Friday, July 20, 2018

"The Corpse at the Crystal Palace"

Carola Dunn is the author of many mysteries featuring Daisy Dalrymple, as well as numerous historical novels. Born and raised in England, she lives in Eugene, Oregon.

Dunn's latest novel is The Corpse at the Crystal Palace, the 23rd Daisy Dalrymple mystery.

She applied the Page 69 Test to The Corpse at the Crystal Palace and reported the following:
From page 69 of the manuscript:
Daisy wished she could hear what was being said.

"Mrs. Fletcher, I'd like to talk to the children now."

"Before Mrs. Gilpin?"

"Yes, I'm hoping they'll give me a better idea of what I need to ask her. Besides, you must be wanting to get them home, dry, and properly clothed." He had a straight face and a twinkle in his eye.

"We've got to wait for our cars. I can't imagine how I'm going to get the boys out to them without causing a scandal."

"That, I'm happy to say, is entirely up to you."

"If you have any bright ideas, let me know. The same goes for Mrs. Gilpin as for them. She ought to be in bed."

"I'll wait until she is before I see her."

"You don't believe she just slipped and fell and knocked her head?"

"I'll no rule out the possibility, Mrs. Fletcher, but there are altogether too many nannies in this story to just ignore them. When she's more comfortable, likely she'll be better able to give her mind to remembering. You may take her home as soon as convenient."

"Thank you! Sakari," she called to her friend, who had moved to a discreet distance, "we can take Mrs. Gilpin home as soon as Truscott or Kisin gets here, if we arrange for a stretcher to carry her to the street. Would you mind awfully—"

"Leave it to me, Daisy."

"Mrs. Prasad, please make use of the uniformed constables outside as errand boys."

Belinda and Ben exchanged a swift glance.

"We don't mind running errands," said Ben.

"We'd like to run errands," said Charlie. "It's pretty dull here."
Outspoken Charlie! He and his older brother, Ben, are soaked to the skin, having helped Daisy's stepdaughter, Belinda, fish the unconscious Mrs. Gilpin out of a pond. While they were so occupied, Daisy was discovering an unknown nanny dead in the ladies room. A third nanny has vanished, seen only by the children--and, presumably, by Mrs. Gilpin but she can't remember.

The patient, good-humoured detective is DI Mackinnon, who knows Daisy from previous encounters. She is painfully aware, however, that this latest adventure can't be kept from her husband, DCI Alec Fletcher of Scotland Yard. His patience and good-humour are apt to wear thin when she finds herself in this sort of situation, especially when she helps with the investigation. “Helps” is her word. “Interferes” is his.

Despite his certain displeasure, Daisy's duty is clearly to find out what her children's nurse had to do with the second nanny's death and why Mrs. Gilpin went charging off after the third nanny, deserting her charges.

This page is an amazing microcosm of the characters and the story line so far. I would never have thought one page could reveal so much.

There is the puzzle. Now they just have to solve it...
Learn more about the book and author at Carola Dunn's website and blog.

Coffee with a Canine: Carola Dunn and Trillian.

The Page 69 Test: Heirs of the Body.

The Page 69 Test: Superfluous Women.

--Marshal Zeringue