by Terrance Mc Arthur
Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win a copy of Superfluous Women, along with a link to purchase the book where a portion goes to help support KRL.
After World War I, Britain’s loss of two million young men meant that many young women would never have the chance to marry. Some called them spinsters or old maids, but the press called them surplus or superfluous. Superfluous Women, Carola Dunn’s 22nd mystery in the Daisy Dalrymple series, is the first novel I have read to address this issue in history. Interestingly, being superfluous freed some women from the restrictions of societal roles, allowing them to make their own lives and fortunes in the world.
While recovering from a London-smog-induced illness, Daisy takes her small-town stay as an opportunity to visit an old friend who has bought a local home with two other women. A locked wine cellar yields no wine, but it does hold the reason for a foul smell in the house: a very-dead body. Is it the former owner, who was supposed to leave for Paris and the Riviera? Is it the dumped leftovers of a crime? Naturally, the big question is “Whodunit?”
Was it the woman who has risen to a high position with an accounting firm, but won’t say anything about what she’s doing on the job? Could it be the largest shareholder in the house, who cooks and runs things with a woman who could be the crankiest housekeeper in Britain? Might it be the teacher, who gets upset every time the school superintendent is mentioned? What about the real estate agent who spends a lot of time in the area…or that school superintendent? There are a lot of possibilities. And the false clues—the red herrings—are running like grunion on California beaches.
It’s a light and fluffy cozy mystery, even if it is a murder. The charm comes from a cheerful, tenacious, upper-crust, curious amateur sleuth with a Scotland Yard husband, loving details of 1920s English life, and a locked-room crime that doesn’t solve itself at the first clue. You can enter the series at this level, or dig into the earlier books. Either way, it’s an enjoyable experience.
Superfluous Women is not a superfluous book. There is history, women’s issues, and a lively heroine. It’s essential summer reading.
To enter to win a copy of Superfluous Women, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “Women,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen June 27, 2015. U.S. residents only. If entering via email please include your mailing address, and if via comment please include your email address.
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Click on this link to purchase this book and a portion goes to help support KRL and Mysterious Galaxy: