The Winter Garden Mystery – Carola Dunn

Daisy is back and the is continuing to be something of a social outcast among her own – by being independent and having her own career and life, much to the disappoint of her mother, to Phillip Petrie a friend of her dead brother’s who is rather sweet on her and proposes on a number of occasions. And then there is Lady Valeria the matriarch of the house Occles Hall where Daisy is writing about for Town and Country. Daisy’s way of life is not something Lady Valeria wants her own children exposed to but then she does not reckon on Daisy’s influence.

If you have read the first novel and get the premise of these books then you know that murder will not be far behind Daisy in fact in this case it is under an Azalea bush in the Winter Garden of the estate. And the body belongs to a missing parlour maid, Grace who was thought to have run off with a travelling salesman. A parlour maid with a varied life. The gardener who discovers the body in fact digs it up is Owen Morgan who she was stepping out with and her father Stan Moss, the local blacksmith  has a rather long running argument and petty squabbles with Lady Valeria which everyone knows about. Could a motive be obvious from early on in the book?

The local police do an inefficient job due to the almost ogre like quality of Lady Valeria, a well constructed character who you could see exploding off the page; they do not want to upset her. They arrest Own Morgan her Welsh Beau and that is the end of the matter. Daisy is not happy she knows he did not do it, but has no proof and the only person she can think of to help is Alec Fletcher of Scotland Yard who she first surreptitiously helped in the first book.

And so the double act of Alec and Daisy begin an investigation, with Alec asking Daisy to step back and Daisy getting ever more involved in helping solve the crime. Along the way, other secrets are discovered about residents of Occles Hall and the moving times of 1923 are showing a much more tolerant and perhaps forward thinking upper class, but then again they may not have run into Lady Valeria!

A good second book in the series and will be easy passage to the third book as Daisy will continue to pitch up where something amiss is going to take place, then the dashing Alec will have to help her if only to stop her meddling and making his life difficult in Scotland Yard. Great escapism, imagine Miss Marple before she became the knitting sleuthing genius and you will find fondness for Miss Daisy Dalrymple.

Can I just say that the cover is awful, and I think, no in fact I know I would never have picked it up if it was not for the fact that I knew what I was getting inside of it. Not sure what it is, but to me this is not what Miss Daisy Dalrymple looks like.  She looks rather like a porcelain doll that would eventually come up on the Antiques Roadshow for value. Then again I am not sure about this one either

Though a slight improvement on the edition I read. More of the ‘Flapper’ ‘Twenties’ images that I envisage Daisy to be inhabiting. The German edition does not seem to focus too much on the ‘garden’ aspect of the mystery at all! 

What am I trying to say? I think that the cover is not fantastic! Never judge a book by its cover is the old adage in which case, I have not and got on with reading the book and reviewing it!

2 thoughts on “The Winter Garden Mystery – Carola Dunn

  1. I’m still trying to get hold of this book. Read the first and thought it okay and am hoping that book two will be better. Thanks for your review!
    I also hate this cover… the woman does look odd. Also, I don’t recall Daisy having black hair in the book (correct me if I’m wrong) so I find the depictions a bit out of sync. The later books do have more realistic women on them though.

  2. I’ve read the first 3 books in this series and am enjoying them immensely. I love your Miss Marple comparison. LOL. I managed to get the first 8 books in one go, cheaply, from The Book People so was delighted with that bargain. Then book 10 turned up in a Kindle sale, so I’m doing well with collecting them.

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