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Damsel in Distress: A Daisy Dalrymple Mystery    by Carola Dunn order for
Damsel in Distress
by Carola Dunn
Order:  USA  Can
Kensington, 2002 (1997)
Hardcover, Paperback
* *   Reviewed by Theresa Ichino

The year is 1923. Though wounds left by the Great War are still raw, the blithe young things who survived 'the war to end all wars' soldier on. Daisy Dalrymple has energy and spirit and an aristocratic heritage, though very little money. She also has a wide circle of friends. One of these, the Honourable Phillip Petrie, like Daisy, is impoverished but has an optimistic spirit. He meets and falls in love with a young American heiress. It seems Phillip is on his way to a happy ending, since Gloria returns his affection, and her father, a practical sort, does not fall into the error of viewing Phillip as a common fortune-hunter.

Disaster strikes: Gloria is kidnapped and Phillip left bleeding and frantic. Her father takes only too seriously the bloodthirsty threats in the ransom note. Afraid to involve the police, Phillip calls in the redoubtable Daisy. She rounds up her friends and they set out to find and rescue Gloria. Dunn's romp is appropriate in its roaring twenties setting, and her characters likeable, although not always well developed. The frothy accoutrements, underscored by the slang of the time, do not obscure the desperation of Gloria's situation, at the mercy of an unknown and ruthless kidnapper. Daisy is only too aware of the danger, and responsibility weighs heavy on her conscience.

In the end, Daisy and her friends prevail, with the requisite happy ending. Damsel in Distress is a pleasant trip to a time long gone. One hopes that the loyalty and honour shown here remain true even in the 21st century. And if you like mysteries with an historical bent, you might also want to try Jill Churchill's 'Grace and Favor' series, set in the 1930s, or Emily Brightwell's Victorian mysteries featuring Mrs. Jeffries.

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