Back with another Series I Love post because last week I read another Dandy Gilver book and realised that I haven’t written about them here for a while. I’ve already written a Recommendsday about them (but it was five years ago!) and there is a BotW from 2018, so I’ve mostly focused on a more general look at the series – which as you can see has had several different cover and title styles over the years which is deeply annoying to me in its own special way.
These are historical mystery – usually murder mystery – stories set in Scotland in the 1920s and 1930s. At the start of the series, Dandy is a fairly well to do married lady with too much time on her hands, with two sons at boarding school and a disinterested husband. Her detective career starts with a jewel theft that turns into a murder that she wants to solve to clear the name of the dead women’s fiancé – Alec. Alec becomes her side kick and the two of them start a discreet private investigations business, which her husband wouldn’t put up with if it wasn’t for the fact that it brings in useful money and running a Scottish estate is getting harder to do on the money has.
There are fifteen books in the series and I have read all bar one. and I think I should mention more that these are not cosy historicals in the way that say the Daisy Dalrymple series tended to be. They’re not country house type stories and the solutions to these are often darker and creepier. In my opinion the series had a few teething issues on books 3 and 4, but then the really get going again, and are quite inventive at the situations they put Dandy into – dance halls, schools, fishing villages and more.
Unusually for me, I don’t think you necessarily need to start this series at the beginning – they’ve evolved a fair bit and there’s not a running plot that’s going to get spoilt if you read out of order like if for example you go for Daisy Dalrymple or Royal Spyness out of sequence – or in fact any cozy with a running romantic subplot, except perhaps Steph Plum which has a love triangle which I don’t see how it can *ever* resolve (or even evolve). My recommendation is to start with either Dandy Dalrymple and the Unpleasantness in the Ballroom or Dandy Dalrymple and a Most Misleading Habit and see how they take you and go from there.
Have a great weekend!