Dandy Gilver is an unlikely detective, with her Perthshire country estate and aristocratic ways, and yet, she is perfectly delicious in this latest instalment of the mystery series by Catriona McPherson.
Set in the 1930s, Dandy Gilver and her trusted colleague and companion, Alec Osborne, are en route to Cramond to uncover the strange tale of a ferrywoman who appears to have gone mad and the death of a young man who, initially at least, seems completely unrelated to the island’s unusual goings on.
This is the fourteenth in the obviously popular series and yet stands beautifully alone; the simple premise of two detectives taking on a singular case not needing a detailed background of the mysteries which have gone before, although The Turning Tide certainly entices the reader to seek them out and solve the previous cases.
Written with exactly the kind of descriptive prose one would expect from the upper classes of the 1930s, and with a great pinch of humour and a sprinkling of absurdity, McPherson beautifully evokes the feelings and images of post-war Edinburgh and those familiar with the city will recognise plenty of both the places mentioned and the history around the making of the Capital today.
Returning to the mystery itself, Cramond Island seems to hold a whole host of secrets, all seemingly unconnected, but the reader has an inkling (as with all good mystery novels) that the various plot lines will all weave together by the end and (as with all good mystery novels) the reader is encouraged to put the pieces of the puzzle together themselves. McPherson though weaves a less than predictable mystery which, although full of a great many suspicious and menacing characters, is discovered along with, rather than before, the tale’s protagonists.
An easy, and incredibly palatable read, the Dandy Gilver series is worthy of being gobbled-up on these wintry nights by the fire.