Daisy Dalrymple goes to America to write a series of articles on her impressions of America in The Case of the Murdered Muckraker, the tenth in the Daisy Dalrymple series by Carola Dunn, and stumbles over yet another body. While visiting the office of her American editor, Daisy sees a man open up the door to the elevator to peer down, only to see him get shot in the leg and fall down the shaft, breaking his neck in the process. Trying to chase the man running away from the scene, Daisy is stopped by a man with a gun who seems to have been following her. She soon learns that this man, Lambert, is a rookie FBI agent assigned to prevent her from getting herself into trouble.
Enter Rosenblatt and Gilligan, a.k.a. Rosecrans and Guildenstern, the NYPD detectives who seem almost as inept as Lambert. They learn that the murdered man was an investigative reporter known for exposing the corruptions in the Harding administration who has moved on to working to expose the problems in the Tammany political machine. Being servants of Tammany themselves, Rosenblatt and Gilligan are eager to wrap up the case with any possible arrest before the next week’s election, so Daisy becomes involved to try to insure that the police don’t frame the wrong person.
Daisy develops a cohort of friends who are eager to look out for her, certain that the true murderer is out to kill the single witness. Kevin, the enterprising teenage elevator boy who loves all kinds of intrigue, uses his own network to look out for anyone who might be a threat. Miss Genevieve Cabot, who lives in the Chelsea Hotel where Daisy is staying with her sister, is a retired crime reporter very eager to get involved in the case.
The book ends up with a madcap dash across the country via airplane to try to catch an air pirate who had commandeered a mail plane at gunpoint.
This book is a departure from the rest of the series, with a weak mystery plot but a lot of fun characters and word play. I suspect that Dunn had a lot of fun writing it, making Daisy have to learn to understand “American,” which the people in this country curiously insist on calling English. Some of the running jokes wear thin after a while, but overall, the book holds its own.
The characters are truly delightful, especially young Kevin, who is thrilled with the adventure and creates all sorts of cloak and dagger plans to evade the gunmen he is certain must be after Daisy. The idiot policemen at times get annoying but often made me smile, and the same goes for the inane Lambert, who seems to have joined the FBI merely for the opportunity to wear disguises.
The book is read by Lucy Rayner, who does a fabulous job of handling the many accents thrown her way. She does the British of both Daisy and Alec but also the stuffy speech of Dipper, the knighted former Royal Air Corps colleague of Alec. But it is her handling of the accents of those in America that impressed me. British readers tend to have difficulty with American accents and often end up giving everyone a version of a southern drawl. But Rayner handled the speech of those in New York, which she gave a more neutral American accent to than a strong New York one but made it much more realistic than I’ve heard from British readers. She also voiced the speech of people from the middle of America and the African American aviatrix from Texas. If I didn’t find her voicing a Daisy a little too high pitched and annoying, I’d think Rayner the ideal narrator.
The Case of the Murdered Muckraker is a rather silly book but fun. I enjoyed the departure from 1920s British slang to using 1920s American slang. This is not a book that sometime should read as an introduction to the series, but people who already have read some of the books will likely get a kick out of it. I give this book 4 stars.
The Case of the Murdered Muckraker (Daisy Dalrymple, Book 10) is available in multiple formats. To order from Amazon, click the link in the title. You may also find it at your local bookstore or library.