In the 1920's, in post-WWI England, the Honourable Daisy Dalrymple, newly married to Detective Inspector Alec Fletcher, is asked by her brother-in-law to discreetly investigate a series of poisoned pen letters that many of the local villagers have been receiving. When the pompous and unbearable brother of the local vicar is killed by a very large rock dropped on his head from a great height, it seems clear to all that this campaign of gossip has escalated to murder. With the help of her husband, who'd rather she not get involved in murder, Daisy undertakes to uncover the identity of the viper in the local nest is and who that person has driven to murder before the murderer strikes a second time.
While Howard Engel's latest (Murder in Montparnasse, reviewed above) is set in 1920s Paris, this delightful installment in Dunn's entertaining series (Damsel in Distress, etc.) unfolds across the Channel in 1920s England. The Honorable Daisy Dalrymple is invited by her brother-in-law, Lord John Frobisher, to take a holiday at his country estate and to investigate a series of poison pen letters. The brutally hot August of 1923 has brought out the worst in one of the villagers, for Daisy learns that John and other locals have been receiving threatening letters from someone who knows their most damning secrets. In a small village rife with gossip, there are many suspects, from the postmistress, Mrs. Burden, to the local busybody, Mabel Prothero. Daisy tries to sniff out the letter-writer without having to inform her fianc , Scotland Yard Inspector Alex Fletcher, who's resigned himself to Daisy's snooping. But when a murder occurs, the local police must reinforce Daisy's efforts. The upper-crust Daisy is an appealing heroine who always retains her respectability, even when encroaching on traditional male enclaves. While light in tone, her newest adventure, like the others in this series, offers enough tart wit to engage the seasoned mystery reader. And the novel is a feast for anglophiles; even the (too predictable) resolution enables Daisy and Alex to join in a consummate English pastime: a friendly game of cricket.