Dandy Gilver and a Deadly Measure of Brimstone

Written by Catriona McPherson
Review by Ann Northfield

Dandy, the eponymous heroine, is one half of an unusual detective pairing. Together with her partner Alec Osborne, she is asked to investigate a strange death at the Hydropathic Hotel in Moffat, Scotland run by the somewhat odd and rather suspicious brother and sister team, Dorothea and Tot Laidlaw. Were they involved in the death? Did Mrs Addie die of fright? What are all the ghost hunters doing, and what is behind the mysterious locked door in the Turkish bath?

These questions and others that arise during the investigation keep the plot moving along at a good pace. The character of Dandy is likeable and endearing; she is clever and brave without being superhuman, and the reader wants her to succeed in her endeavours. The novel is written in the first person and is set around 1929, the mental scars from the war still evident through subtle but telling references. In general, the historical context is clear but not overpowering, flavouring events, speech and the actions of the characters in a delicate manner. Fans of David Roberts and Dolores Gordon-Smith are probably already readers of this series, but if not, there is a new favourite writer to add to the to-read list.

This is the eighth in the series, the first novel being After the Armistice Ball. I for one am going back to the beginning to enjoy the adventures of Dandy and Alec from the start. Recommended.