A Deadly Measure of Brimstone (Dandy Gilver)
by Catriona McPherson
Review by Joseph B. Hoyos
Minotaur Books Hardcover ISBN/ITEM#: 9781250053978
Date: 18 November 2014 List Price $26.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK
Links: Author's Website / Show Official Info /
A Deadly Measure of Brimstone depicts the treatment of arthritis and other ailments using hot water springs in the 1920s. The novel is narrated in the first person from the point of view of the main character, Dandelion "Dandy" Gilver, and reads as though it was written by someone who lived around the turn of the century. Some of the language is too colloquial and archaic for modern readers but lends a feeling of authenticity. The plot moves along at a steady and unnerving pace.
The two most interesting characters are the brother and sister, Thomas "Tot" Laidlaw and Dr. Dorothea "Dot" Laidlaw. Each one has their own agenda for the hotel that has fallen into their hands since their father's death. Each one has a version of the truth concerning the mysterious death of Enid Addie. Because there are two Laidlaws, there are always two versions of everything. Complicating matters is Alec's growing attachment for Dr. Dot Laidlaw. His feelings may be clouding his judgment.
Like many Gothic mansions (remember Collinwood of Dark Shadows fame?), the Hydro Hotel has a secret room that is forbidden. There is also a mysterious stranger, Loveday Merrick--a famous medium who has quite a legion of strange followers; he is not who he appears to be. A creepy staff of nurses, a dysfunctional brother and sister, and ghost stories based on Scotland's notorious William Burke and William Hare make A Deadly Measure of Brimstone a macabre mystery. A fiery disaster is the icing on a superb cake.
Fans of historical mysteries and fans of Agatha Christie will be thrilled to learn how Enid Addie died from A Deadly Measure of Brimstone.