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jenn

Murder by Death

I read cozy and historical mysteries, a bit of Paranormal/UF, and to mix it up, I read science and gardening books on occasion.

Heirs of the Body (Daisy Dalrymple #21)

Heirs of the Body - Carola Dunn

I need to get into the habit of making notes about books as I read them.  Although I don't know how others do it; I get so involved in the story that even the things I noticed are really only noticed on an alternate track of my consciousness.  I just get too engrossed in the story to stop.  At the end, I remember vague connections, but they're too vague to add that level of detail that is often helpful in good reviews.

 

This book is a perfect example.  I love the Daisy Dalrymple series.  I first discovered them in a used bookstore in Chattanooga TN more than a decade ago.  They are historical mysteries of the delightfully naive type.  Even though murder and mayhem abound, it's always in the most genteel and proper manner.  The early books were liberally sprinkled with such gems as "Pip-pip!" and "tootles!" and they all continue with "Darling" and "Dash it!" and other gems of a largely by-gone era.  Daisy is an Honorable whose father and brother both died; the first to the flu epidemic and the second to the war (WWI), leaving the viscountcy to a distant cousin.  Rather than sponging off the relatives, Daisy takes it upon herself to work for a living, writing articles about the aristocracy and their homes for a magazine.  Thus putting her front and centre for all sorts of shenanigans of the posh variety.

 

Heirs of the Body centers on her own family and her distant cousin's need to find another heir (he has no children of his own).  Daisy is pulled in to assist with meeting the possible heirs from a branch of the tree that long ago left England for Jamaica, none of which seem to have certified bonafides, leaving who inherits a bit of a quagmire.  

 

The plot of this book is less about the dead body and more about the possible heirs and which one is causing a string of accidents or not-accidents that are befalling just about everybody at Fairacres, the ancestral home.  As such, the body is a long time coming, so if you're reading this and you're not a fan of plot building and prefer your dead bodies come fast, you might find yourself impatient with this book.  I didn't mind it at all, but then I love visiting with the Dalrymple/Fletcher family and we learn a lot about the family Daisy was born into in this book.  Unfortunately, this means we get a snootful of her godawful mother, the Dowager Viscountess Dalrymple.  She is the very definition of a harridan.  We also get to spend quite a bit more time with Edgar and Geraldine, the current Viscount and his wife.  They are shadowy figures throughout the series and it was fun to actually get to know them.  Edgar feels like a homage to Mr. Jack Stapleton of the Hounds of the Baskervilles but in a very innocent-lamb, wonderfully eccentric sort of way.

 

But there were issues with the plot.  This one probably wasn't the strongest one in the series.  I knew early on who was going to jail at the end.

 

I knew Martha was being poisoned from the moment she commented on her tea.  And for some reason I can't remember now, I knew who was doing it all along.

 

I also knew the attack in the lane was going to end up being faked.  It just felt predictable. I think the author accidentally gave the game away for me when Raymond's death was announced and she discussed the character reactions.

(show spoiler)

But I still loved this book.  It's a fun, light read where the good guys always win and the bad guys always get what's coming to them.  If I had to live the England between WWI and WWII, I'd want to be Daisy Dalrymple.

 

Pip-pip!  ;)