Daisy Dalrymple Fletcher frequently helps her husband, an inspector at Scotland Yard, solve crimes, but lately she's been doing more crime solving on her own. It seems this year she can't even take the holidays off! Things start off with Daisy's mother, the Dowager Viscountess Dalrymple, telling her that she, her husband and step-daughter Belinda, must all come to an ancestral estate in Cornwell (located in the United Kingdom). Her mother informs her she has no choice in the matter. However, when she arrives, they find they'll be spending the holidays with the a family who hasn't said a nice word to each other in ages.
Daisy is left in an umcomfortable situation listening to another family snipe at one another and finding out some less than flattering things about the estate's unflattering and scandolous history. There's even talk of ghosts and haunted treasure. But everything comes to a head when one of the guests is found dead in the family chapel on the estate. However, this is no accidental death. The victim was stabbed! Now Daisy must shift through this family's secrets, skeletons, and scandals to find out who committed this crime. Daisy's convinced there's no ghost at work-just greed! However, trying to get to the bottom of everything is nearly impossible when the family is desparate to keep their dirty little secrets to themselves!
This is one of many in Carola Dunn's series about Daisy Dalrymple Fletcher and the way she seems to fall into crime solving. Set in the 1920's, Daisy is a very progressive, feminist character. She's a very modern and progressive thinker for her time. Dunn does an excellent job painting a vivd portrait of how the estate looks in the reader's mind. She also does a wonderful job creating the overbearing mother and the once-wealthy, now down on their luck with nothing but a family name and a big house types! This is a fun read for anyone who loves a good mystery-especially one set in the U.K. in a haunted old estate.
This report prepared by Krysten Weller
St. Martin's, Dec 2002, 23.95, 26 pp.
In 1923, a finally married Daisy Fletcher (nee Dalrymple) accedes to her pushy mother's demands that the family spend Christmas at Brockdene, a Cornish estate owned by Lord Westmoor because she is writing an article on the holdings. Accompanying the Dalrymple females for the holidays is Daisy's husband, Scotland Yard Inspector Alec. At Brockdene, they find the Earl does not live there, but the poor side of the extended family, three generations of Norvilles do.
Daisy realizes that the manor contains several angry residents. The matriarch is Susannah Norville, whose husband Albert drowned fifty years ago before she arrived from India with their two sons. Albert's wealthy family rejected her verbal claim as his widow as spurious. Her oldest son Victor returns from to India accompanied by Reverend Calloway, who claims he wed Albert and Susannah. He also has documented proof to his assertion that alters the line of succession to the earldom. However, someone murders the Reverend. Alec contains the crime scene and sends for his team to help investigate. Daisy makes inquiries too, but the killer willingly will murder again.
Daisy and her mother are fun characters who turn this combo amateur sleuth-police procedural into a lighthearted historical romp. The amusing story line becomes a bit jumbled (keep a family tree or two handy) that leads to some confusion as to who's who and whom belongs to who (this homicide occurs before Abbott and Costello). Fans of a buoyant easygoing who-Dunn-it that never takes itself serious will want to read MISTLETOE AND MURDER.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner