Daisy Dalrymple goes to Edge Manor in the Cotswolds to write an article for her American publisher about its famous Guy Fawkes celebration in Gunpowder Plot by Carola Dunn. There, she finds discord among all the residents, with her friend Gwen’s father, Viscount Harold Tyndall, a huge bully ready to throw fits at anything, in a rage about his son Jack’s desire to become an aeronautics engineer instead of lord over the estate, as well as Gwen’s obvious romantic interest in Miller, the engineer trying to recruit Jack. The cast rounds out with Barbara, the oldest sister, who loves working the land and wants to take over the job Jack doesn’t want, and Adelaide, the widowed middle sister who lets her sons run wild and expects all sorts of special treatment.
On the night before the Guy Falkes celebration, with not just a bonfire and a guy to burn in effigy, but also a big fireworks display, Jack, Miller, Barbara, Gwen, and Daisy visit the local pub, where they meet a friendly Australian couple, the Gooches, whom Jack impulsively invites to his family’s house for the big party surrounding the Guy Fawkes celebration.
At the big party, Jack tries to head off the Gooches from meeting his snobby parents, who look down their nose at anyone of a lower class, and then they all go out to watch the big fireworks display. When they all return to the house for dinner after the show, Jack goes into his father’s library and discovers his father and Mrs. Gooch dead, apparently with Lord Tyndall’s having murdered Mrs. Gooch and then turned the gun on himself.
Of course, with Daisy present, Alec, her detective chief Inspector husband, gets called in, along with his Detective Sergeant Tom Tring and Detective Constable Ernie Piper. Together, the trio must solve this case, while uncovering explosive evidence about the family in the meanwhile.
Lucy Rayner provides the narration of the audio version of this book, which was just released today, but she didn’t live up to her usually high standards to me. She did not master the Australian accents of the Gooches, and she kept pronouncing the word “anomalous” as “anolomous,” which got annoying. However, overall she was fine.
Of the 15 Daisy Dalrymple books released on audio so far, Gunpowder Plot is one of the stronger ones. I liked the local color and the way it teaches its American readers about Guy Fawkes celebrations, which take place on November 5 to honor the foiling of the plot to blow up Parliament in 1605, with Fawkes literally sitting on the gunpowder. I give this book five stars.
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