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Thursday, March 12, 2009
THE SERPENT AND THE SCORPION-CLARE LANGLEY-HAWTHORNE
Taking place in the early 1900’s, I found this mystery to be different than the last few that I have read. First of all, it took place in the past; that in itself made it a very unique and refreshing read. Second, not only was there a fantastic mystery that needed to be solved, but the romance between the main characters was very stirring. Usually I am one for a sizzling, red hot romance, but this, due to the time in which the story takes place, was very prim and proper, but at the same time extremely satisfying.
Ursula Marlow is a very talked about woman. She is the center of most gossip in fact. Whether it be because she refuses to marry Lord Wrotham until she is able to stand on her own two feet and successfully manage the business that was left to her when her father died, or because she is a suffragette who believes that women should be treated equally in a relationship, in business, and should be able to vote, there is definitely a lot to gossip about.
Ursula befriends a woman named Katya Vilensky while at a function. They meet up by chance a few weeks later in Egypt and spend some time together. While out doing some shopping, something goes horribly wrong and Katya winds up dead. Chalking it up to almost nothing, the officials appear to be doing nothing to try and find her killer. Ursula vows to find out who is behind this. She starts to uncover little clues along the way that help convince her that there is a bigger picture to this murder.
Word is sent from England that someone is found dead inside Ursula’s Oldham factory. This factory was a special project that she created; a place where single women could work and get back on their feet and learn skills. Fearing the worst, Ursula rushes back to London and finds that one of her young women who worked in the factory is found dead, and the factory burned down. Ursula is now more determined than ever to find the link between these two deceased women and to try and understand how she plays a part in all of this.
While all of this is going on, Ursula is trying to map out her feelings for Lord Wrotham. She knows she loves him and wants to be with him, but in order for his reputation to stay untarnished she needs to agree to marry him sooner rather than later. She has a stubborn streak that tells her she needs to wait it out and learn to be successful and self-sufficient so that people will respect her. Each time she sees Lord Wrotham she struggles with these feelings.
Clare Langley-Hawthorne has created a very well balanced, like able story. It is filled with the mystery her readers are seeking, romance, and an ending that will leave you puzzled and anxious to find out what happens next. Her writing is clear and concise and she paints a beautiful picture of what it was like in the early 1900’s in Egypt and England. I thoroughly enjoyed this read.
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