by Sandra Murphy
& Carola Dunn
This week we have a review of the latest Daisy Dalrymple Mystery by Carola Dunn, along with a fun guest post by Carola about setting her books in real life places. Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win a copy of The Corpse at the Crystal Palace, and a link to purchase it from Amazon, and an indie bookstore where a portion of the sale goes to help support KRL.
The Corpse at the Crystal Palace: A Daisy Dalrymple Mystery By Carola Dunn
Review by Sandra Murphy
In London, 1928, a time of nannies and servants, taking care of children should be a lot easier. That depends on the nanny. Daisy Dalrymple Fletcher’s Nanny Gilpin has firm ideas of the proper behavior for both children and their parents. Sadly, Daisy is not a proper parent—she insists on spending time with her own children! It ruins Nanny’s strict schedule and belief that children should seldom be seen and rarely heard.
When young cousins descend on the household for a visit, Daisy thinks the Crystal Palace would be just the thing to entertain the children. With her own three-year-old twins, Nanny Gilpin, stepdaughter, the boy cousins, the nursery maid, and her good friend, Sakari, they’re off for a day of fun.
The normally reliable Nanny visits the ladies room, but doesn’t return, leaving the twins in the hands of the nursery maid, an unheard of proposition. The children look for her, Daisy and her friend check the ladies room, and then things go from bad to worse.
Daisy finds the body of a nanny (not hers, thankfully!) in the restroom. Meanwhile, the children have seen a glimpse of Nanny, following another nanny. How many nannies can there be? Nanny Gilpin is found in the water of an exhibit, coshed in the head. The other nanny has disappeared.
Luckily, Daisy’s husband, Detective Chief Inspector Alec Fletcher of Scotland Yard, is assigned to the case. Daisy must tread lightly since he doesn’t always appreciate her “help” but is becoming resigned to it. She has the most charming way about her that leads to finding clues.
Daisy is just the person to perform the introduction to a time when servants ran the household, husbands worked and wives didn’t, and children were schooled by the nanny until time for boarding school. She’s willing to follow her own ideas, much to the dismay of the more straight-laced.
This is book twenty-three in the series. Feel free to jump in with this latest escapade but know you’ll want to go back to book number one to find how it all started. If asked before, I would have said I prefer American mysteries, but Daisy has changed my mind. These books are a joy to read.
The Sights of London
By Carola Dunn
I have a penchant for setting mysteries in well-known places. My new Daisy Dalrymple mystery, The Corpse at the Crystal Palace, is the latest of these. When Daisy took her family there on an outing in 1928, the Crystal Palace was past the glory days when Queen Victoria was a regular visitor, but it still drew crowds to marvel at the immense glass and iron structure and wander around the extensive exhibits. However, don’t plan on seeing it on your next trip to London, as it burned to the ground in 1936.
Of course I wasn’t able to go and see the Palace for myself, as I prefer, though I did inspect the foundations, still standing, longer than three football fields. Luckily there’s plenty of information online, including a facsimile of a visitors’ handbook.
When I wrote Rattle His Bones, set in the Natural History Museum in London, the web was not really much use. What I did manage to find was the email address of the NHM’s archivist. He patiently answered all my questions, saying he enjoyed their variety as most people wanted information on the architecture. He even offered to give me the names of the people who went in at night—back in 1923—to polish the glass exhibition cases. And when I went to take a look in person, not having been there since I was a child, he showed me around the private research and storage parts of the building. In the basement, I met a stuffed giraffe that was no longer fit to be displayed, but they couldn’t bear to part with him; he makes an appearance in the book.
As you might assume, The Bloody Tower is set at the Tower of London. By the time I wrote it, the web had acquired a great deal more information. The kind of odd details I wanted were not available, or not easily found. I contacted the Librarian of the Royal Armouries Museum, then located at the Tower. Not only did she answer my questions, when I went to visit the Tower she had a free pass waiting for me, and a box of books and papers she thought might be useful. These included the Governor’s Day Book for the very week Daisy was at the Tower. I didn’t use real names, but thanks to her, I was able to people the book with imaginary characters who occupied the same positions.
I’ve had the same luck with other places: The National Trust warden for Cotehele (Mistletoe and Murder), the Secretary of the Henley Royal Regatta (Dead in the Water), and perhaps best of all, a retired gentleman who had been a steward on the Flying Scotsman AND was a member of the Historical Model Railway Society (Murder on the Flying Scotsman). I find most experts are thrilled to share their expertise.
And most of them find something intriguing about helping with the creation of a mysterious murder!
To enter to win a copy of The Corpse at the Crystal Palace, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “crystal,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen August 11, 2018. U.S. residents only. If entering via email please include your mailing address (so if you win we can get the book sent right out to you), and if via comment please include your email address. You can read our privacy statement here if you like.
Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & mystery short stories in our mystery section. And join our mystery Facebook group to keep up with everything mystery we post, and have a chance at some extra giveaways. Check out our new mystery podcast that launched on June 5.
Use this link to purchase the book & a portion goes to help support KRL & indie bookstore Mysterious Galaxy:
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