From English-born American writer Carola Dunn, this series of cozy mysteries takes us to England in the 1920s. The stories focus on the Honorable Daisy Dalrymple, a freelance writer working with Detective Chief Inspector Alec Fletcher of Scotland Yard to solve murder cases.
Even if Fletcher often tries to keep Daisy far away from the crime investigations (because his superiors at the Yard demand it), she always finds a way to join him in some crime-solving.
How to read the Daisy Dalrymple Series in Order?
Every entry in the Daisy Dalrymple book series works as a standalone story, but the lives of the different characters evolve from one novel to the other.
- Death at Wentwater Court – In early 1923, the young Honourable Daisy Dalrymple has decided to make her own living as a writer. Landing an assignment for Town & Country to write a series of articles on country manor houses, Daisy travels to Wentwater Court to research her first piece. There she finds a household in turmoil, filled with holiday guests and recriminations. But that’s nothing compared to the uproar when one of those guests drowns in a tragic early-morning skating “accident.”
- The Winter Garden Mystery – Daisy Dalrymple visit is a breath of fresh air for gloomy Occles Hall. But while photographing the rather barren grounds, Daisy spots that someones been digging among the first green shoots and much to her horror unearths the corpse of missing parlour maid Grace Moss.
- Requiem for a Mezzo – England, 1923: The Honourable Daisy Dalrymple attends a performance of Verdi’s Requiem with Detective Chief Inspector Alec Fletcher of Scotland Yard. The tickets were a gift from Muriel Westlea, Daisy’s neighbor and the sister of Bettina Westlea, who will be singing the mezzo role. What should be a pleasant afternoon is disrupted when, during the performance, Bettina falls dead on stage―poisoned with cyanide. While it’s quickly determined that Bettina’s on-stage prop glass of liqueur was laced with the deadly poison, discovering the person responsible will not be an easy task.
- Murder on the Flying Scotsman – Daisy’s embarking on a journey to Edinburgh and her biggest worry is that she has forgotten her book, so how will she pass the time? Her concern proves to be pointless, however, as once the journey begins Daisy finds a pint-sized stowaway on board – Belinda, the daughter of dreamy Detective Chief Inspector Alec Fletcher, Daisy’s beau.
- Damsel in Distress – In the early summer of 1923, love is in bloom as the Honourable Phillip Petrie finds himself totally smitten with Miss Gloria Arbuckle, daughter of an American millionaire. But before the enthusiastic suitor can pop the question, his beloved is abducted by kidnappers. As Gloria’s distraught father begins assembling the ransom, Phillip enlists his childhood friend, the Honourable Daisy Dalrymple, to help him recover his missing sweetheart.
- Dead in the Water – Daisy Dalrymple visits relatives with fiancé DCI Alec Fletcher, and covers the 1923 Henley Royal Regatta for an American magazine. But tensions escalate between the Ambrose team coxswain Horace Bott – shopkeeper’s son and scholarship student at Oxford – and rower Basil DeLancey – the son of an Earl and all-round bounder – who keels over and dies mid-race.
- Styx and Stones – 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.
- Rattle His Bones – In the summer of 1923, the Honourable Daisy Dalrymple makes what should an uneventful research trip to the Museum of Natural History with her nephew Derek and her soon-to-be step-daughter Belinda in tow. But as she interviews the various curators for her article on the museums of London, she soon discovers that the Museum of Natural History is a hothouse of professional rivalry and jealousy, particularly between Dr. Smith Woodward, the Keeper of Geology responsible for the Museum’s fabulous gem collection. On a later trip, as closing time nears, Daisy hears two voices followed by a tremendous crash and rushes into the next hall to discover Dr. Pettigrew dead – murdered amidst a pile of dinosaur bones.
- To Davy Jones Below – The newly married Daisy Dalrymple and Detective Chief Inspector Alec Fletcher of Scotland Yard take an ocean voyage to America for their honeymoon. Daisy and Alec are accompanied by Daisy’s childhood friend, Phillip Petrie; his wife, Gloria; and Gloria’s father, American millionaire industrialist Caleb P. Arbuckle, and all are looking forward to a pleasant, uneventful trip.
- The Case of the Murdered Muckraker – In late 1923, the newly married Daisy Dalrymple and her husband, Detective Chief Inspector Alec Fletcher of Scotland Yard, come to America for a honeymoon visit. In the midst of a pleasure trip, however, both work in a bit of business – Alec travels to Washington, DC, to consult with the US government, Daisy to New York to meet with her American magazine editor.
- Mistletoe and Murder – In December 1923, the formidable Dowager Viscountess Dalrymple has decided that for Christmas the family will all gather at Brockdene in Cornwall at the invitation of Lord Westmoor. Her daughter – Daisy Dalrymple Fletcher – is somewhat less than pleased but yields to the demands of her mother, especially as she’ll be there just before the holidays working on another article for Town and Country about the estate itself. But the family gathering quickly goes awry.
- Die Laughing – One morning in April 1924, the Honorable Daisy Dalrymple Fletcher finds herself in a most unenviable position. Despite her best attempts to elude the inevitable, she must face her darkest fears and with all the strength and courage she can muster, must confront the one person she has tried hardest to avoid – the dentist. But upon arriving for her appointment, she finds the waiting room deserted and adjoining examination room locked, with no hint of either Dr. Talmadge or his nurse.
- A Mourning Wedding – The inimitable Daisy Dalrymple Fletcher and her husband Detective Chief Inspector Alec Fletcher seem to get a reprieve from their sleuthing duties when they are invited to the wedding of their friend, Lucy Fotheringay. Lucy’s grandfather is hosting the ceremony at his beautiful estate and so it promises to be a typical affair with hordes of gossipy aunts and other colorful, but not necessarily pleasant, relatives.
- Fall of a Philanderer – In the summer of 1924, the Honourable Daisy Dalrymple Fletcher is off on a holiday by the sea with her step-daughter Belinda, Belinda’s chum Deva, and Daisy’s husband, Detective Chief Inspector Alec Fletcher of Scotland Yard. Daisy is anticipating a relaxing, nondramatic holiday. But Daisy doesn’t have that kind of luck.
- Gunpowder Plot – In the winter of 1924, Daisy Dalrymple Fletcher travels to a school friend’s house to witness the estate’s famous Guy Fawkes celebration. But she gets more than the quiet weekend at the quaint family manse that she was originally hoping for.
- The Bloody Tower – In early 1925, the Honorable Daisy Dalrymple Fletcher – recent mother of twins – resumes her journalistic career by agreeing to write a piece about the Tower of London – the Bloody Tower – for an American magazine. Invited to observe the centuries-old ritual Ceremony of the Keys, she’s spending the night (her first time away from her babies), since the complex is locked and guarded, and the high walls are surrounded by a disused moat.
- Black Ship – In September 1925, Scotland Yard DCI Alec Fletcher inherits a large house on the outskirts of London from a recently deceased great-uncle. Fortunately so, as he and his wife, the Honorable Daisy Dalrymple Fletcher, are the recent proud parents of twins, and their house is practically bursting at the seams. Though in need of a bit of work, this new, larger house seems a godsend – set in a small circle of houses, with a communal garden and Hampstead Heath nearby, the setting is idyllic.
- Sheer Folly – In March of 1926, Daisy Dalrymple Fletcher and her friend and collaborator, Lady Lucy Gerald, head off for several days to a stately home reputed to have the best grotto in the country. Working on a book of architectural follies, they plan to research and photograph it.
- Anthem for Doomed Youth – In the Spring of 1926, the corpses of three men are found in shallow graves off the beaten path in Epping Forest outside of London – each shot through the heart and bearing no identification. DCI Alec Fletcher of Scotland Yard, the lead detective, is immediately given two urgent orders by his supervisor at the Yard: solve the murders quickly and keep his wife, the Honorable Daisy Dalrymple Fletcher, away from the case! Thankfully, Daisy’s off visiting their daughter at school. But when a teacher is found dead, Daisy is once again in the thick of it.
- Gone West – In September 1926, the Honorable Daisy Dalrymple Fletcher visits Sybil Sutherby, a school friend now living in Derbyshire as the confidential secretary to a novelist. Suspecting that something is seriously amiss, Sybil has asked Daisy to discretely investigate.
- Heirs of the Body – In the late 1920s in England, the Honorable Daisy Dalrymple Fletcher is recruited to help her cousin Edgar – i.e. the Lord Dalrymple. About to turn 50, Lord Dalrymple decides it is time to find out who would be the heir to the viscountcy. With the help of the family lawyer, who advertises Empire-wide, they have come up with four potential claimants. For his fiftieth birthday, Edgar invites those would-be heirs – with Daisy and the rest of the family – to Fairacres, the family estate.
- Superfluous Women – In England in the late 1920s, the Honourable Daisy Dalrymple Fletcher, on a convalescent trip to the countryside, goes to visit three old school friends in the area. The three, all unmarried, have recently bought a house together. They are a part of the generation of “superfluous women” – brought up expecting marriage and a family, but left without any prospects after more than 700,000 British men were killed in the Great War.
- The Corpse at the Crystal Palace – April 1928: Daisy Dalrymple Fletcher is visited in London by her young cousins. On the list of must-see sites is the Crystal Palace. Discovering that her children’s nanny, Nanny Gilpin, has never seen the Palace, Daisy decides to make a day of it – bringing her cousins, her three-year-old twins, her step-daughter Belinda, the nurserymaid, and Nanny Gilpin. Yet this ordinary outing goes wrong when Mrs. Gilpin goes off to the ladies room and fails to return. When Daisy goes to look for her, she doesn’t find her nanny but instead the body of another woman dressed in a nanny’s uniform.
If you like the Daisy Dalrymple reading order, you may also want to see our guide to the Kate Shackleton books, or the Molly Murphy series. Don’t hesitate to follow us on Twitter or Facebook to discover more book series.