Thursday, June 11, 2009

Black Ship -- Carola Dunn

If I've counted correctly, this is the 17th Daisy Dalrymple novel, but it's the first one I've read. The setting is the 1920s. Daisy and her husband, Alec Fletcher, a Scotland Yard detective, are moving to a house inherited from Fletcher's great-uncle. Since their family is getting larger (new twins), they're happy to have more space. They meet the new neighbors (they like the Jessups but not the Bennetts), and things are going well until the parlor maid and the family dog happen upon a dead body in the bushes. (Apparently it's usually Daisy who stumbles upon the corpses, and Dunn has some fun with her call to the Yard.)

Before long, Daisy is caught up in a tangled case involving bootleggers, rum runners, gangsters, and, of course, murder. It's all handled with a light touch, and it's often very funny. The hapless and nearly helpless Treasury agent Lambert adds to the fun.

So what's a Treasury agent doing in England, and what's this about rum runners? After all, wasn't prohibition an American abberation, not an English one? Sure, but Americans who wanted something better than bathtub gin had to get it somewhere. That's where the black ship (a name for a rum-running vessel) comes in.

Black Ship isn't hardboiled at all, but lots of fun. If you like historical mysteries and English comedy, this one's for you.

1 comment:

Carola said...

The hapless Treasury agent Lambert appears as a hapless FBI agent in The Case of the Murdered Muckraker, unfortunately now extremely hard to get hold of. BEst bet is a library.