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Superfluous Women
A Daisy Dalrymple Mystery - Book XXII
Carola Dunn

Constable (Little, Brown)
2 July 2015 / ISBN 9781472122759
Historical Mystery

Reviewed by Rachel A Hyde


Daisy has been ill with bronchitis and needs to get away to breathe in some clean air. So she stays in a hotel in Beaconsfield and catches up with an old school friend who lives nearby. Wilhelmina Willie” Chandler shares a house with two other superfluous women, the term for any of the 2 millionextra” women who were unable to find a husband after the First World War killed off so many men. Daisy and Alec are invited to lunch with the trio but are all dismayed to find a dead body in the locked cellar Alec has just managed to open. This is a body that has lain there too long for it to be identifiable. Who is it, and who put it there?

I have read all the books in this series and find them consistently entertaining, historically accurate and well plotted. Ms Dunn has created some likeable characters to spend time with and I enjoy the mixture of police procedural and amateur detection as Alec and Daisy both work to solve the crime. As usual this one was replete with red herrings as the body could not be identified, so anybody could have done the crime. Watching the suspects being narrowed down and other mysteries coming to light and being solved made for compulsive reading. As with all good series it is enjoyable to both meet up with old characters and see them in new situations and encounter new ones. Ms. Dunn paints an accurate picture (as far as I know) of what it must have been like to be a “superfluous woman” in the 1920s and how other people regarded them, as well as showing how police work was done back them as opposed to now. Anybody new to the series needs to know that to be properly enjoyed they need to be read in order; in short this might have a mostly standalone plot but it does not have standalone characters engaged in it. It is books like this that remind me why I enjoy reading historical whodunits so much; one series that shows no sign of running out of steam.

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
Heirs of the Body, 21
Superfluous Women, 22

Reviewed 2015