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After the Armistice Ball (Dandy Gilver #1)

3.48  ·  Rating Details ·  1,237 Ratings  ·  156 Reviews
Dandy Gilver, her husband back from the War, her children off at school and her uniform growing musty in the attic, is bored to a whimper in the spring of 1923 and a little light snooping seems like harmless fun. And what could be better than to seek out the Duffy diamonds, stolen from the Esselmont's country house, Croys, after the Armistice Ball? Before long, though, the ...more
ebook, 256 pages
Published September 1st 2011 by Constable (first published 2005)
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Two murders need two motives, I wrote, then I put my elbows on the desk and lowered my head, but stopped in time. It was not even ten o'clock in the morning, and I could not possibly put my head in my hands already. Sherlock, I am sure, never put his head in his hands before luncheon. That should be my rule from now on. No head-holding before luncheon, no putting of one's head on the table and rolling it from side to side before tea, and no audible groaning before dinner.

I am very disappointed.
Mrs. Dandy Gilver, a sweet young society wife known mostly for her dense cluelessness, is enlisted by her friend Daisy to ask dense, clueless questions of an acquaintance who claims that her legendary diamonds were stolen during a visit to Daisy's house. Daisy hopes that Dandy, while acting under the believable cover of an unsuspecting ditzy gossiper, can uncover truths and facts to what really happened to the infamous Duffy diamonds. Very quickly, Dandy--not as daft as she is oft dismissed to b ...more
Jan 17, 2014 Christyn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have mixed feelings about After the Armistice Ball. There were things I liked and things I didn't. The mystery involving the diamonds and the subsequent murder was interesting. I figured out the bare bones answers (who took the diamonds, who murdered whom - though this one gave me moments of doubt as the story unfolded) to the mysteries fairly early on but filling in the rest of it was quite a ride. I also figured out some other things (view spoiler) befor ...more
Sep 09, 2014 Sally906 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, historical
Despite my initial interest in the title, and the best of intentions, the book just didn't work for me. I found I just couldn't relate to Dandy as a character and as she is the main character and tells the story this was a bit of a problem.

The journey of solving of the mystery takes way too long as Dandy and parnter-in-investigation, Alex, keep going over the same clues over and over again and still not getting the right results - whereas I was screaming the answer at them and wanting to bang t
Cathy Cole
I've heard some good things about Catriona McPherson's Dandy Gilver series over the years, and since I love Scotland and that period of time, I thought it was time to give the first book in the series a try. I've read many books about World War I and the years leading up to the conflict as well as its aftermath. The prologue of After the Armistice Ball immediately wove its spell and took me right to that time when the fighting was finished, and people were taking their first tentative steps in a ...more
Aug 30, 2011 George rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Book one in the Dandy Gilver, society sleuth, mystery series set in Scotland. It is 1922 and members of the upper class are getting back to normal from the events of World War I and are holding what had been an annual ball before the war. Dandy is asked by a friend to help work out what happened regarding diamonds that supposedly went missing while the owner was staying at the friend's house during the ball. That request leads Dandy and new found friend Alex through a series of events over sever ...more
Snail in Danger (Sid) Nicolaides
It seems to me that a hallmark of 20th and 21st century literature is that not much gets explained. That is, the sort of talking to the reader to explain things (except as genuine interior monologue) such as is seen in SF, is generally absent. I'm not sure if I'm explaining what I mean very well, but this book had the same sort of feel, especially near the beginning.

It also has what I think you might call a bumbling hero. Dandy (short for Dandelion) has hardly any clue what she is doing, and she
Miss Marple, a sweet fluffy old lady, was always entirely ready to believe the very worst of people because she had seen so much of village life. Dandy Gilver, apparently out of an inherent goodness, has a reputation for honesty and innocence - and thus is considered by her society friend to be just the person to investigate a diamond theft.

The period voice of this story feels reasonably accurate. Unfortunately, Dandy just didn't work for me. Unlike Miss Marple, she isn't a person of keen insigh
Jan 30, 2014 Kelly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting! I don't think I've ever seen a detective that is deliberately "the opposite of Sherlock Holmes".

It's common enough for the detective to say things don't make sense or that everything's in a muddle but it's rare for the author to actually write it that way. Dandy, our heroine, frequently botches simple tasks, says the wrong thing, is led astray, confuses the facts of the case, and even, for a good portion at the start of the book, actually has no idea what the facts of the case are.
Oct 26, 2009 Catherine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009-reads
I really enjoyed this book! It was one of those "judge the book by its cover" picks from the library - they had a table out of mysteries and this one caught my eye because I love the 1920's.

Dandy is a Scottish society wife. Now that World War I has ended, she's packed her uniform away and gone back to the usual routine as a wife and mother. Eager for an adventure, she agrees to look in to the alleged theft of from diamonds from her friend's annual Armistice anniversary ball. Soon she has more a
Dandy Gliver is bored now the war (WWI) is over, her husband safe and sound, and the children off at school. When she's invited to her friend Daisy's party, she hesitates. Like everyone else in post-war British Society, they're experiencing money troubles and it would be frightfully embarrassing if anyone knew. Daisy begs Dandy's support at the ball for her husband has invited some insurance company contacts she needs help dealing with them. Also invited to the ball are the Duffys: Cold and prou ...more
Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all)
Very obviously a first novel, it needed some severe editing. Chatter chatter chatter. I got the feeling the author was trying to make some obscure point about loveless marriages in the upper classes, but surely if one is married for appearances' and economics' sake, particularly, one's husband won't allow one to trot about the country with a handsome single young man for most of the book?

This is no substitute for Phryne Fisher in her better moments.Set in the twenties, but some of the details ar
Antigone Chambers
I thought this was one of the best crime novels I have read that has been written in the last 20 years. I find it extremely satisfying that not only is Dandy a good detective, but that she thinks as someone living through the post-war period would have been likely to. Ms McPherson has drawn excellent 3D characters and although I knew nothing about Scotland (either in the 1920s or even much now) before reading this series I felt that I had gained an insight into that society at that time. One oth ...more
Feb 06, 2008 Tricia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, 2008
Very enjoyable mystery set between the world wars. Dandy Gilver is a likeable character with her own flaws and ego. Although I found it slightly hard to get into, within a chapter or two I was whizzing through, and barely put it down again until The End. I liked McPherson's writing and the settings are nicely detailed without bogging the narrative down. Looking forward to more of these!
Jul 17, 2011 Hilary rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, mystery, dandy, gilver
I enjoyed this very much: the writing flows, it's well-plotted, and the main character is both likeable and believable. I particularly appreciate her matter-of-fact view of marriage: she has her part of the house, her husband has his, and they occasionally meet for meals. I look forward to reading the sequels.
May 15, 2007 Laura rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: genre
I kept forgetting that this book wasn't written in the 1920s. Brilliant evocation of the post-World War I period in England. The characterizations are more absorbing than the mystery plot itself, but the conclusion is surprisingly moving.
Dec 13, 2009 CLM rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to CLM by: Kate
I enjoy this time frame and setting but would have liked the book better had Dandy been less dim and bumbling.
Jul 17, 2011 Andrea rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found this book at the library, decided to give it a try, and was smitten! It's charming and witty, and lightly suspenseful. If you're looking for light mystery reading, give it a try!
Elizabeth (Miss Eliza)
*Special Content only on my blog, Strange and Random Happenstance during Golden Summer (May-September 2013)

Dandy Gilver has never thought that she might be a detective. Yet that's exactly what her friend Daisy is begging of her. Their mutual "friend" Lena Duffy claims that her very expensive diamonds were stolen at Daisy's estate after Daisy's grand Armistice Ball. It has taken awhile for the "crime" to come to light because they were replaced with paste and it wasn't until a jeweller pointed th
After the Armistice Ball by Catriona McPherson is the first book of the Dandy Gilver mystery series set in 1920s Scotland. Dandelion “Dandy” and her husband Hugh Gilver reside at Gilverton, Hugh’s family estate in Perthshire. It’s 1923, the Great War is over and Dandy is bored. Her friend Daisy Esselmont needs help with an awkward situation: it seems the famous Duffy Diamonds went missing while the obnoxious dowager Lena Duffy was a guest at Daisy and Silas’ country house, Croys. Dandy agrees to ...more
Jun 05, 2012 Anne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Ann Dwyer
I quite dug my first experience with Catriona McPherson’s dry detective, Dandy Gilver, with her disarming candor and her mild grumpiness, and I’m looking forward to the rest of the series. After The Armistice Ball is a solid little detective story with enough reasonable twists to keep me engaged and an authentic enough ring that I wasn’t jarred out of her world by anachronisms. (I’m no expert on the British interwar years, but nothing glaringly modern leapt out at me: more astute readers, pleas ...more
Jenn Ravey
Dandy Gilver is just a touch bored. Her husband is obsessed with drains on the Gilverton estate, her sons are off at school, and her maid Grant is far too concerned with fashion. When her friend Daisy asks for help, Dandy (short for Dandelion) jumps at the chance. Daisy's husband is in insurance, and the Duffy family wants to cash in a claim...for the missing family diamonds. The only problem is Mrs. Duffy's story about the diamonds doesn't ring true, and the premium payment hasn't been met. Whe ...more
Jun 06, 2013 Spuddie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Historical mystery, first in a series featuring one Dandelion "Dandy" Gilver, set in post WWI 1920's England. Dandy, essentially a bored, Lady, I guess...takes to sleuthing more as an amusement than anything. She's looking into the disappearance of some famous diamonds that were reported to have been stolen at the Duffy family's Armistice Ball. But it's not long before death enters the picture--Cara Duffy, the young woman who was last known to have possession of the diamonds, ends ...more
Nina Jon
A friend of mine recommended this series. She loves it and has all the books. The leading lady – Dandy Gilver is married to in the background Hugh and lives a fairly privileged 1920’s life. She's a cross between Daisy Dalrymple and Lady Cora from Downton. Everything is seen from her perspective and is written with a great sense of the time it is set in.
Despite her position, she's a down to earth lady, with a keen sense of humour and more forward than one might expect. Nosiness and boredom start
Sherry Mackay
I felt a bit left out with this book; as though someone had ripped off the first chapter. I find this quite a bit lately- it seems authors leap into a story with much unexplained, and unknown characters whom we are just supposed to know about without being told anything. I am not sure why the point about Dandy the main protagonist having such an awful husband and marriage is so belaboured- perhaps she is going to throw him off in future books?:). I did in the main find this book fairly enjoyable ...more
Cameron Toney
Dandy Gilver. She's off on her first case, tracking down some missing diamonds, but stumbling across a murder along the way.
This book, like all the other Dandy Gilver mysteries that I've read, is better with the atmosphere than with the actual mystery.
The case itself is... fiddly. Lots of information is dumped on us, in increasingly complex patterns, which, even for a serious mystery buff, is hard to unravel.
Also..... why is Dandy hired as a detective? I could never work this out, as she did n
Laura Edwards
A three. Barely. While McPherson is a competent writer there is just something about her style which doesn't appeal to me. Go figure. And I don't really care one way or the other for Dandy. Not a good sign when talking about the main character.

I also guessed the answer to the mystery and the reasons fairly early on. Not to mention, little action takes place until about the last 20-30 pages. Apart from that the story is mostly people talking to each other or mentally considering the aspects of t
Feb 28, 2015 Sharla rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Near the end of this book the main character, Dandelion Gilver (Dandy), makes a statement. “It’s obvious. Think about it for half a minute and you’ll see.” Well, several things are obvious early on in this book. I might not normally enjoy a mystery that seems too easy for me to solve. This one was enjoyable in spite of the obvious. Dandy is a wonderful, strong character and I loved reading about her. There are also enough wrinkles in the plot to keep the pages turning. The big climax scene might ...more
Aug 18, 2016 Donald rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Finding the most recent book in my local library, I went back to the first book, in order to read them in the correct order.
I found this quite hard to get into initially, I can read a book overnight, but this was sending me to sleep after a page or two. It never really got going, I feel, until she hooked up with her dashing sidekick.
The mystery was somewhat convoluted, with red herrings flopping about everywhere, and just when it seemed solved, another theory altogether took over, and it happen
Jun 01, 2014 Ag rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm actually giving this 3.5 stars. A good mystery and a page turner. I enjoy the Dandy character, her real life flaws and she is often not the smartest "detective" but she keeps at it and finally figures most of it out. The writing was sometimes confusing, I had to go back and re-read paragraphs and sometimes the slang and language of the era was not clear. I also wish some the characters could be more fully developed. The twist and turns of the story were also a bit confusing, but overall good ...more
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Who? (Possible spoiler) 14 94 Mar 31, 2017 04:53AM  
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aka Catriona McCloud

Catriona McPherson was born in South Queensferry. After finishing school, she worked in a bank for a short time, before going to university. She studied for an MA in English Language and Linguistics at Edinburgh University, and then gained a job in the local studies department at Edinburgh City Libraries. She left this post after a couple of years, and went back to university t
More about Catriona McPherson...

Other Books in the Series

Dandy Gilver (1 - 10 of 12 books)
  • The Burry Man's Day (Dandy Gilver, #2)
  • Bury Her Deep (Dandy Gilver, #3)
  • The Winter Ground (Dandy Gilver, #4)
  • Dandy Gilver and the Proper Treatment of Bloodstains (Dandy Gilver, #5)
  • Dandy Gilver and an Unsuitable Day for a Murder (Dandy Gilver, #6)
  • Dandy Gilver and a Bothersome Number of Corpses (Dandy Gilver, #7)
  • Dandy Gilver & A Deadly Measure of Brimstone (Dandy Gilver #8)
  • Dandy Gilver and The Reek of Red Herrings (Dandy Gilver, #9)
  • Dandy Gilver and the Unpleasantness in the Ballroom (Dandy Gilver, #10)
  • Dandy Gilver and a Most Misleading Habit

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“Birth, death . . .?’ ‘And nappies, madam. Things men don’t do.” 5 likes
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