So I’ve still been reading my way through the Daisy Dalrymple mysteries. I read several on vacation, and several since then, and I’m still really, really enjoying them. For those of you who don’t remember, these charming cozy mysteries are set in England in the early 1920’s. The heroine is the Honorable Daisy Dalrymple, who, despite her background, is working for a living as a writer, mostly of magazine articles. (Her brother died in the War, and her father in the ‘flu epidemic, leaving a cousin to inherit the title and family estate.)
While some of the mysteries have been unnecessarily complicated (Dead in the Water), full of far too many secondary-characters-who-could-also-be-the-murderer (Rattle His Bones), or just completely impractical (The Case of the Murdered Muckraker), on the whole, these mysteries are just good, clean fun. They’re super relaxing and quick reads, and Daisy and Alec are a favorite pair of mine. (I’ve explained why I think Alec is such a perfect hero before here.) I love the fact that their relationship actually progresses (I apparently was quite scarred by Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys; even though almost every mystery series I’ve read since then has progression of time, I’m consistently surprised and pleased to find it!); the happy couple is married just before To Davy Jones Below, and I’ve realized that watching Daisy settle into her role as wife and mother is a huge part of the reason I keep reading these books.
These are definitely cozy mysteries, and one must keep the ‘cozy’ part in mind – these are not procedurals or thrillers or anything of that sort. Sometimes disbelief must be a bit suspended (seriously, The Case of the Murdered Muckraker – what even?!), but Dunn generally does a good job of killing off an unlikable person and giving us a limited field of suspects from which to chose. I also like the way that, while the books are in the third person, she shifts sometimes from Daisy’s to Alec’s perspective and back, giving the reader a bigger picture of what’s happening with the mystery, as well as some insight into the motives of both the main characters. I also like it that while Daisy is hardworking, good at her job, spunky, and courageous, she still doesn’t like the sight of blood and sometimes gets queasy when thinking of/seeing the victim – far more realistic than having her be completely nonchalant and tough.
Overall, I definitely recommend the series, and am excited about reading through the rest – I just finished Mistletoe and Murder, so I’m only about halfway through!