Tag Archives: Scotland

Dandy Gilver and the Proper Treatment of Bloodstains by Catriona McPherson

12th December 2011

* I received this book from Thomas Dunne Books in exchange for an honest review. Buy your copy from Indiebound and get excited for the sequel in Spring 2012.

Dear Mrs. Gilver,

My husband is going to kill me, and I would rather he didn’t.

When Dandy Gilver receives this missive from a lady in Edinburgh, she hastens to the young woman’s side. However, as the woman is extremely fearful of her husband, she asks that Dandy come as a ladies’ maid, seeking to fill a recently-abandoned position. Mrs. Gilver, a lady herself, asks her own ladies’ maid for assistance, and shows up at the Balfour residence, a bit anxious but ready to fill her post. After only one day in the house, there is a dead body and motives miles long…or so it appears.

This first installment in the adventures of Dandy Gilver was absolutely everything I wanted it to be – a bit P.G. Wodehouse, a little Patricia Wentworth, a lot Maisie Dobbs. However, these comparisons are useful only for gauging whether or not it’s your cup of tea because Dandy and her story are a bit different. The best word to describe the novel? Zany. First, Dandy is married to Hugh but relies on her friend Alec as her “Watson,” and I really enjoyed the friendship and collaboration between the two. It’s the early 20s, there’s a strike on, and tensions in Scotland are running high. Also, the group below decks is much more important than any lady or gent: a commie valet, dance hall butler, and a peering tom are all part of this oddball cast of domestic help.

Good luck beating Dandy to the punch as I was quite unable to, though I had my suspicions, and pick this one up for yourself and/or for the mystery lover in your life and read it quickly so you’ll be ready for the next in the series come spring.

Read this: if you liked Gosford Park, Upstairs, Downstairs, Downton Abbey, Jacqueline Winspear or P.G. Wodehouse. Perfect for cold winter weather.

P.S. Yes, Mom, you can definitely borrow this. 😉