Women Sleuths in
Historical Mysteries

England - 1920s


Die Laughing

by Carola Dunn

The honorable Daisy Dalrymple, daughter of a viscount, has taken a job writing for a magazine and has married widower Alec Fletcher, a Chief Inspector at Scotland Yard. On a visit to her neighborhood dentist, she discovers the man dead in his chair, a nitrous oxide mask clamped to his smiling face. Suspicious of the cause, Daisy and her husband, in separate ways, manage to uncover clues that direct them to a cold blooded murderer.

Gathering gossip about illicit affairs is a useful addition to Daisy’s sleuthing skills. Sometimes this is difficult since she refuses to fit into the social expectations of middle class matrons. Her clashes with her mother-in-law occur frequently. Daisy’s ease with servants, her writing, which is viewed as “adventurous” rather than an important part of her life, her choice of up-to-date clothes and music, are only forgiven because of her upper class status.

While this 1920s “new woman” character is likable enough, the story limits itself to an examination of British middle class social forms and styles. This is number twelve of sixteen books in Dunn’s Daisy Dalrymple series, with more to come! I suspect that a read of the entire series can offer a fuller depiction of the many changes occurring in England between the wars.



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