Gone West (Daisy Dalrymple Mysteries), by Carola Dunn (Review)

January 20, 2013 Uncategorized 0

From the Goodreads description:

In September 1926, the Honourable Daisy Dalrymple Fletcher visits Sybil Sutherby, a school friend now living in Derbyshire as the confidential secretary to a novelist. Suspecting that something is seriously amiss, Sybil has asked Daisy to discretely investigate. Upon arrival, Daisy finds a household of relatives and would-be suitors living off the hospitality of Humphrey Birtwhistle, who had been supporting them through his thriceyearly, pseudonymous Westerns. When he took ill, though, Sybil took over writing them while he recovered, only to see the sales ances increase. Now, she fears that someone in the household is poisoning Birtwhistle to keep him ill and Sybil writing the better-paying versions. But before Daisy can even get decently underway, Humphrey Birtwhistle dies under suspicious circumstances and Daisy now faces a death to untangle, a house full of suspects and a Scotland Yard detective husband who is less than pleased at this turn of events.

Review: 

Once again, Daisy is on the scene when a murder occurs… and once again, Superintendent Crane of Scotland Yard sends Daisy’s husband, Chief Inspector Alec Fletcher, to catch the killer – and not incidentally, to keep Daisy out of trouble.  If you can suspend disbelief long enough to accept the appalling frequency with which Daisy finds herself involved in murder (an inevitable problem for any cozy mystery series, and one which Dunn addresses at least in part though Daisy’s marriage), then you will find Gone West an enjoyable if not inspired addition to this pleasing series.


Dunn populates the story with a nice mix of likable and annoying or unpleasant characters.  There are several possible motives for Hubert Birtwhistle’s death, each just unusual enough to be refreshing (if one can refer to murder in such a way.)  Alec’s investigation is complicated by the suspicion that Hubert has been being drugged or poisoned over several years.  Several people had an interest in keeping Hubert ill, but would they have wanted him dead?

Dunn has crafted her puzzle well.  There were few suspects I could definitively rule out, and while I did consider the person eventually identified as the murderer, I wasn’t convinced until shortly before the solution was revealed.  The location, a remote remodeled farmhouse, adds to the traditional British cozy feel, as does the 1920s time period.

If you’re new to the Daisy Dalrymple series, I suggest starting at the beginning to get the recurring characters’ back story.  The first book isn’t among my favorites, but the early books in the series develop the relationship between Alec and Daisy.  You can, of course, begin with this book, but it’s easier to understand why Alec allows Daisy to be involved with his investigation when you know their history.  If you’re already a fan, then by all means pick up this volume, curl up with a cup of tea, and enjoy!

 

Category: Historical mystery; cozy mystery
Series: Daisy Dalrymple #20
Book Source: Public library

EDITED TO ADD:  I’m counting these 3 books toward the Cruisin’ through the Cozies 2013 challenge.

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