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After The Armistice Ball
A Dandy Gilver Murder Mystery

by Catriona McPherson

      Transport yourself back in time to Perthshire just after the First World War, and to the genteel world of Dandelion (Dandy to her friends) Gilver. It seems like a bit of fun at first to play detective for her friend Daisy Esslemont, and earn herself £500. All she has to do is find the Duffy diamonds, stolen from the Duffy family after the Armistice Ball. But the Duffy's youngest daughter Cara is suddenly found burnt to death in the family's seaside cottage and things take an ugly turn. Was she ever in there, and was it an accident? Now Dandy must turn sleuth in earnest, and along with Cara's fiancÚ Alec get to the bottom of a tricky problem and stay in one piece.

Told in Dandy's own words, this book manages to get under the skin of how a real person might play detective. With no previous experience, Dandy goes all round the houses so if you don't like lengthy stories this might not be for you. The pace is slow, and the plot could certainly do with beefing up to merit a length of 300 pages but there is something compelling about it all. Dandy comes over as a very real woman, trapped in a loveless marriage and the mother of two boys she never feels very close to. Postwar Scotland comes to life too, although apart from Dandy the other characters remain elusive. Flesh the story out, increase the pace and bring a few more characters to life and this has the makings of a slightly unusual and rather fascinating new series.

The Book

Constable (Constable & Robinson)
June 2005
Historical Crime [1922, Scotland]
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The Reviewer

Rachel A Hyde
Reviewed 2005
© 2005