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The Burry Manís Day
Dandy Gilver Series #2

by Catriona McPherson

      Dandy Gilver, sleuth extraordinaire, is back for a second case, this time in company with old school chums, Daisy and hostess Frederica de Cassilis (aka Buttercup). On her second marriage, Buttercup and her husband, Cadwallader, live in a real castle, surrounded by some equally real old beliefs and customs. One of these is the Burry Manís Day, when a local man goes around Queensferry being given pennies and nips of whisky, followed by a fair. This time the de Cassilisí estate carpenter, Robert Dudgeon, is insistent that he doesnít want to do it, despite having done so for twenty five years. Maybe he has had a premonition, for this time he will drop dead as, costume discarded, he tries to climb the greasy pole. Cue Dandy and her friends to solve the mystery.

Dandy makes a wonderfully real narrator and protagonist, unhappily married and a mother of two boys she has little affection for, but keen to have some fun as an amateur sleuth. If you like exciting stories with lots of action, then this isnít for you, as the pace between the murder and the denouement slows down to where snails might well overtake it, with too much repetition. However, just as with the first book, After The Armistice Ball (also reviewed on this site), there is something compelling about it all. Scotland in the 1920s comes to life within these pages, a time straddling centuries of tradition with modern times knocking on the door, and when the spectre of the First World War still loomed. The background is what kept the pages turning for me, and surely the next best thing to a time machine is a well-researched historical novel that brings the past to life. Just flesh out that plot and skip the repetition and this series will be a winner.

The Book

Constable (Constable & Robinson)
27 July 2006
Historical Crime - 1923, Scotland
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The Reviewer

Rachel A Hyde
Reviewed 2006
© 2006