Fantasy Mystery Romance Comics Non-Fiction

Proper English

Friday, August 9, 2019

Proper English (2019) KJ Charles

Set in England in 1902

Patricia Merton is looking forward to the shooting party in the country. Now her brother’s wedding is over, she is going to have to decide what to do with herself, because remaining in the home she grew up just isn’t going to work. But she doesn’t get much time to think about her future (or shoot) because Fenella Carruth, her host’s fiancee is distracting, and her host’s brother-in-law is a complete cad, who seems set on ruining the party for everyone.

This story is related to one I love, Think of England, and is set two years prior to that, so we know going in that Fen and Pat are going to become a couple–we just don’t know how they are going to get there.

Also, this is a murder mystery, so we have to discover who is murdered (it’s pretty obvious who this is going to be) and then who was the murderer. That bit was harder, since the victim had given literally every at the party reason to kill them.

As with most of KJ Charles’ books, there are a variety of characters–all of whom are appropriate for the time.

Miss Singh agreed. “Miss Merton, I wanted to say that I hope I didn’t offend you earlier.”

“Me? Not at all. How would you have done so?”

“When we first discussed shooting. I feel strongly on the subject, so I express myself strongly.”

“I had four older brothers,” Pat said. “I’m used to people expressing themselves strongly.

Pat is quite eccentric, but not ridiculously so for the time.

Pat did not corset. She had had no mother to train her waist to a span of eighteen inches or so; her father thought wasp-waists were for insects and preferred his daughter able to walk, climb trees, shoot, and run around the house.

And related to that, this bit amuses me.

As an adherent of Rational Dress, she was able to clothe herself without a maid’s assistance. She simply donned combinations, drawers, camisole, stockings, undershirt, petticoat, walking dress, and boots, and was ready to face the day.

A subtle reminder that the world was very different for women.

“But she isn’t your daughter,” Haworth said silkily. “She’s my wife. I think some of you around this table are in danger of forgetting that, aren’t you?

And a less subtle reminder.

I also note that there are some lovely pointed comments, about things that are still problematic today.

“I’m so sorry. That’s wholly inadequate but I don’t know if there’s anything else one can say.”

“Not really. Certainly not, ‘At least you still have two left.’”

“Please don’t tell me people say that to you.”

“Of course they do,”

One quick note. I did take umbrage with this.

(M)y sister bedded an American jazz musician,” Jimmy snapped. “George takes after his father. Brown as a berry.

The music might have been what we’d call jazz, but that’s too early for the name. It’s just a small nit. I’m assuming because it was a quick shorthand for what the author meant, but as someone who adores jazz, it did bug me. Ragtime would probably have been the correct genre to use here. But all that is just me being pedantic, and NOT anything that takes away from the story.

And it was a fun story.

Publisher: KJC Books
Rating: 8/10


No comments

Leave a Comment

XHTML: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

RSS feed Comments