A nice mystery and great historical background….
I had read several early titles in Catriona McPherson’s Dandy Gilver series back in “real paperback book” days, and remember them fondly. However during my transition to reading e-books almost exclusively, I had somehow kind of lost track of this series. So I was happy to be offered a review copy of the newest book in the series, The Mirror Dance. And I liked it a lot.
McPherson does a great job of mingling an intriguing mystery (who killed the Punch and Judy man in the park, and how, and why) with some fascinating period descriptions about the publishing industry and theatre performers in the days between the wars. Miss Sandy Bissett is an unusual client for Dandy and her investigative partner, Alec Osborne. She runs Doig’s, a small publisher with a line of girls’ comics about a character named Rosie Cheeke. Someone has reported that the Punch and Judy man in the local park is violating Doig’s copyright by using characters from the comic in his show, and since Doig’s can’t afford a lawyer, Miss Bissett hopes to get Dandy to talk to him instead, so he’ll desist. This isn’t the kind of thing Dandy usually does, but she agrees to give it a try. Things get complicated though when the Punch and Judy man is murdered before Dandy can speak with him – in the middle of his show, apparently without anyone approaching his cart. Then strange things start happening at Doig’s, and at a larger publisher, DCT, and Dandy, Alec, Grant and the rest of the crew have to figure out what is really going on.
McPherson has a really nice touch with the characters and the plot, and doesn’t bore with the background. I ended up reading this in only a couple of sittings and found myself hoping for more. Now I’m going to go back and read the books I had skipped. Please keep in mind that I try to fight star-flation a bit, and so I don’t give a lot of 5-star reviews. So 4-stars is a really solid recommendation to read The Mirror Dance. And my thanks go to Mobius Books and NetGalley for the review copy.