Don´t ask me why I wanted to read this novel. Maybe the beautiful to look-at cover and the summary were the reason why I asked for it. Unfortunately, the story couldn´t convince me. Maybe my expectations have been too high, or it was the fact, that Kate Saunders was a new-to-me author. I don´t know. All I know is that I am disappointed. But only because I rate it as average doesn´t mean that it can´t be an entertaining read for others. Sometimes it happens that I judge a book with a low rating and for some of my followers it is a signal that it might be a good choice for them.

Die Intrigen Am King´s Theatre
by Kate Saunders
Laetitia Rodd Series #3
Translation Anette Hahn
Original Title The Mystery Of The Sorrowful Maiden
Publisher Fischer TB on June 29, 2022
Genre Crime
Pages 365
Format Paperback
Source Publisher

Murder behind the scenes.

Actually, Laetitia Rodd is only supposed to support the famous but quarreling couple of actors Transome - after all, she is known in good Victorian society for her discussions, seeing everything, and nobody notices. But while Mrs. Rodd tries to look behind the family's intriguing machinations, events take a turn for the worse: a body is found in London's King's Theater and the Transomes come under suspicion. Do they have anything to do with the dead?
Laetitia tries to do everything within her power to help a couple sort out their financial problems. Not easy when the man is a famous actor who can´t keep the money together. But when she hears that a person got murdered and another person claims to have done it, Laetitia must work even faster because her instincts tell her that something is terribly wrong.

At first, I really liked the soft, quiet tone and the wonderfully chosen words. There was politeness and restraint, especially in the main character, who reads really well in some dialogues and scenes. But when the polite and decent world of Laetitia Rodd met the light and direct world of the theater, the restraint and moral values of the protagonist suddenly didn't fit so well into the picture. Her moral concepts collided with her environment and for the time Laetitia Rodd's behavior seemed too out of the ordinary. Yes, she's a widow, so she's able to move about freely and practically at ease during this time, but at some points, her behavior scratched the plain facade of her person more than it did with the theater people. They were shown here in a very revealing, light-hearted, and almost vulgar way. On the one hand, this represented a successful contrast to the world of Laetitia, but on the other hand, it was almost too shrill and unrestrained for my taste.

The author is really lucky when it comes to character creation. From the shrill, loud character to the pale and inconspicuous main character, everything is there that the range of characters has to offer. Unfortunately, this doesn't help the story itself one bit. Some character traits seem far too exaggerated, while other characters just languish in front of the reader's eye in a colorless and unconvincing way. Yes, the politeness and a tone appropriate to the time are well taken in places, but occasionally exaggerated and thus become implausible to me. Unfortunately.

Somehow, I couldn't get excited about this thriller. No question, there was no lack of surprising twists here. But I missed that certain something. There was no momentum and some things dragged on a bit too much for my liking. It's a shame, but I can't recommend this novel.

Happy reading

*This book was kindly provided to me by Fischer TB in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. Thank you. Therefore, the cover of the German edition is shown first in this review.

Deutsche Rezension

Anfangs hat mir der sanfte, leise Tonfall und die wunderbar gewählten Worte sehr gefallen. Da kamen eine Höflichkeit und Zurückhaltung vor allem bei der Hauptfigur zum Vorschein, die sich in einigen Dialogen und Szenen wirklich gut las. Als die höfliche und anständige Welt der Laetitia Rodd dann aber mit der leichten und direkten Welt des Theaters in Kontakt kam, passten die Zurückhaltung und die moralischen Werte der Protagonistin plötzlich nicht mehr so sehr ins Bild. Ihre Moralvorstellungen kollidierten mit ihrem Umfeld und für die damalige Zeit erschien mir das Verhalten von Laetitia Rodd dann doch zu sehr aus dem Rahmen gefallen. Ja, sie ist eine Witwe und kann sich dadurch in dieser Zeit frei und praktisch ungezwungen bewegen, aber an einigen Stellen kratzte ihr Verhalten mehr an der unscheinbaren Fassade ihrer Person, als es bei den Theaterleuten der Fall war. Die wurden hier sehr freizügig, leichtlebig und fast schon ordinär gezeigt. Was einerseits einen gelungenen Kontrast zur Welt von Laetitia darstellte, andererseits aber fast schon zu schrill und hemmungslos für meinen Geschmack war.

Die Autorin hat ein glückliches Händchen, was die Erschaffung von Figuren angeht. Da ist vom schrillen, lauten Charakter bis hin zur blassen und unscheinbaren Hauptfigur alles dabei, was die Figurenpalette so hergibt. Leider hilft das hier der Geschichte selbst kein bisschen. Einige Charaktereigenschaften wirken viel zu übertrieben, während andere Figuren farblos und ohne Überzeugungskraft vor dem Leserauge nur so dahindümpeln. Ja, die Höflichkeit und einer der Zeit angemessener Tonfall sind stellenweise gut getroffen, aber hin und wieder doch auch übertrieben und damit für mich unglaubwürdig geworden. Leider.

Irgendwie konnte mich dieser Krimi nicht begeistern. Keine Frage, an überraschenden Wendungen hat es hier nicht gefehlt. Aber ich habe das gewisse Etwas vermisst. Da war kein Schwung drin und einige Dinge haben sich für meinen Geschmack etwas zu sehr in die Länge gezogen. Schade, aber diesen Roman kann ich nicht weiterempfehlen.

Originally published by Bloomsbury Publishing on December 7, 2021. 

Kate Saunders
Kate Saunders ©Charlie Hopkinson

Kate Saunders, born in 1960, is an English author, actress, and journalist. The daughter of the early public relations advocate Basil Saunders and his journalist wife Betty, Saunders has worked for newspapers and magazines in the UK, including The Sunday Times, Sunday Express, Daily Telegraph, She, and Cosmopolitan. She has also been a regular contributor to radio and television, with appearances on the Radio 4 programs Woman's Hour, Start the Week, and Kaleidoscope. She is an avid Londoner.



  1. Sorry to hear this was disappointing. It does have a nice cover.

    1. It does, indeed. And was the reason why I wanted to read it, after reading the summary. Ah well, not every book can fit our taste, can it.


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