|Carola Dunn: To Davy Jones Below|
Kensington (Paperback), ISBN 0-7582-0169-9
The newly wed Daisy Dalrymple (now Fletcher) and her husband Detective Chief Inspector Alec Fletcher find their honeymoon extended when Scotland Yard sends Alec to America. During their transatlantic cruise, they meet a number of interesting characters. But you can't expect any activity in a mystery series to run smoothly.
The Fletchers' transatlantic cruise proves no exception to this rule. First, a farmer falls overboard. Most believe it an accident, but Lady Brenda claims she saw someone push the man. The rescued victim survives, but contracts pneumonia and lapses into a coma.
His career unknown to most of the people on the ship, Alec begins investigating quietly, only to find himself waylaid by a nasty bout of seasickness (as do many other passengers). Daisy, however, seems immune to it, so she does as much sleuthing as she can to help her husband. When a second man, Pertwee, falls overboard -- and vanishes without a trace -- many fall under the umbrella of suspicion.
Lady Brenda's American fiancÚ, Chester Riddman, lost a lot of money to Pertwee. Wanda seems to know Pertwee -- she called him a "stage door Johnnie," while Gotobed saw the accident and claimed someone shot Pertwee just before Pertwee went over. Digging deeper, suspicion also falls on a man named Welford, Pertwee's cabinmate and another possible card sharp. More complications and arguments develop between the passengers. Meanwhile, Daisy tries to placate everyone, sniff out the murderer, work on an article for publication and prevent Alex from cutting her out of the detective loop. Then two more people die on the ship.
To Davy Jones Below surfaces as the eighth book in Carola Dunn's Daisy Dalrymple series of 1920s-era mysteries. In the case of many long-running series, details about the main characters often don't appear in the later volumes. Authors seem to assume that readers know the previous volumes and so the authors gloss over the details. Dunn doesn't succumb to this foible -- at least not noticeably so.
The characters all fill out nicely. However, the dialogue becomes grating after the first few chapters. Full of British-isms, the slang seems overly forced, but a strong plot with a good twist at the end makes up for it. The revelation scene seems a bit trite, but it fits in with time period.
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