Author Cathy Ace (yes that is her name) was recommended to me by a trusted source. I am so glad. The Case of the Dotty Dowager is the first book in a series featuring the women of the WISE Enquiry Agency of London England. There are three more books in the series plus another seires.
Anne Parker is from London (E) and is an Afro-Caribbean. She does not drive and feels lost outside of London. Her age is late 30s or early 40s. She is single. Carol Hill is Welsh (W). She is married (the only one of the four who is married) and expecting her first child. Carol is a wizard around computers. Annie and Carol had worked for the same insurance company. The former was a receptionist and the latter was in IT. Mavis MacDonald (S) is from Scotland and sometimes lapses into that country’s accented language. Mavis is the oldest at age 62ish and has a couple of adult aged sons. She is retired from the British Army where she was a nurse and hospital matron. Christine Wilson-Smythe (I) is a daughter of a wealthy Irish Viscount. The WISE Enquiry Agency is her first job. She is trying to prove to Daddy that she can survive in the real world.
The first clients the readers meet are from Wales. Henry Twyst is the 18th Duke of Chellingworth. He is about 55. His mother, the Dowager Duchess of Chellingworth, is Althea Twyst. Althea was the second wife of the 17th Duke (deceased). The Duke’s first wife died while giving birth to Henry’s older brother, who is also deceased which is why Henry is the current Duke. Henry has a younger sister, Clemmie, who lives in a family house in London. Both Clemmie and Henry are single.
Another important character is Alexander Bright, a wealthy London property developer with a mysterious and possibly shady background. Alex is single, rich, charming and good-looking.
So what is the mystery?, you might ask. Althea and Henry live in separate houses on the 6,000-acre estate of Chellingworth. One night Althea is awoken by her dog barking. She goes downstairs and finds a body in her dining room (or does she?). She calls her son, who hustles over to his mother’s house. He cannot find any body or evidence that there may have been a body. Henry thinks his mother is getting a bit “dotty.” They call the police, but the only evidence is a mysterious stocking cap. Henry has heard about the WISE Enquiry Agency and calls them in to investigate since the police have no leads.
As the story progresses, Annie goes missing and Henry discovers that a mundane but very valuable collection of dentures has also gone missing. Are these three crimes linked in some way? That is the mystery that the team of WISE ladies have to solve.
I eagerly anticipate reading more stories by Cathy Ace. If you are a fan of mysteries, in particular British mysteries, this book is right up your alley. Except for the presumed body, there is no physical violence or car chases. There are plenty of red herring clues. Have fun with this book.
GO! BUY! READ!
–Jim Harris, retired book sales rep
One Nightstand is a reader-fueled feature, and you can be a contributor, too. Simply click the “What are you reading?” button in the sidebar and share your thoughts. Tell us your latest great reads or all-time favorites! If you mention your favorite independent bookstore, we’ll link to them.