Styx and Stones by Carola Dunn

Miss Daisy und der tote ProfessorBlurb:

In the 1920’s, in post-WWI England, the Honourable Daisy Dalrymple, newly married to Detective Inspector Alec Fletcher, is asked by her brother-in-law to discreetly investigate a series of poisoned pen letters that many of the local villagers have been receiving. When the pompous and unbearable brother of the local vicar is killed by a very large rock dropped on his head from a great height, it seems clear to all that this campaign of gossip has escalated to murder. With the help of her husband, who’d rather she not get involved in murder, Daisy undertakes to uncover the identity of the viper in the local nest is and who that person has driven to murder before the murderer strikes a second time.

In a nutshell:

I read it in: German (Miss Daisy und der tote Professor)

I liked it:     Yes, sort of, but now I’ve had enough of Daisy for a long while

For people who like: village gossip, the English country life, the 20s, the English upper class, cosy mysteries

My thoughts: 

This is the fourth Daisy Dalrymple book that I read and I liked this one best. I found the setting extremely appealing, a small village with all the gossip and underlying currents of tension. Daisy is staying with her sister and brother-in-law and at first only tries to find out who is the writer of the anonymous letters her brother-in-law is receiving. She goes about this in her usual way, which means she goes someplace and everybody tells her their innermost thoughts. I know I am complaining about this every time but how realistic is it if someone tells a woman he has never seen before about the anonymous letters he is receiving just because "it feels good to tell someone". If it wasn’t for Daisy’s inexplicable ability to make everybody confide in her there never would be much "sleuthing" going on.

The murder happens only after half of the book and the solving of the crime, once more, is done in such a haphazard way that I could only wonder at the end how on Earth they got their killer. Daisy makes assumptions and comes up with theories that are so out of the blue, it is bordering on the ridiculous. In the end there was no definite proof, but Daisy, Alec and Inspector Flagg were all convinced they got the case solved. This was so, but how it happened I can’t say. The reasoning made no sense to me.

In the course of the investigation there were some statements being made that were simply false, like for example at one point a witness says something like "Do you think X found out who the letter writer is and was murdered because of that?". One page later Alec would say to Daisy "Do you remember how the witness said that X found out who the letter writer was?" Actually, no, I don’t because the witness never said that.

If you want a puzzling mystery and an ingenious detective or two solving the crime in an Agatha Christie way, then this is not the right choice. If you want nice atmosphere, country gossip, the usual characters (venomous old spinster, drunken pillar of the community, busybody pastor’s wife etc.) and a cozy atmosphere, then go for it!

Location: A village in Kent, England, UK

Kent, UK Rolvenden Rolvenden Layne

Product info and buy link :

Title Styx and Stones
Author Carola Dunn
Publisher Kensington
ISBN 978-0758213952
I got this book from the library
Buy link Buy Styx and Stones
More info The Daisy Dalrymple mysteries in chronological order
and more Two free Daisy Dalrymple short stories


Have you read this book? What did you think of it? I would love to hear other opinions.

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