A Step So Grave (A Dandy Gilver Mystery)

Written by Catriona McPherson
Review by Mary Lawrence

Aristocratic, amateur sleuth Dandy Gilver and her family travel to remote Applecross in the Scottish Highlands to meet Mallory, her son’s betrothed and family. However, Dandy and her husband suspect that their son is more enamored with Mallory’s mother and endeavor to confront him. When a fiftieth birthday celebration goes awry for the bride-to-be’s mother, Lady Lavinia, and her body is found in the garden with ‘a rose in her hand and a blade in her skull,’ Dandy takes it upon herself to find the murderer.

This is a British cozy set in the Thirties and told with tongue-in-cheek humor along the lines of John Mortimer or PG Wodehouse. Unfortunately, the beginning of the book is padded with inconsequential prattle and that, coupled with no murder or inciting incident until nearly a third of the way through, made it difficult to stay interested. Once the story gets moving there are plenty of suspects and misdirection to keep Dandy and her business partner Alec guessing. In the end, the murderer sets all straight and simply confesses. A list of characters proves handy as there are numerous names ending in ‘ie’ or ‘y’ along with ‘Mummy’ and ‘Daddy’. Written for readers who enjoy light, humorous, cozy mysteries set in the Thirties with a healthy bit of family drama.