Friday, 23 January 2015

The Crimson Rooms - Katharine McMahon

Buy *The Crimson Rooms* by Katharine McMahon online 
Here's another that's been on the shelves for far too long, and one I am so glad I decided to read.  My copy was around 370 pages, and I couldn't stop turning the pages.  For this is a murder mystery, a thriller, a family tale, with added strands of WW1 and a possible love story woven in between the pages.  I was rather remined of Maisie Dobbs (who I love), although Evelyn Gifford tells this story in the first person.  I'm also pleased to say that I have found there is a follow-on to this book "The Woman in the Picture" which continues Evelyn's story, and which I shall certainly be looking to acquire in the very near future.

Evelyn is thirtyone, a graduate of Girton college, and has passed all her law exams.  But in Britian in 1924, it is nearly impossible for women to be taken seriously as lawyers, and when she gets the chance to be taken on as an articled clerk by a small firm, she has to take it.  Even though her job seems to be sorting files in a damp basement; even though the firm's secretary has more leverage and certainly a better office than she does and even though she seems to be given only mundane enquiries to deal with, she grits her teeth and pushes on.  And then, in fast succession, two different cases are taken on by the firm she is employed by.  One, the probable murder of a woman by her husband two weeks after her marriage; the other, a poverty-stricken mother who has given her children into the care of a children's home and how desparately wants them back.  In both cases there is more than meets the eye.  

There is another sadness for Evelyn, she lost her beloved brother James to WW1, and she is stunned when, late one night a woman arrives at her home with a small child in tow, which she swears is the child of James. Mystery upon mystery between the pages of this very readable book.  Recommended (a lot!).