Title: After the Armistice Ball (Goodreads)
Author: Catriona McPherson
Series: Dandy Gilver #1
Published: Carroll & Graf, 2005
My Copy: Paperback
Buy: Amazon, Book Depository (or visit your local Indie bookstore)
The Duffy Family claim their diamonds have been stolen while visiting the Esslemont’s for the Armistice Ball. Mrs. Esslemont asks Dandy Gilver to use her skills of snooping and gossiping to investigate this further. It is Scotland in 1923 and it seems a world vastly different to my own. I think a good book can make you feel included in these unfamiliar places, but for most of the book, I felt like a foreign observer.
I never really enjoyed the protagonist Dandy Gilver. My husband will frequently remind me that you don’t need to like the characters to enjoy a book, and while I partly agree, my distaste towards Dandy definitely impacted on my enjoyment of this book. The reason I picked up this book is because I love the concept of the ladies of the 1920s solving crimes. I thoroughly enjoy Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries on TV, though I’ve yet to read the books myself. Maybe my expectations were just too high. The only character I truly enjoyed was Dandy’s Lady’s maid who was so full of sass and pretentiousness, that I wish she featured more in this story.
Throughout the book, I always felt like I knew what was going to happen before the characters themselves. I would be expecting some sort of twist, because surely it can’t be that obvious, but pages later, Dandy and friends come to the realization that I had already had. The only time when something didn’t seem obvious was in the final chapter. I can’t even say what it is without some major spoiler alerts. But they make this discovery during the investigation and someone asks about the person connected to it, and Dandy just says “Isn’t it obvious?” and then the person she is with realizes as well. But I’ve never worked that out. If anyone has read it, please tell me the answer? Did I miss something during the book when I got bored and started skimming? By the end of the book, I don’t care who stole the diamonds, but I do want to know the answer to this question. I have tried google, and I haven’t found a confirmed answer.
I have read in some reviews that this series gets better as it goes along. Maybe the author needed some time to find her feet as she developed the characters, but I don’t feel the need to be part of this world again and will be giving the rest of the series a miss.