|A Step So Grave (Dandy Gilver) by Catriona McPherson|
|Category: Crime (Historical)|
|Reviewer: Sue Magee|
|Summary: It's number thirteen in the series but reads perfectly well as a standalone. A good read.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 336||Date: November 2018|
|Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton|
|External links: Author's website|
Dandy Gilver and family had made the arduous journey to Wester Ross, but Dandy had mixed feelings even when they arrived. They were there to meet the family of Mallory, her son Donald's fiancee. It wasn't that Dandy thought Donald to be rather young at twenty three to be contemplating matrimony, but that Mallory was rather old for him at thirty. There was also a niggling worry because Donald wasn't the sharpest pin in the cushion. All the doubts had faded into insignificance though when they arrived at Applecross: they might have come to celebrate the fiftieth birthday of Lady Lavinia, Mallory's mother, but it soon became obvious that Donald was smitten by the mother rather than the daughter. Dandy and Hugh were considering whether or not they should try to put an end to the engagement when the news arrived that Lady Lavinia had been found dead.
Does it sound a little complicated? Possibly, but regular readers of the series will have no problems. Most of the characters they know from Dandy's home in Perthshire make appearances and there's a handy list of who's who at the beginning of the book, and rest assured that whilst it's quite a while before Alex Osborne, Dandy's Watson, makes an appearance, he does come into his own. Even if you've never met the Gilvers before you'll catch up with everything quite quickly: there's enough backstory to put you in the picture, but not so much that regular readers will wonder why they bought the book.
It's a perfect capture of a way of life in the thirties: the 'war' is not quite as fresh in the memory as it was and the next one merely a cloud on the horizon. It was a time when Donald's estate could 'abut' Dandy and Hugh's estate, when adult children still deferred to their parents and ladies' maids were commonplace. Catriona McPherson delivers the picture effortlessly. I wasn't even unduly bothered when the fathers of two adult children with a combined age of fifty three discussed the settlement which Lord Ross would make on Mallory's marriage.
The plot is good too, with plenty of twists to keep you guessing. I did work out the who before it was made completely obvious but my reasoning for the why certainly wouldn't have stood up in a court of law. It was satisfying and I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag. It's a series I'll now follow.
It's strange how you come to read certain books. A Step So Grave arrived on the same day as the latest book by Val McDermid, which opens with the discovery of a long-buried body in Wester Ross. So, if you'd like to read more of Wester Ross, you'll enjoy Broken Ground. A Step So Grave read well as a standalone, but if you'd like to read more from Catriona McPherson, we can recommend one of the earlier books in the series: The Winter Ground.
You can read more book reviews or buy A Step So Grave (Dandy Gilver) by Catriona McPherson at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy A Step So Grave (Dandy Gilver) by Catriona McPherson at Amazon.com.
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