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The Turning Tide

by Catriona McPherson

Publishers Weekly Agatha winner MacPherson’s vivid 14th Dandy Gilver mystery (after 2018’s A Step So Grave) opens in the summer of 1936, when Dandy Gilver and her inquiry agent colleague, Alec Osborne, receive a series of letters from a Scottish minister begging for their help. Vesper Kemp, the ferry operator for the town of Cramond, on the Firth of Forth, has abandoned her post and seems to be losing her mind. A young man accidentally fell into the river and drowned, but Vesper insists she murdered him. Dandy and Alec dismiss the case as more appropriate for a doctor than for detectives, until they discover the victim was Peter Haslett, whom Dandy has known since he was a child. Once in Cramond, Dandy and Alec find Vesper in a sad state, and their investigation takes several odd turns involving an old Roman fort, two unhelpful spinsters, four threatening millers, and a couple of students with a hidden agenda growing a particular strain of potato. MacPherson does a masterly job capturing the feel of rural Scotland and the mores of pre-WWII Britain. Readers will hope Dandy has a long career. Agent: Lisa Moylett, CMM Literary (U.K.). (Nov.)

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