Wednesday, September 10, 2014
The Firebird's Feather by Marjorie Eccles
3.0 out of 5 stars -- "Wishes are sometimes liars. They hold out too much hope, so always be careful what you wish for."
Historical fiction involving a murder investigation and family secrets set in Britain circa 1911. King Edward has just died and preparations are underway for the coronation of King George. Despite the celebratory mood in London, brave women are protesting for the right to vote and all of those demonstrations have not been peaceful ones. In the Challoner household, not far from Hyde Park, the aristocratic family is about to experience its own upheaval in the form of the shooting death of the lady of the house, Lydia Kasparov Challoner.
Lydia, the daughter of a Russian revolutionary who fled to Britain for asylum, was shot with a gun known to be the weapon of choice for many foreign revolutionary gangs while out riding with her escort one Sunday. It's suspected that her murder might be connected to the Letts -- terrorists who had also fled Russia and joined other lawless expatriates leading to violence in the streets. How might Lydia have been involved with any of these activities since her father had died long ago and why was she targeted? Her daughter, 18-year old Kitty, is caught up in the search for her mother's killer as the police question all of Lydia's family and acquaintances. Kitty joins forces with Marcus Villiers to do some sleuthing on her own.
This novel is quite short and meanders a bit as snippets of information and clues are revealed or discovered. None of the characters are very well-developed and are quite superficially portrayed. The plot is a bit thin and when the murderer is identified it seems anticlimactic after all the red herrings. Described as "a late-Edwardian mystery," the book is a quick read.
Thank you to NetGalley and Severn House for the e-book ARC to review.