In this latest addition to Carola Dunn’s mystery series set in 1920s England, Daisy Dalrymple Fletcher, now the mother of twins, and her friend Lucy, a photographer married to an aristocrat, are working on a book about architectural follies, Daisy doing the writing and Lucy taking photographs. They spend a long weekend at Appsworth Hall, home of one of the loveliest grottoes in the country. The stately home is currently owned by Brin Pritchard, who has made a fortune in plumbing products. Among the other guests are Daisy’s schoolmate Julia Beaufort, her mother, and her two suitors, the obnoxious Lord Rydal and Charles Armitage, a Canadian historian researching the Appsworth family. Julia much prefers Charles, but her mother wishes her to marry the aristocrat. But, even while he’s pursuing Julia, Lord Rydal is carrying on an affair with yet another guest, the vampish Lady Ottaline, wife of a high-level bureaucrat. Shortly after Daisy’s husband, Scotland Yard detective Alec Fletcher, joins the party, the grotto explodes with Lord Rydal inside. Since Lord Rydal has managed to insult everyone at Appsworth Hall, they all have a motive for murder, and Alec–with much help from Daisy, of course–must find out who the killer is.
This book is a delight from beginning to end, with a witty, intelligent heroine and wonderful period detail. It recalls the classic mysteries of Agatha Christie and others, with its country house setting and numerous suspects. Fans of golden age mysteries are sure to enjoy this.