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Death at Wentwater Court (Daisy Dalrymple Mysteries, No. 1) Mass Market Paperback – October 1, 2000

4.0 out of 5 stars 90 customer reviews

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--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This lively mystery debut introduces the Honorable Daisy Dalrymple, who has taken a job to ensure her independence--an unusual step for the daughter of a viscount in 1922. Her first assignment for Town and Country takes her to Wentwater Court at Christmastime to write about the Wentwater family. Her visit is disrupted by unwelcome guest and--according to Lady Josephine--"utter cad" Lord Stephen Astwick. When Astwick's body is found floating under the ice in the estate's lake, attractive Scotland Yard Chief Inspector Alec Fletcher arrives on the scene. Daisy's photos of the victim, showing ax marks in the ice, suggest the death is murder and prompt Fletcher to enlist her as his stenographer during his investigations. With the entire family, from the earl to his grandchildren, under suspicion, Daisy takes on the role of liaison between landed and working classes. Astwick's indiscretions come to light and disclose more motives for murder at Wentwater Court. Inquisitive and sympathetic, Daisy identifies the murderer, suggests a solution pleasing to most of the family and secures the possibility of romance in her future.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Review

“A charming cozy featuring an intelligent, strong woman. A treat for Daisy's fans as well as those who enjoy Jacqueline Winspear's Maisie Dobbs.” ―Booklist on Gone West

“Delicious…pleasantly reminiscent of the old fashioned English mysteries of a of a bygone era.” ―The Denver Post on Gunpowder Plot

“Dunn adds another winner to a long string of charming mysteries evocative of the period between the Great Wars.” ―Kirkus Reviews (starred) on Gone West

“Dunn and Daisy are at the top of their game in the entertaining, old-school story of drawing room manners mixed with murder.” ―Booklist on Sheer Folly

“Cunnning...appropriate historical detail and witty dialogue are the finishing touches on this engaging 1920s period piece.” ―Publishers Weekly on The Bloody Tower

“Dunn writes enchantingly of 1920s England: its period accoutrements of cars, cocktails, and the always delightful Daisy.” ―Mystery Scene on Sheer Folly

--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Kensington (October 1, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1575667509
  • ISBN-13: 978-1575667508
  • Product Dimensions: 4.3 x 0.7 x 6.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.5 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (90 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #799,578 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Sharon Wylie on October 1, 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
As an avid mystery fan, I'm amazed I haven't heard of this series before; I stumbled across this book by lucky accident but will be recommending it to everyone I know.
The setting is 1923 England, a tumultuous time--the nation is recovering from the Great War and changing social mores threaten the status quo. The Honourable Daisy Dalrymple (daughter of a Viscount) has decided to pursue a career as a writer and journalist rather than be financially supported by her family (shocking!). Her upper-class connections allow her access to Wentwater Court to write a story on this country manor house for Town & Country magazine. But Daisy soon finds herself investigating the death of a fellow guest whose skating accident might not have been an accident at all...
This book is a breath of fresh air in a genre whose conventions too often lead to predictability. Daisy is a truly likeable heroine. She is modern, but modern for HER time, not modern for our time. Her involvement with the mystery at Wentwater Court is the product of her attraction to the Chief Inspector on the case and her desire to help the Wentwater family, rather than the result of the all-too-typical "unbridled curiosity" that aflicts most amateur sleuths.
The mystery itself is not a show-stopper, but neither are there any holes in the resolution. The real star of the series is the time and place. Although it's probably a bit overdone, it's wonderful fun to read about all these people calling each other "old bean" and "chum" and exclaiming, "How perfectly ghastly for the old prune!"
I'm looking forward to the next in the series.
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I am an ardent reader of British mysteries. I was first drawn to this genre by reading a series of cozies. Over the years my tastes have changed, though, and I now much prefer a British psychological thriller or police procedural. However, I still read a cozy now and then for a change of pace.
"Death at Wentwater Court" is the first book in a series featuring The Honourable Daisy Dalrymple and Inspector Alec Fletcher of Scotland Yard. Take a weekend gathering at a country estate in the 1920's, one of the guests who is the unfortunate victim, suspects galore, a promising romantic story line, more red herrings than clues and you have the makings of the ultimate cozy.
Most of the sleuthing is done by Daisy, a member of the British aristocracy who, being rather down on her luck, is supporting herself by working as a journalist. Alec seems to be along for the ride providing her with bits of information that set her off in her pursuit to solve the murder. Oh, he also serves a very important role as a possible suitor for Daisy.
I am giving this book three stars because I found it to be a bit too one-dimensional for my tastes. However, if you like an old fashioned very British mystery, this just might be your cuppa.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
The Honourable Daisy Dalrymple arrives at Wentwater Court to write an article for Town & Country magazine about the estate's history and inhabitants; scandalous tidbits included. Daisy is accepted into the household because of her artistocratic background; even though women of Daisy's social position having a career is practically unheard of.
Almost immediately the most disliked houseguest is found floating facedown in a hole in the otherwise frozen lake on the estate. Thought to be an unfortunate skating accident, Daisy's photographs of the scene soon prove otherwise.
Alec Fletcher arrives from Scotland Yard and requests Daisy's assistance in taking notes. Secrets, tensions, and undercurrents abound among the family and houseguests. Daisy's keen observation of detail and deductive reasoning makes her aid in the investigation of the murder invaluable.
Fast paced with highly amusing 20's language phrasing and descriptions; the reader is treated to a wonderful English country house murder.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Daisy Dalrymple is striking out on her own. Using her wealthy background, she gets a job for a magazine photographing and writing about the famous Wentwater Manor. Not too long after she arrives, one of her fellow guests is found dead in a hole in the ice. At first, it's thought to be an accident, but soon Daisy is convinced it's murder. Aiding the handsome Scotland Yard detective assigned to the case, she does her best to find the truth while keeping the family out of scandal.
This is a fun mystery set in 1923 England. I was drawn into Daisy's world and was quite curious about what was really going on. Having said that, the plotting did seem a bit uneven. Still, it moved along nicely and reached a conclusion that was surprising and satisfying at the same time. The characters are almost all English aristocracy, and it was interesting getting a glimpse into their world at a less then ideal time. The dialog was so good that I could hear the accents most of the time.
I'm looking forward to reading the other books in this fun, historical series.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
Imagine an Agatha Christie mystery with the goofy upper-class air of P.G. Wodehouse -- and you will get what Carola Dunn clearly wanted for her debut mystery. Unfortunately, "Death At Wentwater Court" is too predictable and too easily unravelled, and the mysteries are solved with whimpers instead of bangs.

Daisy Dalrymple -- in defiance of her class -- has taken on a job as a journalist. She arrives at Wentwater Court to do an extensive article on the Dalrymple house, but soon finds that there are potentially deadly secrets lurking there. Lady Wenwater has either a lover or a blackmailer, and her much-older husband is unaware of this. His daughter is infatuated with the blackmailer, and his sons either worship or hate his new wife.

Then the blackmailing guest is found dead in an icy river, and almost everyone present had a motive for wanting him dead (not to mention his army of ex-lovers and their husbands). Daisy teams up with police detective Alec Fletcher to unearth who did the blackmailer in, and why. But soon Daisy learns that the crime is more complicated than she thought...

"Death" is an extremely simple book -- it more or less goes from point A to point B without a lot of twists and turns. It has a fun, cozy atmosphere with a classic setting reminiscent of Christie and Sayers, but without the sizzly plot and dynamic twists that they were well known for. It's almost painfully easy.

Dunn seems to chicken out about halfway through the book, as if she's afraid to make things too complex. Half the red herrings -- such as Lady Annabel's scandalous past, or her stepdaughter's darker side -- are built up as plot developments, only to be brushed aside with a "oh, is that it?" response.
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