Tag Archives: Minotaur

A Deadly Game

A Deadly Measure of Brimstone

A Deadly Measure of Brimstone: A Dandy Gilver Mystery by Catriona McPherson (Minotaur, $26.99, 304 pages)

A Scottish health spa is just the destination for Dandy Gilver’s husband and two sons, all of whom have been suffering from one illness or another. Never mind that Dandy has an ulterior motive for bustling her family off to the coastal retreat.

Dandy and her partner Alec Osborne are on a sleuthing case and they shamelessly use the outing to cover up their assignment. A guest at the spa has died and the bereaved family needs to know the truth of her demise; accident or murder?

The time is post World War I and the Gilver family is rather well off. Dandy’s husband, Hugh, is reasonably tolerant of his wife’s need to pursue her detective career although sometimes his patience is stretched to its limits.

The spa, Laidlaw’s Hyrdropathic Establishment, is quite the place for encountering all manner of folks. There are the usual staid and and proper ladies and gents taking in the cures along with a rather odd mix of spiritualists, a partying crowd and the family that runs the spa.

Dandy, her family and Alec encounter more than a few bizarre happenings before the mystery death is solved.

Well recommended.

Ruta Arellano

A review copy was provided by the publisher. The author, Catriona McPherson, lives in Davis, California.

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Hammer to Fall

Dandy Gilver and an Unsuitable Day for a Murder: A Mystery by Catriona McPherson (Minotaur, $24.99, 304 pages)

Dandy Gilver is a proper lady living in Scotland during the 1930s.   She is also a detective married to a respectable nobleman and the mother of two sons.   Dandy is the narrator for this series of remarkably detailed and charming period pieces.   Unsuitable Day is the latest in the series written by Catriona McPherson, who was born in Scotland and now resides in Davis, California.

Readers who delight in location details, period pieces and wicked humor are the audience for this book.   There are red herrings, plot twists, gruesome murders and a bit of class warfare that make each page an experience in itself.   Author McPherson’s writing is dedicated to immersing the reader in all things Scottish and particularly those of a small nature.

Perfect escapism is rarely presented in a murder mystery.   There are usually jumps in the story line that create ambiguities to throw the reader off the trail of the killer.   Being thrown off in that way has a tendency to break the spell.   Unsuitable Day goes in the other direction.   There are so many specifics and events that the reader is transported straightaway to the other side of the ocean and into the past.   This reviewer lost track of time during the reading of the book.   Perhaps that’s due to the lack of technology in the story, or maybe it’s the fascinating details related to running a department store in post-World War I.   Regardless, the escape happens and not only will future episodes be welcome, maybe a bit of catching up with Dandy’s past escapades is in order.

Well recommended.

Ruta Arellano

A review copy was provided by the publisher.

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A review of Dandy Gilver and an Unsuitable Day for a Murder: A Mystery by Catriona McPherson.

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