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Black Ship (Daisy Dalrymple Mysteries, No. 17) Hardcover – September 2, 2008
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From Publishers Weekly
At the start of Dunn's diverting 17th Daisy Dalrymple 1920s mystery (after 2007's The Bloody Tower), Daisy and her Scotland Yard detective husband, Alec Fletcher, have inherited a large house from Alec's great-uncle near London's Hampstead Heath. While the couple are delighted with the extra space for their growing family, they have doubts about their new neighbors. Then the maid discovers a dead body in the garden one morning, and Daisy and Alec become entangled in a case involving bootleggers, American gangsters and black ships (e.g., rum-running vessels). Meanwhile, the nanny can't get used to the idea that Daisy as a modern mother actually wants to play with her babies. Dunn provides an intriguing view of the Prohibition era from the English perspective, besides casting a witty light on the social changes of the day. (Sept.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
This is the seventeenth entry in Dunn’s charming series featuring the Honourable Daisy Dalrymple and her detective husband, Alec Fletcher. It’s 1925, less than four years after Daisy’s first adventure (Death at Wentwater Court, 1994) took place, so it’s no surprise why she is infamous at Scotland Yard as the detective’s wife who keeps falling over bodies. Technically, Daisy doesn’t stumble over this body, but her dog and parlor maid do in a small communal garden near their new home. As they get to know their new neighbors, they find that they really like the Jessups (who are in the business of selling spirits) and really dislike the Bennetts (who are in the business of gossip). The hapless Mr. Lambert from their American adventure (The Murdered Muckraker, 2002), now employed by the U.S. Treasury Department, returns in this novel, on the track of contraband booze, even though bootlegging is not illegal in England. (Black Ship refers to a rum-running vessel.) As usual, Daisy helps solve the case because people “do like to tell me things, you know.” --Judy Coon
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Top Customer Reviews
In this novel, she and Alec (and the twins, a nanny, and necessary staff) are just moving into a house left to Alec by an odd uncle. Unfortunately, (though expectedly), a dead body is found on the edge of their property, and Daisy soon finds herself involved (since Alec is at work) and no one knows what to do.
As usual, as Alec performs the necessary police investigation, while Daisy continues to gather information that assists him.
This is a fine mystery (and can be read on its own, though some characters are more fun if you have read earlier books). The plot is pleasantly dense and moves right along. A fine read (which is why I'm up at 1:41 AM writing this review)!
One such agent turns up on Daisy's doorstep. She and Alec met Lambert in America. He's endearingly hopeless, helpless and hapless at cloak and dagger work -- but ever so eager to succeed. The Fletchers put him up for a while because his money and passport were stolen on the boat train.
The nicest of Daisy's new neighbors happen to be wholesalers of fine wines and spirits. Lambert can't resist spying on them. This has its comic aspect.
Meanwhile, a dead foreigner is found in the communal garden by Daisy's new home (the growing Fletcher family has just moved). Daisy's home swarms with detectives, because it makes a handy base for the investigation -- a wonderful opportunity for her to insinuate herself into the thick of the action.
I didn't know anything about the black ships before reading this book. So I really enjoyed the scenes at sea with the rumrunners.
The story has a nice flow, investigative activities alternate with tea parties, nursery matters, bootlegging and Daisy's assessments of her fellow suburbanites. The denouement is particularly satisfying.
This is the first time I have seen the ratings. Is there violence? Well, people do get murdered, but the violence is not anywhere near what we think of today. Is there sexual content? Well, Daisy and Alex are married, in love and have twins. But it is also the mid to late 1920's so some Victorian morals do apply. Those are hard blocks to check because everything is so relative.