Deadly Measure
Auntie M loves the cover art of Catriona McPherson’s newest Dandy Gilver Scottish mystery, A Deadly Measure of Brimstone. The strong series, among other awards, won the Bruce Alexander Memorial Historical Mystery Award in 2013 and 2014.

But she liked the inside even more, as Dandy moves her two sons and husband, all recovering from a bout of the nasty chest illnesses which reach to the staff, to the spa town of Moffat to recuperate. Dandy has her own agenda to install central heating when the family is gone, and has neglected to mention this to her husband, Hugh.

Of course, with Dandy it’s never that simple. She and her partner Alec agree to take on a case to investigate the death of a woman who died suddenly at Laidlaw’s Hydropathic Establishment. Mrs. Addie’s grown children have written to ask Gilver and Osborne to look into their mother’s death, termed heart failue, which her children insist was not Mrs. Addie’s health issue before this visit.

It seems fairly simple: have Hugh and the boys treated and give them time to recover whilst investigating the death. Even aging dog Bunty comes along for the trip. But nothing is ever that straightforward with Dandy,
who soon finds herself disrobing to take saunas, cold baths, and salt rub massages all in the name of finding the evidence they seek.

With Alec also at the Hydro, the duo will find spirits, mediums, an even an after-hours establishment at the Hydro, run by Dr. Dorothea Laidlaw and her brother Thomas, who inherited the spa from their father.

McPherson gets the period details just right, from clothing and manners to the way people spoke in 1929. And Dandy’s humorous and slightly irreverent thoughts are on full display, as when Dandy and Alec endeavor to describe Mrs. Addie: “Thrashing out a description which honored her memory – one could not simply say she looked like a piglet in tweeds …”

Great fun that encapsulates the bygone Golden Age era from this award-winning author.

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