Mistletoe and Murder: A Daisy Dalrymple Mystery by Carola Dunn was published in 2004 and is number 11 in the series. It is set in the 1920s, hence the attraction, I love films, books, fashion, etc that are pre 1965 and in particular love the novels of Agatha Christie and Dorothy L Sayers. I'm always cautious of books that recreate an era but Miss Dunn did not disappoint me. The book is neither swamped in historical references nor ignored after a brief mention. There is just enough description for the reader to believe that the year is indeed 1923 without needing to have any qualification in history, which is a huge relief as I took Geography!
|Published by Robinson|
Briefly the plot of the book is as follows; Daisy's mother, the formidable Dowager Viscountess Dalrymple (aren't they always formidable!) has decided that for the Christmas period the family will all gather at Brockdene in Cornwall at the invitation of Lord Westmoor. Daisy arrives ahead of the rest of the party as she will be working on an article for Town and Country magazine (now that is a job I would like, in 1923 or today). Brockdene, is occupied by the Norvilles poor relations of Lord Westmoor, and much to the chagrin of the Dowager, Westmoor himself won't be joining them. Daisy spends the first few days making notes for her article, exploring Brockdene and meeting the family. Not long after the arrival of Daisy's husband, Detective Chief Inspector Alec Fletcher of Scotland Yard, the family façade starts to shatter and the secrets of the ancestral estate begin to surface, especially after one of the Christmas guests is the victim of a rather ghastly murder.
I really loved the character of Daisy, she is feisty, feminine and clever. I have always found female detectives fascinating, they all seem to have a different driving force and a very different view of the world to men, and those set in the era where it was unheard of females to be in the police force I find even more appealing. Of course Alec is the 'real' detective but it's Daisy's piecing together of little snippets of information that helps to identify the murderer.
For me, it really was a superb read with just the right dose of festive frivolity, red herrings and intriguing characters.
10 KDS stars from me.