In “The Winter Garden Mystery” by Carola Dunn, Daisy Dalrymple is back and stumbling across dead bodies. Rather than survive in proper genteel poverty with her mother, the Honourable Daisy Dalrymple has decided to live in less than genteel poverty by writing magazine articles on country manor houses. For research on one such manor house, Daisy travels to Occles Hall, invited by a former school chum. When she arrives she finds a chilly welcome from the lady of the house, Lady Valeria, who has all she surveys under her thumb. Daisy, as always, is determined to persevere, but the discovery of a missing maid’s body, followed by the arrest of the Welsh gardener’s assistant, has her bucking social mandates and investigating the case. Positive of a miscarriage of justice, she quickly convinces Scotland Yard Detective Alec Fletcher to investigate.
I am a late-come fan to the Daisy Dalrymple series by Carola Dunn, but I’ve quickly become an avid fan. Set in 1920s England, this series is entertaining and a delight to read. The growing attraction between Daisy and Alec lends a romantic sweetness to the books. Fans of Kerry Greenwood’s Miss Fisher series will want to add these books to their must read lists. Carola Dunn’s characters are amusing and captivating, and her plots are well-crafted and keep the reader eagerly turning pages. I look forward to making my way through this series.
In England, 1923, The Honorable Daisy Dalrymple has made a decision that, while shocking to her class, is in perfect keeping with the spirit of the times. Rather than live with relatives until she marries, she has decided to make her own living with her writing. Her series of articles on country manor homes has proven to be a success, and she travels to Occles Hall to research her latest piece.
What she finds is a household under the thumb of the ill-tempered and demanding Lady Valeria. And the discovery of the body of a pregnant maid buried in the winter garden does nothing to improve Lady Valeria's mood. A young Welsh under-gardener is arrested for the crime but Daisy is sure of his innocence. Wary of the air of secrecy that permeates Occles Hall, Daisy convinces Alec Fletcher of Scotland Yard to investigate further - a murder that is more complex and horrifying than either could have imagined.