Thursday, August 27, 2009

Sheer Folly-Carola Dunn

Sheer Folly
Carola Dunn
Minotaur, Sep 15 2009, $24.99
ISBN: 9780312387754

Writing a book about the SHEER FOLLY of architectural design disasters, Daisy Dalrymple and her best friend photographer Lady Lucy Binscomb travel to see Appsworth Hall; owned by friendly Mr. Pritchard of Pritchard's Plumbing Products. Daisy’s husband Scotland Yard Detective Chief Inspector Alex Fletcher reluctantly will baby-sit their twins while she is away for the weekend.

Daisy and Lucy arrive at the estate only find their host Mr. Pritchard is throwing a garish party attended by Daisy’s friend Julia Beaufort; Lord Rydal known as Rhino; his lover Lady Ottaline Wandersley and her husband Sir Desmond; and Canadian historian Charles Armitage who seems attracted to Julia and she in him. An explosion leaves Rhino dead, but his paramour and his chauffeur survive. The spouses of Daisy and Lucy arrive just in time for the DCI to investigate.

This is an engaging 1920s investigative tale that ironically feels fresh because the local cops are euphoric to have an experienced DCI to work the case. The story line as always in this wonderful long running series (see BLACK SHIP) provides the reader with a glimpse of the English upper class just before the depression. The support cast is solid and the whodunit cleverly devised to enable the reader and Daisy to compete with Alex. It would be SHEER FOLLY for historical mystery fans not to read this superb tale.

Harriet Klausner

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