After the Armistice Ball by Catriona McPherson

After the Armistice Ball is the first book in the Dandy Gilver series. I’ve read a couple of the later books in the series and had to read this one in order to find out how Dandy (short for Dandelion) first became an amateur detective, or Society Sleuth, as she is called on the book cover.

It all began when there is an alleged theft of Lena Duffy’s jewels at Daisy Esslemont’s annual Armistice Ball in 1922 and Daisy asks Dandy to find out what really happened. Dandy is a bored wife, whose husband, Hugh is the ‘hunting, shooting and fishing’ type. The theft of the jewels is rapidly pushed to the sidelines after the death of Lena’s daughter, Cara in a lonely beach cottage in Galloway. Accompanied by Cara’s jilted fiancé, Alec Osborne, Dandy is faced with the puzzle of Cara’s death. Was she killed, or did she commit suicide? She had died in a fire, whilst on her own in the cottage – why was the cottage always kept so hot, so hot that the coal that was supposed to last all winter had been finished in one week?

The setting in the 1920s is convincing, the sense of dislocation after the First World War, the class divide and the contrast between the idle rich and the poor. The locations are beautifully described, and the characters are lively and come to life, particularly Dandy, although Hugh does seem to be a cardboard cut-out, but the book dragged in the middle as Dandy and Alec went over and over, and over the events and theorised about what had happened and why.

I too puzzled over the mystery and I did find the ending rather confusing, so much so that I had to re-read parts of the book to sort out what I thought had happened. I’m still not sure, but I think I know. Having said all that, I did enjoy the book, and apart from the middle section I raced through it and that’s probably where I missed some salient points.

My Rating: 3/5

I borrowed the book from my local library

5 thoughts on “After the Armistice Ball by Catriona McPherson

  1. Thanks for participating. We’ve linked to your review on the reviews page. I’ve got your snippet from the review to post on March 27.


  2. I missed this post! I’ve been meaning to get this and read it, Geraniumcat really enjoys this series too. Our bookstore carries book 6? 8? in the series, but I want to start at the beginning. Interesting review, and I will get to read this book at some point! Have you read Jacqueline Winspeare’s series with Maisie Dobbs, set at the same time period? Which do you prefer? I like Maisie, but by the end of the second book, she was annoying me a little. I really enjoy the series though. I appreciate the time period more because of how Winspeare writes about it.


    1. I’ve read a few of the Maisie Dobbs books a while ago and enjoyed them. It’s hard to say which I prefer, maybe the Dandy Gilver ones, but that could be just because I’ve read them more recently. They both give a good sense of the time period – the 1920s and 30s.


  3. I just finished reading the book (I’ve read most of the other Dandy Gilver’s as well) and I raced to the computer to find out if anyone else out there was as disappointed as I was at the ending. Yes, I THINK I know what happened, but that’s not the way a classic mystery story is supposed to end. You’re supposed to KNOW what happened. That’s the satisfaction, to know if you figured it out correctly (or not). Glad to hear that you weren’t totally satisfied with the ending either.


Comments are closed.