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Publisher: Kensington Mystery
Release Date: 2000; frequent reprints
ISBN: 1575667509
Format Reviewed: Paperback
Buy it at Amazon US || UK
Genre: Historical Crime [1923 Hampshire, UK]
Reviewed: 2004
Reviewer: Rachel A Hyde

Death at Wentwater Court
Daisy Dalrymple Mystery, No 1 
By Carola Dunn

     The Honourable Daisy Dalrymple may be the daughter of an Earl, but following various tragic occurrences she is now earning her own living as a journalist for Town and Country magazine. Her task is to write about various less-well-known stately homes, and Wentwater Court is her first assignment. It isn’t long before rather different skills are called upon when a guest is murdered, and everybody suddenly looks suspect. A handsome police officer makes sleuthing even more attractive, and does it all have a connection with a spate of jewel robberies?

     House party murders in the 1920s are hardly a new thing, but this enjoyable cozy shows that sometimes the old ideas are the best (or at least still worth using again). The book’s main strength is its portrayal of the English upper classes at play during a period of great social upheaval. Mentions of the jazz age roaring on in nearby London contrast with recent tragedies of the Great War and flu epidemic, and there is a very real sense of people trying to enjoy themselves and hold things together in a fast-changing world. To the novel’s detriment is the linear plot, which needs a bit of a boost in the middle of the book, and I found myself wondering what some of the Golden Age detective story writers would have added to the mix to make it sing. This notwithstanding, I look forward to reading more entries in this entertaining series.

Reviews of other titles in this series

Death at Wentwater Court, 1
The Winter Garden Mystery, 2
Requiem For A Mezzo, 3
Murder on the Flying Scotsman, 4
Damsel in Distress, 5
Dead In The Water, 6
Styx and Stones, 7
Rattle His Bones, 8 [review 1] [review 2]
To Davy Jones Below, 9
The Case of the Murdered Muckraker, 10
Mistletoe and Murder, 11
Die Laughing, 12
A Mourning Wedding, 13
Fall of a Philanderer, 14
Gunpowder Plot, 15
The Black Ship, 17
Sheer Folly, 18
Anthem For Doomed Youth, 19
Gone West, 20

© 2004