THE BURRY MAN'S DAY by CATRIONA McPHERSON.
Supernatural forces at play, or simply good old-fashioned murder?
August 1923, and as the village of Queenferry prepares for the annual Ferry Fair and the walk of the Burry Man, feelings are running high. Between the pagan greenery, his lucky pennies and the nips of whisky to which he is treated wherever he goes, the Burry Man has something to offend everyone, whether minister, priest or temperance pamphleteer. Then, on the eve of the fair, in full view of everyone - including Dandy Gliver, present at the festivities to hand out prizes - the Burry man drops down dead.
Has he been poisoned? If so, the list of suspects must include anyone with a bottle of whisky in the house and here in Queenferry, that means just about everyone.
..... inner front cover.
FIRST SENTENCE (Chapter 1): Far above us a train hurtled past and we raised our eyes to it in longing.
MEMORABLE MOMENT (Page 42): "I've never seen a baby I thought was pretty," I said. "I won't have to touch them, will I?" but Daisy and Buttercup only laughed again.
"Pick a nice big chubby one and you'll be fine," said Buttercup. "Bonny is just a polite word for fat, I've always found."
"Well, alright," I said. "Bloated is possibly less revolting than wizened, I agree ......."
KEEP IT OR NOT?: Not, though I have a friend who I know will love this.
The 2nd novel in the Dandy Gliver series, this read perfectly well as a standalone read.
Set in the 1920's Dandy Gliver is a sleuth very much in the vein of Agatha Christie's Miss Marple who, along with her husband (Alec)are a kind of Sherlock Holmes and Watson (without the deerstalker hat)crime busting duo.
I admit that this took some time to capture my imagination but once it did I was hooked. An engaging whodunit with plenty of twists and turns, The Burry Man's Day had me guessing until the end.
But do you know what I found just as fascinating? With half of the estate seemingly heavy duty whisky drinkers and the rest tea-total I loved hearing the characters argue for and against the temperance movement. Then, of course, there was the supernatural element with the children swearing that there were all manner of ghoulies and ghosties living in 'them there woods'.
Not too sure about the characters though, admittedly all were well written but I found myself unable to connect with many of them. Dandy in particular I didn't really like, a bit of a busybody, on the one hand very much a human being with many of the failings that go with this and, on the other, a terrible, terrible snob, I just couldn't bring myself to enjoy her as a main character. However, nicely balanced with Dandy were the 'estate folk', working class people, I did enjoy the exploits of the afore mentioned 'red haired tearaway' children who provided many clues as to just whodunit.