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Posts Tagged ‘Carola Dunn’

Buried in the Country (Cornish Mysteries Book 4)

Eleanor is surprised to receive a phone call from an old friend who is high up in the Foreign Office.  He wants her to act as chaperone and facilitator at a secret meeting.  Eleanor doesn’t see that she can be much help but agrees to a weekend, all expenses paid, at posh hotel at Tintagel which isn’t far from where she lives.

What she doesn’t expect is to meet her niece, Megan there in her official capacity.  Megan is a detective with the local force and is there as bodyguard and to look out for anything which is going wrong.  What follows is an entertaining and fast paced mystery novel where it is far from clear until almost the end which people Eleanor can trust and which she can regard with suspicion.

I have read the three previous novels in this entertaining, low key, mystery series.  Eleanor is an interesting character, as is Megan and I enjoyed the nail biting car chase through the fog which is the focal point of the story.  This is the fourth book in this series of Cornish mysteries.

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Superfluous Women: A Daisy Dalrymple Mystery

This is number twenty two in the Daisy Dalrymple series and I think the series is getting even better with each book.  In this one Daisy is recovering from a bad attack of bronchitis at a hotel in Beaconsfield where she intends to visit an old school friend who has recently moved to the area.  Her friend is one of the so-called ‘superfluous women’, who were unlikely to ever marry because there were almost two million more women than men in the country following the huge losses of the Great War.

Wilhelmina (Willie) has set up house with two friends – Vera and Isabel.  She herself is an accountant and Vera is an infant teacher and Isabel runs the house and garden and does all the cooking.  The arrangement seems to work well and Daisy enjoys visiting the trio for tea.  So far so peaceful but then Daisy and her husband Alec, a Chief Inspector at Scotland Yard visit the friends for Sunday lunch they discover a body in the cellar.

I thought the resulting story was well plotted and interesting and it does show the problems and prejudices which women faced in the nineteen twenties, many of which women still face today. Daisy is at her nosy best and Alec finds himself walking the perennial tightrope of helping the local force while trying not to antagonise them.

The series can be read in any order but it is best to read them in the order in which they were published as then you can follow the development of the series characters.

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Heirs of the Body (Daisy Dalrymple)

Daisy Fletcher is asked to get involved in assessing whether or not prospective heirs to what is now her cousin’s estate and title are legitimate.  Edgar – the current Viscount Dalrymple – has no children and the estate has to go to the next male heir.  Edgar invites the people who believe they are his heir to a house-party to celebrate his own birthday and his solicitor, Tommy Pearson – also a friend of Daisy’s – has to trawl through the paperwork and find out who is the heir.

 

Daisy and her husband DCI Alec Fletcher are invited to the house-party and when accidents start happening to some of the prospective heirs her curiosity and Alec’s professional instincts are aroused.  An unexplained death soon has Alec in the middle of a busman’s holiday as he is asked to investigate.  I enjoyed this mystery and found myself struggling to work out who was the guilty party and who was the real heir.

 

Daisy is a likeable character though I am less keen on her husband who can be a little irascible at times.  I like the way the children – Belinda, Daisy’s step-daughter, and her nephew Derek – are part of the story and I felt the author really brings the children to life.

 

This book could be read as a standalone novel but it is also part of the Daisy Dalrymple series in which Daisy’s insatiable curiosity frequently lands her in the middle of a murder investigation.

 

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A Second Spring

 

This book includes four novellas all featuring older heroines – some are widows others are spinsters – all finding live when they least expect it.  I enjoyed these poignant feel good stories with their touch of humour.  If you’ve read all of Georgette Heyer’s Regency novels then this book would be a good substitute.

 

The Dower House – widowed mother and widowed daughter find themselves falling for distant relatives and realise that love is possible.

 

A Conformable Wife – an arranged marriage provides surprises for both bride and groom

 

The Aunt and the Ancient Mariner – Aunt Chloe is asked to rescue her niece from an arranged marriage and finds a totally different situation from what she had been led to believe.

 

Pirate Pendragon – can a lost love be resurrected?

 

I think my favourites were A Conformable Wife and The Aunt and the Ancient Mariner as they have all the ingredients of the best light Regency romances – wit, adventure and far from perfect heroes and heroines.  Overall this book is an entertaining read.

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Valley of the Shadow (Cornish Mystery 3)

This is the third episode of this interesting mystery series featuring pensioner Eleanor Trewynn and her dog Teazle.  When Eleanor’s niece, Megan, rescues a half drowned man while out for a walk with Eleanor and her neighbour Nicholas Gresham, Eleanor finds herself in the middle of a mystery.  Where did the man come from and why has he been washed up half drowned on the Cornish coast?

 

This is an exciting story with a race against time as well as a hair raising sea voyage.  I found myself turning the pages faster to find out what happened.  The suspense is well done and keeps the reader on the edge of their seat.  The characters are interesting and their interactions are believable.  I’ve grown to like Eleanor and her niece Megan in the three books available in this series so far.

 

I particularly like the police characters – the brusque D I Scumble who has a very human side to him; Megan herself struggling with all the prejudice of the era against women in the police.  If you like your mysteries with interesting characters and backgrounds then give this series a try – they can be read in any order.

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A Colourful Death (Cornish Mystery 2)

Eleanor Trewynn is once more involved in a murder when her friend and neighbour Nicholas Gresham finds the body of a fellow artist in a pool of blood with a dagger sticking out of his back.  The fact that the artist has damaged Nicholas’s own paintings gives D I Pearce a cast iron motive for treating Nicholas as prime suspect.  The case is soon handed over to the grumpy D I Scumble and Eleanor’s niece, Megan who is a detective sergeant.

 

This is an interesting mystery with artistic and personal rivalries as a background. It can be read as a standalone novel but it is the second instalment in a series of Cornish mysteries set in small town on the Cornish coast.  The characters are well drawn and believable and I like Eleanor and her friend the vicar’s wife.  The police characters are interesting too with the perennially sarcastic D I Scumble who seems to be mellowing a little as he gets to know both Megan and her aunt.

 

If you enjoy relatively slow paced mysteries with interesting plots and background then give this series a try.

 

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Manna from Hades (Cornish Mystery 1)

 

I’ve read all of this author’s Daisy Dalrymple series and thoroughly enjoyed them so I decided to try her new Cornish Mystery series.  This is the first book of that series and very enjoyable it is too.  Set in the 1960s in a small town on the Cornish coast it features Eleanor Trewynn, a widow in her sixties, who lives above a charity shop and helps to run it.

 

She has an ancient pea green Morris Minor and a West Highland White terrier called Teazle.  When she discovers a body in the stock room of the charity shop she becomes involved in a web of crime and ends up having more contact than she actually wants with the irascible D I Scumble.  Eleanor’s niece, Megan, is also a detective which helps to make things difficult at times.

 

This is relatively slow paced mystery with some interesting characters and evocative descriptions of Cornwall and life in a small community in a gentler age.  I found it an enjoyable and relaxing read, with some interesting characters and situations and a well-drawn background.  This is a promising start to the series and I shall look forward to reading future instalments.

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