Amy Myers is known for her short stories and historical novels featuring Victorian chef Auguste Didier and chimney sweep Tom Wasp. Her contemporary series features classic car detective Jack Colby, and she is currently working on a new 1920s mystery series featuring Nell Drury, chef at Kent’s Wychbourne Court.
I was a stranger to the Dandy Gilver series when I began this novel, but by its end I was a committed friend. The quirky title had intrigued me and the style and plot hooked me. Dandy Gilver & A Bothersome Number of Corpses is the seventh in the series and long may it continue.
Dandy is an unusual and captivating protagonist, running her own private and idiosyncratic detection agency in 1920s Perthshire. Born in 1886 and married to a very non-bothersome husband Hugh, she lives in style at his ancestral home of Gilverton, and runs her agency with a partner, Alec Osborne. When she receives a phone call from one of the three Lipscott sisters, she is transported back to her childhood where she spent much time with them and their way-out mother in the idyllic surroundings of Pereford in Somerset. One of the three sisters, Fleur, has switched her early joyous exuberance for a reclusive life as a schoolmistress in St Columba’s College for Young Ladies in Scotland. She is refusing all callers and her sisters are concerned that she might disappear ‘again’. Dandy (short for Dandelion) is asked to find out what’s happening. The mission brings Dandy right into the path of the eccentric headmistress Miss Shanks who awards her the job of French, then English teacher. And then there is Fleur …. Not to mention the corpse of a missing woman on the cliffs.
But is it the only corpse – and whose corpse is it? The answers make for a plot that twists and turns its way to a satisfying conclusion. The story is steeped in period atmosphere complemented by the author’s witty style and Dandy’s engaging character . This isn’t a fast read, not because it lacks pace but because it is to be savoured every step of the way.