Series: Daisy Dalrymple #20
Published by Minotaur Books on January 17, 2012
Genres: British mystery, Cozy Mystery, Historical Mystery
Source: the library
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Also in this series: Anthem for Doomed Youth, Heirs of the Body, The Corpse at the Crystal Palace
Also by this author: Anthem for Doomed Youth, Valley of the Shadow, Heirs of the Body, The Corpse at the Crystal Palace
Is it possible for an author to overcome writer's block once he's dead?
September 1926, and Daisy Dalrymple is in Derbyshire, visiting an old school friend who's currently employed by a novelist as his personal secretary. Sylvia Sutherby has asked Daisy to investigate discreetly as she suspects something is seriously amiss with Humphrey Birtwhistle. Upon arrival, Daisy finds a household of relatives and friends all living off the writer's hospitality, as he supports them through his pseudonymous Western sales.
Before Daisy can even begin a bit of decent investigating, however, Birtwhistle dies under suspicious circumstances - and Daisy is now faced with a death to untangle and a household of suspects ... and a husband who is less than pleased to find his wife in the centre of a murder investigation!
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 Westan 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!