Monday, 12 December 2011

Murder on the Flying Scotsman

Just a quick review for this, my 6th and final book for my What's In A Name challenge for 2011, which was hosted by Beth Fish Reads. The book is Murder on the Flying Scotsman by Carola Dunn and covers the category, 'A book with travel or movement in its title'.

Daisy Dalrymple is off on her travels once again, to yet another stately home for an article for the magazine she works for. But first of all she has to get there and her method of travel is to go via The Flying Scotsman. Annoyed that she hasn't been able to procure a book for the journey but pleased she shelled out the extra for first class travel, Daisy is expecting a quiet, uneventful journey north. That is until a young girl turns up and Daisy realises that it's Belinda, the nine year old daughter of her boyfriend, Chief Inspector Alex Fletcher. Belinda has run away in protest at her grandmother's restrictions and, because she knew Daisy was catching this train, had decided to stow away and travel with her.

Next thing you know an old school-friend of Daisy's has appeared and tells her whole family is on the train, parents, aunts, uncles, cousins and so on, because they've been summoned to Scotland by their miserly great uncle, presently on his death bed. He's about to leave all his money to his twin brother and the family hope to persuade him to leave it to them.

It's a very tangled web! A web which becomes even more tangled when the old man's twin brother, who is on the train and has been subject to all kinds of verbal attacks and persuassions, is found murdered. The whole family, plus Daisy and Belinda, who found the body, are forced to disembark at Berwick upon Tweed and take up residence in a local hotel. Daisy's boyfriend, Alex Fletcher, arrives to head the investigation and is shocked to find his daughter embroiled in the proceedings. It seems practically every member of the family had reason to want the old man dead, be it money or something else. Daisy and Alex have their work cut out, not only to solve this crime but also to protect Beinda who clearly knows more than she's letting on.

Well now, this is book 4 in Carola Dunn's very successful series about the wonderful Daisy Dalrymple. I've enjoyed them all so far and this one was every bit as much fun as the previous three. I can't decide whether Daisy is perhaps a trifle too modern for the age she lived in but suspect there were quite a few girls like her who, after the end of the first world war where many husbands and fiances died, no longer had any option but to find a job. Her and her mother were turned out of their home when a cousin inherited it. She's fairly sure he would've allowed her to live there still and her mother would have had her to live with her, but Daisy wants to be independent and who can blame her. I love her determination and optimistic outlook and also her lack of snobbery. There were still plenty of restrictions applied to women of course. You had to be extremely careful of your reputation and silly little things put it at risk, like being seen in public without a hat, getting your hair cut short and so on. These books, while on the surface fun and fluffy, are quite informative if you read between the lines to what is really going on, and one thing that is very clear - in the 1920s it was still very much a man's world.

Looking forward to reading more in this series next year. Just *one* of the many series I seem to be hooked on right now.


Val said...

Hi Cath...that Sounds like a fun light read..:0)
She has a blog
I enjoyed her Cornish Mystery "A Colourful Death"

Anonymous said...

One of my favorite series. Love that Daisy!

Jo said...

I have got many of these to catch up on - I think this is the next one on my Daisy D TBR pile!

DesLily said...

ahhh so you finished the book you showed me on skype! good !! I finished Daphne and really liked it!... so its onward and upward to another Oscar Wilde murder book! See what you did to me?!!! LOL

sent you an email.

Yvonne @ Fiction Books Reviews said...

Hello Cath,

I think that Carola Dunn is one of the best exponents of the 'cozy' mystery and is certainly a series of books that I want to read more of in 2012.

Like yourself, I prefer books which, although fiction, can offer a real and true insight into the social history of the times in which they are set. Always a sure way of separating the good authors from the more mediocre, by how well researched the storylines are.

I also love the cover art on your copy of this book.

Have a great week, hope that your daughter's operation goes ahead as planned.


Jodie Robson said...

I'm enjoying this series too - think this is my favourite just because of the setting, I can picture all the places in Berwick, which is fun - for such a lovely place it's used in relatively few books (possibly because of the cold in winter and the haar all summer...?)

Cath said...

Val: I had no idea that Carola Dunn had started a Cornish series! Just checked it out on FantasticFiction and will definitely be trying those next year.

Kay: Me too! And this was a particulaly good instalment.

Jo: Me too... I think there about 20 now!

Pat: Yep, am now reading the next Flavia book which, like the others is great fun. Do wish her sisters were not so horrible to her though.

Yvonne: Carola Dunn is fast becoming a favourite easy reading author for me. I love the way her policeman boyfriend views her as being followed around by dead bodies. LOL. And yes, I meant to say in my review how much I love that cover!

Yes, and the things you pick up stay with you. I can remember reading all the Cadfael books about 15 years ago and the history learnt from those has stayed with me.

Thank you so much. Just one week to go now.

GeraniumCat: Sadly, I haven't been to Berwick but it sounds so interesting and attractive that I now want to. I'm not sure what haar is but I'm not put off easily. LOL.

Anonymous said...

This sounds like lots of fun, Cath, and it seems like lots of folks know the author. I'll be looking for Murder on the Flying Scotsman and adding it to my long, long list.

Cath said...

Lifeonthecutoff: It's a nice series of books for when you don't feel like reading anything too heavy.