Winner of the 2017 Agatha Award for Best Historical Novel!
“Dandy Gilver is marvelously, hopelessly, hilariously wonderful. If you haven’t discovered Catriona McPherson yet, it’s time to start!” —Charles Todd, author of the Inspector Ian Rutledge Mystery series
On the rain-drenched, wind-battered Banffshire coast dilapidated mansions cling to cliff tops, and tiny fishing villages perch on ledges that would make a seagull think twice. It’s nowhere for Dandy Gilver, a child of gentle Northamptonshire, to spend Christmas.
But when odd things start to turn up in barrels of fish—with a strong whiff of murder most foul—that’s exactly where she finds herself. Enlisted to investigate, Dandy and her trusty cohort, Alec Osborne, are soon swept up in the fisherfolks’ wedding season as well as the mystery. Between age-old traditions and brand-new horrors, Dandy must think the unthinkable to solve her most baffling case yet in The Reek of Red Herrings.
Gothic touches enliven McPherson's ninth Dandy Gilver mystery set in Scotland (after 2014's A Deadly Measure of Brimstone). In 1930, a distressed H. Birchfield of Birchfield & Sons, a fish distributor, approaches PI Dandy and her fellow investigator, Alec Osborne. Body parts found in barrels of herring clearly indicate foul play, yet the livelihoods of Birchfield's far-from-wealthy employees will be threatened if word spreads and the authorities step in. Dandy and Alec trace the source to a village in Banffshire and masquerade as sibling folklorists to conduct discreet inquiries. They encounter townspeople with a permissive view of premarital sex, a minister and doctor who exchange dueling quotations, an eccentric pair of brothers with a museum of curiosities, an artistic English couple, and a less than gracious landlady. The Scots dialect and multiple names for villagers may pose some difficulties, but an exciting climax and the moral dilemmas confronting Dandy and Alec deliver rewards for readers.