Dead bodies and mysterious disappearances provide a difficult case for a pair of well-born sleuths.
Aristocratic Dandy Gilver and her partner Alec Osborne’s abilities to range outside their elite circle in 1920s Britain are acilitated by Dandy’s skill in masquerade. When her childhood friends Pearl and Aurora Lipscott ask her to find out how their sister Fleur is doing teaching at a girls school in coastal Scotland, Dandy, mistaken for a schoolmistress, goes undercover at St. Columba’s while Alec stays at the local inn. Dandy can’t imagine that wealthy, flighty, imaginative Fleur could possibly be teaching at a remote school. When a body washes up on the shore, Dandy goes with Fleur to see if it’s Miss Beauclerc, the missing French mistress. It isn’t, but before Fleur vanishes from St. Columba’s, she seems to admit that she murdered five people. Dandy and Alec are forced to dig into Fleur’s past even after they’re fired by Fleur’s family, who know more than they’re willing to share. Dandy, certain that there’s something fishy about the school, is asked to leave soon after finding both Fleur’s and the missing Miss Beauclerc’s luggage. A trail that leads to Fleur’s house in Scotland lands the sleuthing duo in extreme danger.
The latest of McPherson’s delightful pastiches of golden-age British mysteries (Dandy Gilver and an Unsuitable Day for a Murder, 2012, etc.) offers loads of red herrings to keep readers guessing.