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Thursday, December 17, 2009

Review: Death at Wentwater Court by Carola Dunn

Author: Carola Dunn

Copyright: 1994 (Kensington); 256 pgs.

Series: #1 in Daisy Dalrymple mysteries

Sensuality: N/A

Mystery sub-genre: historical / cozy

Main Character: Honorable Daisy Dalrymple, daughter of a Viscount

Setting: Winter – 1922, English country estate, country recovering from WWI

Part of a Challenge: Fall Winter Mystery Reading Challenge

Obtained book through: Library Find

Daisy is a new breed of royal, blazing her own trails as she takes a job writing feature articles for Town and County. Her lineage gains her entry to places other writers couldn’t even dream of. Case in point, Earl Wentwater opens his estate for Daisy to do an article on the estate and a few juicy stories – by their standards. Daisy is sharp and observant and she realizes there are many emotional undercurrents working at the estate. When an unwelcome guest, Lord Astwick – the brother of a Marquis, is found dead bobbing in a hole in the frozen lake on the estate property Daisy photographs the removal of the body. After Daisy develops the photos and shows them to the handsome Scotland Yard Chief Inspector Fletcher it is clear there are axe marks that created the hole and the notion of an ice skating accident are ruled out.

Daisy gets involved in the investigation when she acts as scribe for Inspector Fletcher while he questions the house full of family and a few guests, effectively making her a liaison between the working class Inspector and the privileged class. She starts to notice how her heart quickens when the inspector enters the room. Who killed the reprehensible Lord Astwich is important but inspector Fletcher also finds himself wondering whether the Honorable Miss Dalrymple could ever see him as an equal and thus perhaps go on a date.
Alex came to a decision. “I’m going to ask a further favor of you. Do you by any chance take shorthand?”

“Yes, sort of. That is, I learned it and I worked for a while as a stenographer, but being in an office all day was simply frightful.”

“You’ve forgotten it?” He asked, disappointed.

“Not exactly. I use it when I’m making notes for my writing, but it’s not quite Pitman’s any longer. I don’t think anyone else could read it. I can, as long as I transcribed it before I forget what it says.”

He laughed. “I’ll risk it. It’ll be better than nothing. I want to interview people while they think I believe the drowning was accidental, but my officers won’t be here to take notes for some time.”

“You want me to do it?” She sounded astonished and not a little excited, her eyes sparkling.
A charming mystery novel. Daisy Dalrymple is a great heroine, level headed, observant and a good judge of character. She wants to help the family out because she has grown fond of the Earl and his new wife in a short time. The murder is not chilling but the killer must be ferreted out even if it is a member of the Earl’s family or the Earl himself, which provides some political land mines for Inspector Fletcher. The plot is not particularly elaborate but the story is nicely told. A light read debuting a series that brings the 1920s culture and uniqueness vibrantly to life. The murder solution is believable and the resolution is different.

For your convenience, you may purchase your copy here.

Until Monday I wish you many mysterious moments.
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Ann Elle Altman said...

This is a wonderful blog. I am always looking for great mysteries. I will have to search for this book on amazon.

Thank you.


A.F. Heart said...

I am overjoyed that you like the blog. I love reading mysteries and I like sharing them for others to get ideas.

AF Heart

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