quickly, involve ghosts, and are set in England, than this is a book for you.


Post a Comment