Dandy Gilver and a Most Misleading Habit

Written by Catriona McPherson
Review by jay Dixon

I enjoy this historical crime series set in interwar Scotland. In the early books Dandy is bored with her life as the wife of a country gentleman, who can only talk about country pursuits, and we follow her gradual involvement in detection, which gives her a purpose and an interest. There is also a frisson of sexual tension between her and her partner in crime, Alex, who Dandy finds to be an intellectual equal.

In this novel they have settled down to a deep friendship and find themselves in Lanarkshire investigating both a breakout from a mental hospital on the moors and a fire and the death of Mother Mary at a nunnery nearby on Christmas Eve 1932. As usual with McPherson, there are many possible suspects and reasons offered for what happened. There are clues throughout to the final solution but for the unalert reader it comes with a nice twist!

McPherson writes well, gives good atmospheric description, with the period detail arising naturally out of the story without overburdening the reader with too much trivia, and plots a story that holds the attention with interesting backgrounds and characters. Well worth reading!