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4.3 out of 5 stars
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VINE VOICEon 21 June 2010
This is a well-written and well-plotted murder mystery in the classic country house setting. Most modern mystery writers - especially those who set their books in the golden age inter-war period - give some sort of nod to the masters (or more properly mistresses) of the genre. One obvious one here is the burgeoning romance between peer's daughter and Chief Inspector which may be familiar as a background motif in the Wimsey novels.

The central 'secret' is blindingly obvious, but I personally don't think that the book suffers from that although it does clearly mark it out as a modern homage.

Fans of this type of novel will not be disappointed.
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Daisy Dalrymple, magazine writer and daughter of a Viscount, is staying at Occles Hall to research an article about the house for `Town and Country' magazine. She is not a welcome guest to some members of the household, most notably her hostess Lady Valeria - a formidable battle axe who rules the house with a rod of iron for most of the time.

When a casual remark about a dead shrub in the winter garden of the title leads to the discovery of the body of a missing parlour maid Daisy is even less welcome. The local police arrest one of the gardeners but Daisy does not believe in his guilt and contact her friend Detective Chief Inspector Alec Fletcher of Scotland Yard to see if he can intervene in the case.

This is a well written mystery story with Daisy doing some sleuthing of her own in a very plausible manner. There are some well drawn characters and some believable dialogue and the difference in atmosphere in the house when Lady Valeria is present or absent is well done. I liked her mild mannered spouse as he contrives to get what he wants without making a song and dance about it. This is the second book in the series which can be read in any order though if you read them in the order in which they were published it's interesting to see the development of Daisy's relationship with Alec Fletcher. The series commenced with Death at Wentwater Court (Daisy Dalrymple)
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VINE VOICEon 11 January 2011
Very good follow up to the start of the series, some reappearing characters from the first book, daisy herself in super sleuth mode, and a continuation in the style of miss marple - but daisy is younger.
I think this series is a real discovery, there are many books and i am thinking they are all going to be brilliant for a murder mystery country house theme book.
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In this second of the Daisy Dalrymple mysteries, Daisy unearths the dead body of a missing parlourmaid in the Winter Garden of the house in which she is staying. When the local police prove useless, she calls in the 'scrumptious' Alec Fletcher from Scotland Yard, and embroils herself in yet another murder.

This is undoubtedly a light romp of a book not to be taken too seriously but, like the others, is fun and charming. The family secrets are fairly clear to us and the solution to the murder is hardly surprising but that's not really, I don't think, the point of the books.

Dunn creates characters who may be well-worn (the matriarch here is, for example, a cross between Lady Catherine de Bourgh and Lady Bracknell) but who we enjoy enormously all the same. The romantic attraction between Daisy and Alec is gentle and amusing rather than full of fire and passion, and Daisy is herself described by Alec as 'cuddlesome'.

So this is undoubtedly cosy and feel-good, perfect switch-off reading after a hard day.
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VINE VOICEon 10 April 2012
The second book in this series is as good a read as book one. Daisy has been invited to write an article about Occles Hall for Town and Country magazine by Sir Reginald Parslow. Most of the family welcome her, she went to School with Reginald's daughter Roberta, but she is unwanted by his wife Lady Valeria, who is afraid she will influence her daughter. No sooner has she arrived when the body of a housemaid is discovered buried in the garden and Daisy calls in the police. The police officer is terrified of the dominant Lady Valeria and quickly arrests the maid's boyfriend Owen, despite no real evidence. Daisy is determined that the truth should be discovered and risks the wrath of Lady Valeria by calling in Scotland Yard in the form of Chief Inspector Alec Fletcher. Once more Daisy and Alec work together to discover the identity of the murderer. A very enjoyable read and I am looking forward to reading book 3.
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on 25 July 2011
The second in this hearty 1920's murder mystery series sees heroine Daisy Dalrymple once again at a country house, this time at the behest of her old school chum Bobbie/Roberta. There to write another article for the magazine she works for (what a modern miss!) after the riproaring success of her last about Wentwater Court, Daisy can hardly believe it when she stumbles across another body - this time, whilst in the company of the gardeners in the pretty Winter Garden plot. It is revealed to be that of ex-maid Grace Moss, believed to have run off with a travelling salesman for the bright lights of London. Owen, under-gardener and one of her admirers, is immediately blamed for her murder, but Daisy is convinced, along with head gardener Bligh, that he is innocent.
After a run-in with the local inspector, a man she thinks highly incompetent and afraid, moreover, of the tyrant Lady Valeria, who rules not only her husband, her offspring, staff and community but the local authorities as well, with an iron fist and a tongue like a lash, Daisy decides to call in a favour from a man whom she knows will not be afraid of my lady's whip. Enter Chief Inspector Alec Fletcher, Scotland Yard, who is able to take over investigations on the pretext of searching for the missing London salesman.
Together again, Alec and Daisy must find the true murderer before Daisy is kicked out of Lady Valeria's home, Alec is called back to London and Owen is released from jail, prey to anybody who may have a taste for revenge...

Another good, easy to read story from the pen of Carola Dunn. Ignore the highly cliched 'what-ho, spiffing' language smatterings (or else just smile at them) and you'll enjoy this mystery as much as I did!
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on 5 January 2016
Love detective stories set in the 1920s and this was a reasonable read. The plot was weak but I liked the character of Daisy and shall probably read some other books in the series. Much prefer the Kate Shackleton mysteries of Frances Brody, however.
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on 4 October 2009
Carola Oman is a new author to me, even though many of her books (including this one) have been out for some time. They read well - I don't like struggling with deep psychological insights from the author, thinly disguised as characters thinking! And the plot and its resolution is plausible and satisfying. Definitely a writer I shall continue to look out for.
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on 20 August 2015
I'm in need of fairly light reading at present. Winter Garden met my expectations. It's a good mix of mystery with a hint of romance. No brutality. The right mix for me I intend working my way through the series. Contacted the author to say how I was enjoying this and the first in the series.
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VINE VOICEon 28 May 2011
Daisy is back and the is continuing to be something of a social outcast among her own - by being independent and having her own career and life, much to the disappoint of her mother, to Phillip Petrie a friend of her dead brother's who is rather sweet on her and proposes on a number of occasions. And then there is Lady Valeria the matriarch of the house Occles Hall where Daisy is writing about for Town and Country. Daisy's way of life is not something Lady Valeria wants her own children exposed to but then she does not reckon on Daisy's influence.

If you have read the first novel and get the premise of these books then you know that murder will not be far behind Daisy in fact in this case it is under an Azalea bush in the Winter Garden of the estate. And the body belongs to a missing parlour maid, Grace who was thought to have run off with a travelling salesman. A parlour maid with a varied life. The gardener who discovers the body in fact digs it up is Owen Morgan who she was stepping out with and her father Stan Moss, the local blacksmith has a rather long running argument and petty squabbles with Lady Valeria which everyone knows about. Could a motive be obvious from early on in the book?

The local police do an inefficient job due to the almost ogre like quality of Lady Valeria, a well constructed character who you could see exploding off the page; they do not want to upset her. They arrest Own Morgan her Welsh Beau and that is the end of the matter. Daisy is not happy she knows he did not do it, but has no proof and the only person she can think of to help is Alec Fletcher of Scotland Yard who she first surreptitiously helped in the first book.

And so the double act of Alec and Daisy begin an investigation, with Alec asking Daisy to step back and Daisy getting ever more involved in helping solve the crime. Along the way, other secrets are discovered about residents of Occles Hall and the moving times of 1923 are showing a much more tolerant and perhaps forward thinking upper class, but then again they may not have run into Lady Valeria!

A good second book in the series and will be easy passage to the third book as Daisy will continue to pitch up where something amiss is going to take place, then the dashing Alec will have to help her if only to stop her meddling and making his life difficult in Scotland Yard. Great escapism, imagine Miss Marple before she became the knitting sleuthing genius and you will find fondness for Miss Daisy Dalrymple.
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