A Scottish border spa hides deadly secrets.
Dandy Gilver’s entire family and most of her staff have already been laid low with various ailments when her partner in detective work, Alec Osborne, receives a letter asking for an investigation into the death of an elderly lady. Mrs. Addie died at Laidlaw’s Hydropathic Establishment, ostensibly of a heart attack, even though her son and daughter say her heart was perfect. Dandy is delighted with the idea of taking her family to the Hydro for treatments to get them back in shape. Truth to tell, she’d like to get them out of the house for another reason. Her husband, Hugh, has just sold a block of shares in order to buy into the red-hot New York stock market of 1929. But Dandy plans to use the money instead to install central heating and improve the plumbing in their big, drafty home. Upon their arrival, Dandy discovers that the brother-sister pair who own the Hydro have schemes of their own. Thomas Laidlaw is a smooth customer who’s running a nightly gambling casino at the spa to make ends meet. His sister, Dr. Dorothea Laidlaw, is so entirely devoted to her research that she had a local doctor sign Mrs. Addie’s death certificate. Gingerly sampling the Hydro’s Turkish baths, steam rooms, cold pool and massages, Dandy hunts for clues to Mrs. Addie’s death and searches for her missing pocketbook and clothing. Alec, who’s shopping for a wife, rather likes Dorothea and refuses to suspect her. But he does get the Addie children to approve an exhumation that shows they do indeed have a murder to solve.
Dandy’s fourth (Dandy Gilver and a Bothersome Number of Corpses, 2013, etc.) gives the delightful heroine an unusual mystery to solve as she ponders the workings of a period health spa.