Sheer Folly: A Daisy Dalrymple Mystery (Daisy Dalrymple Mysteries)
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In March of 1926, Daisy Dalrymple Fletcher and her friend and collaborator Lucy (a.k.a. Lady Gerald) head off for several days at stately home reputed to have the best grotto in the country. Working on a book of follies (architectural), they plan to research and photograph it. Leaving her husband and young twins behind, Daisy is expecting a productive weekend at Appsworth Hall, with the only potential difficulty being keeping Lucy from offending the current owner, a manufacturer of plumbing products. Alas, it's not to be quite so simple. At the home, they find themselves faced with a curious assortment of people including the abominable, tactless Lord Rydal, who is rumored to be having an affair with one of the guests while at the same time in ardent and artless pursuit of the hand in marriage of another. When the grotto explodes with Lord Rydal in it, it's not a question of who would do it―as most who've met him would be sorely tempted―but who actually did do it.
sigh. “I sometimes think it’s a pity Selfridge ever coined the phrase.” “I’m supposed to be playing golf tomorrow, myself, in Essex. It’s a tournament. I was hoping to catch a train back to town tonight.” “That shouldn’t be difficult. Swindon being a junction on the Bristol line, there are plenty of fast trains.” “Good! I’ll pack my bag and take it with me. But first, another sausage or two. May I bring you something, Mrs. Fletcher?” Daisy was munching a second muffin when Pritchard, Julia,
to see this grotto?” “You mustn’t feel obliged, Mr. Fletcher,” said Pritchard. “Yes, you must,” said Daisy. “Come on. Are you coming, Gerald?” “Right-oh,” said Gerald, always obliging. Turning away from the window, Daisy caught a glimpse of someone moving in the garden below the terrace, just disappearing behind a yew hedge. Lady Ottaline? Surely not. But she was missing from the drawing room, Daisy realised. When had she left, before or after Alec and Gerald’s arrival? “Better take your
“Swearing he adores me and will do anything in the world for me, and then going off for an assignation with Lady Ottaline.” “That’s men for you,” Lucy averred. “Though he could at least have waited till you accepted him! But to be fair, it was she who made the running.” “You knew he had an assignation, Julia?” Daisy asked. “Lady Ottaline could just have followed him to see where he was going.” “Why on earth should he go to the grotto,” Lucy demanded, “if not to meet her? That divan bed is
one that got blown up.” “It’s the only one, to my knowledge. Look here, man, I’m as unhappy about this as you are.” “Oh, I doubt it, sir. I doubt it very much.” “All you have to do is treat my wife and me as ordinary witnesses. In fact, you’re in luck. She was here for a few days before the incident, so she knows the people concerned, including the victim. I arrived just as it happened, but I went straight to the scene and I was there when the body was discovered, so I can tell you all about
Gerald. “The explosion, or the collapse, must have shaken the whole hill. I hope Mr. Pritchard is able to restore the grotto. For the second time, poor man! But look, Gerald, I do believe the flow is increasing.” “Possibly,” Gerald said cautiously. “The stream must be gradually washing away the debris blocking it.” Hearing voices, Daisy looked back as Julia and Charles came round the bend. “Of course you don’t have to,” Julia was saying passionately. “Who cares what anyone says. Let alone