The Case of the Missing Morris Dancer
A WISE Enquiries Agency Mystery #2
The Women of the WISE Enquiries Agency are back in a witty and intriguing new mystery.
The Anwen Morris Dancers are to play a pivotal role in the imminent nuptials of Henry, eighteenth Duke of Chellingworth. But it looks as though the wedding plans might go awry unless Mavis, Annie, Carol and Christine can help Althea, the Dowager Duchess, by finding a missing Morris man and a set of ancient and valuable artefacts in time for her son’s wedding.
Anwen-by-Wye might look like an idyllic Welsh village where family values reign and traditions still mean something in a modern world, but what will the WISE women find when they peer behind the respectable net curtains?
Hello there – thanks for having me along today…it’s exciting to be here to talk about the second WISE Enquiries Agency Mystery, THE CASE OF THE MISSING MORRIS DANCER.
When writing this book, one of the things I most enjoyed was researching old Welsh traditions…especially those surrounding weddings. At the beginning of this tale there’s much excitement at stately Chellingworth Hall, and in the nearby village of Anwen-by-Wye, about the imminent marriage of Henry Twyst, eighteenth duke of Chellingworth, and Stephanie Timbers, the woman who used to be the public relations manager at the hall.
A wedding ceremony is planned to take place at the local church, and Morris dancers are supposed to lead the happy couple along a winding path from the church to the door of Chellingworth Hall itself, thereby ensuring a pathway to a fertile marital bed. This sort of custom – in varying guises – is not unusual in many cultures, though traditions fade as centuries pass. Because the Twyst family has retained its seat since the fifteenth century, they’ve been able to sustain such archaic patterns, and do so much to the delight of the local community. But Henry isn’t too keen on some of the other ways in which a marriage was marked by the Welsh in previous centuries. He grudgingly accommodates the use of a gwadhoddwr (a roving Welsh bard) to make the announcement of the couple’s engagement on January 25th, St Dynwen’s Day (the Welsh alternative St Valentine). But he’s not terribly keen on running about the village, chasing his bride-to-be into a house from where he’s supposed to demand she surrenders herself…something his mother, the dowager duchess, agrees might be one tradition too far.
But the use of the Morris Dancers? That’s something everyone agrees MUST happen…especially since Henry’s not getting any younger, and the Twysts need an heir. So, when a pivotal player within the troupe goes missing, what’s a duke to do but call upon the women of the WISE Enquiries Agency to track the man down…if they can.