"Ladies of Class"

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On this page you will find previous reviews of Ladies of Class.

Issue #1, September 2007

Ladies of Class

Marjorie Owen


 ISBN: 0-9793327

 Early 2008
 Vintage Romance Publishing
107 Clearview Circle Goose Creek, SC 29445
 Hard cover
 227 pages
 Murder Mystery
 Rating: 4 cups

 Laura Clayton is a woman settling into being a widow. Her life is filled
 with her son and spending time with her friends in town. She has no idea
 that someone has a vendetta against her. At Christmas, she thought she
saw an old friend, but decided it was only her imagination. After all, she
 had lost contact with many of people in her life and does not expect to ever
see this person again. She sees no reason to take precautions, but it will
 all be over before she knows it.

 Richard Hayward is known for the unconventional methods he uses to solve
 cases. It seems to him that he is always being lectured that he should be
 more careful, but that does not keep him from doing things the way he
 feels they need to be done. He is at loose ends since his wife went to New
 Zealand to take care of her father. Richard loves her and misses her terribly. He
 has no idea how busy he will become very soon.

 Murder in Burshill is very rare and becomes a puzzle when the victim is

a sweet old lady who has not harmed anyone. There is no evidence of robbery
 robbery as a motive because her purse is left intact. Richard is
 determined to solve the murder even especially since the Chief Constable, Sir John
 Bury is onto him to solve the case quickly. It does not help that Sir John was
 a close friend of the deceased. Richard feels there is more than meets the
eye on this one. If only he can solve it and quickly before anyone else is
Ms. Owens weaves a tale of suspense that keeps you hanging. Richard will
pull out all the stops to find the truth and suspecting a trusted
 official will be the least of his problems. The connection between Mrs. Clayton
 and the murderer is one that is very surprising. I had no idea who committed
 the crime. This one will leave you guessing until the very end.
 Reviewer for Coffee Time Romance
 Reviewer for Karen Find Out About New Books


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Ladies of Class

Conrad V. Sucatre <OldSchoolRomance>

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SPECIAL REVIEW: "Ladies of Class" by Marjorie Owen (Coming early next year)

I had intended to review "Love Calls the Tune" by Kathleen Norris this week, but something came up and I couldn't get to it. Instead I'm going to do something unusual, and review a book that won't be released until later this year!

"Ladies of Class" by Marjorie Owen (from Vintage Romance Publishing www.vrpublishing.com ) is unique in many ways. Its author, the late Marjorie Owen, passed away some years ago, and her manuscript was just recently accepted for publication through the efforts of her daughter-in-law, Dee.

In its own way, "Ladies of Class" is an "old time" novel in its style and characterization. This is the kind of murder mystery that we would have called a "who-done-it" in the old days. It follows a tireless dectective who doesn't announce the identity of the killer until the end, after wading through a baffling maze of clues.

I'm not exactly sure when this story was written; from some refernces in the text I'm guessing it was penned in either the seventies or eighties. It certainly takes place well before the cell-phone and cyber age. (Which makes finding clues that much more difficult for the hero.)

In Burshill, a backwater English village, Laura Clayton is stabbed to death one foggy night while strolling back to her home. At first it looks like a robbery gone awry, but then two other women are also murdered within days of each other--and like Laura, they all attended the same private school in the late 1930s.

Richard Hayward, the police investigator assigned to this case, is the most likeable detective I've seen in fiction in a long time. Because of good media exposure early in his career, he's considered a whiz kid at solving crimes--a reputation he's not at all comfortable with. In a remarkable human touch to the story, he has a "Dr. Watson" in his mother Ella, who sometimes gives him advice and in whom in likes to confine. For some reason the text occasionally calls him "arrogant," but he certainly doesn't come across that way. Quite often he's baffled and confused by the lack of clues, and he makes his share of mistakes. When he gets tough it's only with those who are obnoxious first, and he feels sorrow for the killer's victims. I'd call him a "gentleman detective" myself.

I like the fact that the book has the characters talking in natural speech patterns. Since this is a Brtish book, written by a British citizen, it means there's a lot of British slang in the story. But that just makes the characters sound like human beings, and not puppets spouting cliches.

This is not a heavy-duty read, but it's a fun book, the kind you like to sit down, put up your feet and relax with.

"Ladies of Class" will be available early next year from Vintage Romance Publishing.

Feedback, submissions, ideas? email: dbjro3@cwpanama.net