I received this book for free from . This review is voluntary. My opinion is not influenced in any way.The Case of the Dotty Dowager on July 1, 2015
Buy on Amazon • Buy on Barnes & Noble
Meet the Women of the WISE Enquiries Agency. The first in a new series.
Henry Twyst, eighteenth Duke of Chellingworth, is convinced his mother is losing her marbles. She claims to have seen a corpse on the dining-room floor, but all she has to prove it is a bloodied bobble hat.
Worried enough to retain the women of the WISE Enquiries Agency – one is Welsh, one Irish, one Scottish and one English – Henry wants the strange matter explained away. But the truth of what happened at the Chellingworth Estate, set in the rolling Welsh countryside near the quaint village of Anwen by Wye, is more complex, dangerous, and deadly, than anyone could have foreseen . . .
And now for something completely different…
This phrase made famous by the Monty Python team is a suitable way to introduce my new characters to you, not only because they are completely different, but because one of them is a big fan of all things Monty Python!
With five Cait Morgan Mysteries on the shelf so far (yes, there are more to come: The Corpse with the Diamond Hand in October 2015, plus The Corpse with the Garnet Face and The Corpse with the Ruby Lips in 2016) I am delighted to be introducing the women of the WISE Enquiries Agency to the world. This new book puts a traditional, yet modern, spin on the private detective agency: by bringing together a group of women who differ greatly from each other, yet operate well as a team, and setting them to work quirky cases at a stately home in Wales, I am hoping to bring the best of several worlds together to create quintessentially British adventures.
The Case of the Dotty Dowager is the first book looking into the lives of these women. Meet Carol Hill – a warm and bubbly Welshwoman who, in her mid-thirties, is excited to be finally pregnant; she’s given up her high-powered job as head of computing at a big firm so she can lead a less-stressful life with the detective agency. Christine Wilson-Smythe is single, beautiful, bright, and in her late twenties; the daughter of an Irish viscount, she faces the world with the sort of confidence and bravado reserved for the young and fearless. Mavis MacDonald is a retired army nurse with grown sons, grandchildren and an ailing, aged mother in a nursing home in her native Scotland; she’s seen a thing or two in her time, and likes to pass on her views on life, and how a business should be run. In her mid-fifties, Annie Parker is a Cockney through and through; with parents from St. Lucia she’s an English rose of the darker variety, and while her tongue might have a few thorns, she’s soft at her core. Brought together by a rather mysterious “previous situation” the women have been struggling to make ends meet with their business venture, so leap at the chance to take on a case that falls into their lap, and could pay well.
It’s always a challenge, at the start of a series, to give enough insight into the main characters so that readers want to know more, without the entire book becoming a history of the people involved – there has to be a puzzle to solve, and a solution that satisfies, as well as laying the groundwork for future installments where life stories can be revealed, a layer at a time. I also wanted to create a situation where these characters don’t sleuth, but investigate. What’s the difference? It’s subtle, in that there are clues, leads, and red herrings of course, but, when you are licensed, professional investigators you can’t meddle, and sidestep the involvement of the police, you have to have a plan, gather fact-checked information and evidence and – when the time is right – hand it over to the authorities to let them take the lead. Otherwise, you can have your accreditation removed and your income (little though it might be) evaporates. These women know that, and act accordingly – though, in all honesty, Annie’s not very good at keeping receipts to allow for proper invoicing!
I think (hope!) readers who’ve enjoyed my sleuthing Cait Morgan Mysteries will also revel in these books: these PIs are soft-boiled, and there’s an engaging rural Welsh setting because much of the action takes place at and around the estate of Chellingworth Hall, where the slightly eccentric (or is she really “dotty”?) dowager duchess Althea Twyst lives with her son Henry, the eighteenth duke (who relies on his butler a great deal) and her Jack Russell, McFli.
The women of the WISE Enquiries Agency have been a joy to create – I hope readers have as much fun with them as I am having, and want to find out what happens when they tackle THE CASE OF THE MISSING MORRIS DANCER, which will be their next challenge (early 2016).
The Case of the Dotty Dowager by Cathy Ace is the first book in a new cozy mystery series, the WISE Enquiries Agency series. I had a little trouble getting into this one. I think because I was a little confused by the time period the book was set in. For some reason I thought it was set in the past. I was also a bit confused by the development of the relationships between the women of the WISE Enquiry Agency.
I plowed ahead and continued reading the story and I’m glad I did. I ended up enjoying the mystery overall though a few things didn’t match up for me. I would read the next one in this series. I really like Cathy Ace’s Cait Morgan mysteries so the author’s writing style is a big pull for me in reading her books.