The Mirror Dance

Written by Catriona McPherson
Review by Edward James

The Mirror Dance is the 15th of Catriona McPherson’s Dandy Gilver novels. Dandy is a middle-aged mother from the minor nobility who runs a private detective agency with her younger business partner, Alec, with whom she has an ambiguous relationship. Two of her domestic servants double as her investigators.

The novels are set in Scotland in the 1930s. They are a gentle satire on the detective stories of the Golden Age: improbable plots about unlikely murders to create a guessing game for the reader. Dandy’s dry wit mocks the genre, but nevertheless these are well-crafted works which follow all the rules – finite lists of colourful suspects, clues shared with the reader, and a denouement which reveals all. McPherson gives a great deal of attention to the inter-war Scottish background, and one feels that this is truly how Scotland felt at the time.

The Mirror Dance is set in Dundee and the victim is a Punch and Judy man murdered in his own kiosk during a performance in the park. If this intrigues you, read on.