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After the Armistice Ball (Dandy Gilver Murder Mystery) Paperback – August 24, 2006
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Perhaps the time has come for contemporary Scottish crime fiction to lighten up. Tartan noir has reigned unopposed for too long. Tartan tweed might give it a run for its dirty money. * Scottish Daily Mail * McPherson's refreshing debut introduces the captivating Dandy Gilver... memorable supporting characters plus vivid descriptions enhance a compelling mystery * Publishers Weekly, * A most enjoyable murder-mystery, with a new and appealing heroine. * Publishing News * Shortlisted for the Crime Writers * Association Ellis Peters Award, a 1920s upper-class whodunit featuring a captivating amateur sleuth... stylishly intriguing.' The Bookseller *
About the Author
Catriona McPherson was born near Edinburgh in 1965, the youngest of four daughters, and was educated at Edinburgh University. She then worked for five years as a lecturer in the English department of Leeds University before fleeing academia almost completely. Catriona now teaches part time for the Open University and spends the rest of her time writing. She lives on a farm in a beautiful valley in Galloway.
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I also guessed the answer to the mystery and the reasons fairly early on. Not to mention, little action takes place until about the last 20-30 pages. Apart from that the story is mostly people talking to each other or mentally considering the aspects of the crime. Made it move very slowly. I was also dissatisfied with the ending. If I'm reading it right, the real murderer actually got away. I might try the next book just to see if this series improves at all, but I won't make a special trip to get my hands on it.
The atmosphere of the upper classes in Scotland at this time came as a welcome relief from always reading mysteries set in England. The heroine of this series is truly a delightful character because the author gave her such human and realistic qualities to make her lifelike and someone you would actually want to know. It is so very refreshing to find a heroine who doesn't know what she is doing when she is detecting and finds no problem in admitting her shortcomings. Naturally she admits these things only to herself, but nevertheless it is quite fun to read. And yet this is no stumbling, bumbling, comedic detective. Instead her character is one who learns on the job, but always with the very best intentions. It was also interesting to become acquainted with Dandy's husband Hugh. Well, since he is almost always in the background I actually only got a vague outline of Hugh but that outline was quite revealing because of how the author had written his presence. All of the characters are so well incorporated that you will think of them as people as they add to the colorful assortment of individuals who contribute to the plot. Another aspect I enjoyed was that the mystery was complicated enough to give my brain quite a good workout. I would think I had the solution and then find that I might not be right after all. In the end there are several questions which the author allows the reader to provide their own answers for.
If you are interested in reading this series, which I do highly recommend to lovers of period mysteries, here is the list of books in order.
1. After the Armistice Ball (Dandy Gilver Murder Mystery 1)
2. The Burry Man's Day: A Dandy Gilver Murder Mystery (Dandy Gilver Mysteries) [Hardcover]
3. Winter Ground (Dandy Gilver Murder Mystery 3)
4. Bury Her Deep (A Dandy Gilver Mystery)
5. Dandy Gilver and the Proper Treatment of Bloodstains
6. Dandy Gilver and an Unsuitable Day for a Murder (Dandy Gilver Mysteries (Minotaur Books))
7. Dandy Gilver and a Bothersome Number of Corpses
They may not all be easy to find, especially here in the States, but it will give you quite a bit of satisfaction in becoming a detective yourself in order to track them all down. Happy reading!
With a patient editor who marked every other page "Do we really need to hear this again?", this would have been a much better novel. But since Ms. McPherson does not seem to have an editor of that description (either external or internal), I will probably not try any more of her books.
I like the Dandy Gilver books because the main character is appealing. I'm not sure how well a man would enjoy these stories, as Dandy has many rather disparaging comments to make about her husband and the male sex in general;from a female perspective, however, they are funny! McPherson also provides a very authentic-seeming historical background with plenty of period detail. This book takes place after WWI, although I imagine Dandy Gilver's striking independence (she goes off on small trips with only a male companion who is not her husband) is NOT typical of the mores of the day! Everything is in the interest of solving a crime/mystery, however, so her relatively clueless husband is completely safe in trusting his wife, under any circumstances.
This is an amusing story with a good, surprising mystery plot.Dog lovers will also appreciate Dandy's devotion to her canine companion.