Monday, 2 July 2012

Three Daisy Dalrymples

Well gosh, long time no see. Many thanks to those who've been wondering where I am. I know it's been three weeks since I posted, really I've just been a bit busy with things like decorating, de-cluttering, and family bits and pieces. The other thing is that though I've been reading a bit, it's been three books in the same series - Daisy Dalrymple to be precise - and it felt a bit silly to blog about every one separately. So here I am with three quick reviews of books 5, 6 and 7 of the crime series by Carola Dunn.

While out motoring, Daisy's friend, the Honourable Philip Petrie, meets American, Miss Gloria Arbuckle and her millionaire father, and falls head-over-heels in love with Gloria. Unfortunately, it's not long before Gloria is kidnapped. Her father doesn't want to involve the police so Philip enlists Daisy to help her find his love. It seems Gloria is being held close to where Daisy was brought up so Daisy invites herself to stay at her old home, now lived in by her cousin and his wife, but she can't tell them what's going on. She manages also to invite several trusted friends to the house to help her in her search. Her boyfriend, Alec, is of course a Scotland Yard detective, so Daisy can't tell him either. Things are very complicated and get even more so when Daisy at last finds where Gloria is being held and ends up being held captive herself...

Daisy has been asked to cover The Henley Regatta by an American magazine. She goes to stay with an aunt, her mother's sister, and their family, the son of whom is rowing in the Oxford team. In fact, the house is full of rowers and Daisy shares a room with her younger cousin who is in love with a member of the team. Two other team members are at logger-heads. Horace Bott is a scholarship student, a shopkeeper's son, and looked down on by the others because his background is so humble. Worst of his tormentors is Basil DeLancy, an arrogant young man that no one really cares for. DeLancy publicly humiliates Bott and Bott swears revenge. When DeLancy keels over, dead, in the middle of a race it seems Bott has kept his promise. But Daisy is not at all convinced. Alec arrives, thinking he and Daisy are going to spend a delightful weekend together. Instead, he finds himself embroiled in yet another murder investigation involving Daisy and he is not best pleased...

It's an unbearably hot summer, Daisy, lunching with her brother-in-law, John Frobisher, feels there is something bothering him. Eventually he tells her why he's invited her to lunch: he needs her help. He's been the victim of a poison-pen crusade... on coming back from the trenches a few years ago, his wife being away, he spent the night with a female neighbour. Daisy goes to stay with her sister's family in Kent, taking Belinda, her fiance's 10 year old daughter. Her sister, Violet, has a boy of the same age, Derek, and Daisy feels the holiday will do Belinda good, and she can investigate further at the same time. Daisy soon discovers that John is not the only recipient of these vile letters; half the village seems to fallen victim. But who could be writing them? There are so many suspects that Daisy is thoroughly confused. Things come to a head when Daisy finds a body in the graveyard while the children are in the vicinity. Alec, Daisy's fiance, finds out what's happening and heads down to Kent, thoroughly alarmed and worried about his daughter. Daisy, on the other hand, has more than enough problems to cope with... chief of which is finding herself, for the first time, a suspect in a a murder case.

Well now, I've gone from 'liking' these Daisy Dalrymple books, after I'd read the first three or four, to loving them now I've gone as far as book seven. Possibly the author is now into her stride, I don't know. They certainly seem more accomplished, a bit deeper somehow. I think the thing I really like about them though, well two things... the first is the humour and the second is the relationship - the romance if you like - between Daisy and her Scotland yard detective, Alec Fletcher. It's complicated by the fact that she's upper-class, an 'honourable', being the daughter of a lord. Of course, to her that makes no difference, partly because she isn't in the least bit snobby, but also because she has to earn a living after her father died and the house and title went to a cousin, her brother having died in The Great War. Alec is middle-class, a highly respected detective, and doesn't actually feel the difference in their stations acutely... only slightly. He's shocked, for instance, to discover the size of the house she grew up in, isn't always impressed with the kind of men the upper-classes seem to produce etc. It all adds an extra bit of frission to the relationship. And it's very interesting. Add to that Daisy's propensity for falling over dead bodies, which he tries to be tolerant about but doesn't always manage:

'Daisy, how is it you keep falling over dead bodies? Do people see you coming and promptly decide to do someone in?'

In the final book here, Styx and Stones, Daisy has Belinda, his daughter, with her when the body is found and Alec is furious that Daisy took her to Kent knowing things might get dangerous. That made for one or two interesting scenes which I won't go into, but were thoroughly enjoyed by the romantic in me.

As I said, the books have become far more interesting than they were at the beginning and, for me anyway, I find once I start one, I can't put it down. I'm up to book seven and there are now twenty I think, so I'm quite happy that I still have loads more of this thoroughly charming series to read.


Anonymous said...

Ah, Daisy Dalrymple - I love this series. I went back to my book log and took a look at my reading of these. I read 14 of them in a row in August, September, and early October of 2005. Can you tell that I was having a good time? LOL

Good to see a post from you, Cath. I know you've been busy. Hope you have a great week and maybe some more Daisy?? :-)

DesLily said...

I am glad you are totally enjoying the books.. when that's the case you sure don't want to stop reading them!!
think I'll pass just because I have so much here to read! I've had a good stretch of good books and not wanting it to end either!

Elaine said...

I am working my way through these wildly out of order but really enjoying them. Have just brought another three home from the library

Jo said...

I am loving these too, I think book five is the next one to read and isn't it great to know there are lots more to go, by the time I catch up I expect there will be more!

Nan said...

I think I read up through the third. I really liked them, but why didn't I continue?? Your saying that you now love them encourages me to get ahold of the fourth and go forward!
And I do love the name Daisy.

Cath said...

Kay: 14 in a row??? LOL. But, you know, I completely understand. I'm fighting the urge to grab the next book in the series as I have pile of library books I ought to start on.

Pat: I don't want to stop reading them but the library pile is giving me accusing looks.

Elaine: I owned the first 8 and book 10 on my Kindle... the rest... like you, I'm going to have to find at the library. I think they're huge fun.

Jo: I thought after book 5 they got even more enjoyable, so you have a lot to look forward to.

Nan: I liked the first few, but all of sudden they took off in book 5. Worth carrying on I think. I like 'Daisy' too... I first came across it when my gran used to sing 'Daisy, Daisy, give me answer do...' LOL.

Yvonne @ Fiction Books Reviews said...

Hi Cath,

Good to hear from you again after your busy spell on the domestic scene.

Now I am going to sound very lame, if I admit that I have never read any Carola Dunn, yet when I check her out on Fantastic Fiction, I see that she has written literally dozens of books!!

The covers on the 'Daisy Dalrymple' collection, look particularly alluring, especially when you see them all together in one block.

I see that she has also written two books in a 'Cornish Mystery' series, with a third due out later this year and they sound quite appealing, as I have penchant for anything wih a Cornish theme.

I really will get around to reading 'Daisy' at some point, but they sound a little like Agatha Christie books ... very addictive ... and I don't have time for an addiction right now LOL!


Cath said...

Yvonne: Yes... I believe Carola Dunn had written quite a few different series, though I've only read her DD books. And yes, I would definitely call them addictive! LOL

I'll look into her Cornish mysteries as I don't know much about those either.

Christine Harding said...

I've never read any these, but I keep seeing favourable reviews from bloggers who tend to like a lot of the books I do, so maybe I'll give them a try.

Cath said...

Christine: Thanks for visiting my blog. This series of books is great fun, lots of humour and Daisy is a real joy. You could try one from the library to see if you like it.

Do you have a blog I can visit?