An upper-class sleuth finds herself entangled in a family feud.
Dandy Gilver is asked to come to Dunfermline, Scotland, to find a missing young woman. Mirren, the youngest Aitken, has gone missing, and the family fears that she’s run off with Dougie, scion of their bitter rivals the Hepburns. Each family owns a department store, and several generations ago the former friends had a falling-out when an Aitken pinched a Hepburn girl. Today the stores are wildly different, reflecting the personalities of each family: the Aitkens stodgy and old-fashioned, the Hepburns a paean to 1920s fashion. Dandy arrives on the day of Aitken’s 50th year anniversary. While she’s attending the celebrations at the store, she finds Mirren shot dead. Her mother Abigail confesses to the crime but is soon discounted as a suspect. The police suspect Dandy herself of involvement when she discovers Dougie’s body on top of the Aitken store elevator. Both families and the police call the deaths suicides and blame each other. Their certainty threatens to put Dandy out of a job. But her instincts tell her that there’s much more to the mystery, and she and her partner Alec continue to dig up family secrets, revealing some horrifying information worthy of murder.
McPherson (Dandy Gilver and the Proper Treatment of Bloodstains, 2011, etc.) continues her impressively precise imitation of Golden Age models—right down to the appended family tree, which is quite necessary to help sort everything out.