I’ve started to feel as though Catriona McPherson’s approach to a mystery is to throw clues at you until you’re impossibly confused. That’s probably why I prefer her cozy thrillers. Still, I like her characters Dandy Gilver and Alec Osborne, so I keep reading.
Dandy’s daughter-in-law has given birth to twins when Dandy and Alec finally decide to respond to a third letter asking for help. One reason they decide to come is they have just heard of the death of a family friend, Peter Haslett, that seems to be connected with the case. The Reverend Hogg has asked them to find out what is wrong with Vesper, the Cramond Ferry girl, who appears to have gone mad and now blames herself for Peter’s drowning.
When they arrive in Cramond, they are confused by a meeting with three people who seem to have different agendas, Reverend Hogg, Miss Speir, who runs an uncomfortable inn, and Miss Lumley, who owns a local pub. They also hear different versions of Peter’s death. Most say he fell off the ferry and drowned, but one person says he came off the path and had his head crushed in the mill race.
He supposedly was visiting some friends, agricultural students doing an experiment with potatoes, but when Dandy and Alex meet them, the students make nothing of the fact that they have planted the potatoes upside down. When Dandy and Alec meet Vesper, she certainly seems mad, half naked and babbling about Mercury and snakes. But soon, Vesper too is dead.
I think I defy anyone to figure out McPherson’s crime novels. Still, they’re fun to read.