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Dandy Gilver and the Proper Treatment of Bloodstains
Dandy Gilver Series, #5
Catriona McPherson

Minotaur Books
May 8, 2012 / ISBN: 1250007364
Historical Mystery / England-1926

Reviewed by
LJ Roberts

First sentence: I had been standing under this tree, against these railings, looking at that house from the corner of my eye for almost ten minutes now while I waited for my heart to stop dancing.

Dandy Gilver, amateur sleuth, is asked to go undercover as a ladies maid for Lollie Balfour. Mrs. Balfour fears that her life is in danger from her husband. As early plot twist leads Dandy with a completely different crime to solve.

Ms. McPherson committed the criminal offense of series writers; she seemed to assume the reader had read all the previous books. Frankly, I found this incredibly annoying and frustrating as I had no knowledge as to the background of the apparently recurring characters, including the protagonist, nor did the author provide any. Dandy is supported by three characters with male-sounding names: Alec, Hugh and Bunty. Trying to understand who they are and their relationship to Dandy was confusing and impossible. At least I did figure out one is a dog!

One can almost accept that a seemingly upper-class woman could convenience an established English staff she was a lady’s maid might be possible. However, I found it nearly impossible to believe the police would be so accepting of Dandy’s interference.

The dialogue is quite good. I particularly enjoyed the conversations between Dandy and Alec…’Fanny?’ said Alec. ‘And debunked? Where do you get those words? Do you have to pay a subscription?”

The plot does improve and become more intriguing as the story progresses. This isn’t a book set above stairs, but below stairs and amongst those who worked in the coal mines. There is interesting historical information regarding the worker strikes.

“Dandy Gilver and the Proper Treatment of Bloodstains” creates a delightful sense of dread very early on in a story enhanced by an eye for detail and description. I question how plausible the investigative methods were, but the story was unique. I did enjoy it, in the end, but don’t know that I would read another in the series. I do believe that had I started with the series first book, my view might be quite different.

Posted 2012
© 2012