9 July 2022


  • this edition from Amazon on Kindle
  • ASIN ‏ : ‎ B08N5D4G7Q
  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Joffe Books crime thriller and mystery (November 9, 2020)
  • Originally published 1999
  • Print length ‏ : ‎ 178 pages
  • Dorothy Martin Mysteries, No. 5

Synopsis (Amazon)

Dorothy Martin's wedded bliss could only be improved if her husband didn't have to go gallivanting all over the world, advising local police on new procedure. Dorothy's life could only be improved if she didn't keep stumbling across the recently-and criminally-deceased.

Dorothy Martin of eccentric hat fame finds another dead body in this fifth installment in Dams's successful series (Death in Lacquer Red, etc.). Sixty-something Dorothy, an American who recently married British police officer Alan Nesbitt, resides in the cathedral town of Sherebury. With Alan on business in Africa, Dorothy travels to London only to find that the young American businessman with whom she had chatted earlier has died somewhere along the trip to Victoria Station. When the death is not reported in the papers, Dorothy becomes suspicious, and with the help of Sherebury's resident computer whiz Nigel Evans, she discovers that the young man was the CEO of a rising software company. Dorothy infiltrates the company's London office as a temporary secretary and begins hunting about for the truth. Her tenure in the corporate office flushes out several suspects and coincides with another murder. Dams has always provided clever tales, and Dorothy is quickly becoming popular among mystery fans. Once again, however, there are a few blemishes in an otherwise amiable story. Dorothy's London friends, Americans Tom and Lynn Anderson, are a little too understanding; and Dorothy is yet another cloyingly spry senior citizen. Although the finale is not especially surprising, it is gratifying. (Sept.) FYI: Dams received the Agatha Award for her first Dorothy Martin mystery, The Body in the Transept. 

My Take

This novel is set about 4 months or so after the last MALICE IN MINIATURE. At the end of that novel Dorothy broke her leg and this novel begins with her travelling to London on the train for her last appointment with her Harley St. specialist.

On this journey she chats to a young American business man. As she is about to get off the train at Victoria Station she discovers that the young man has died after drinking a cup of train coffee. Dorothy is anxious to get to her appointment in Harley Street, and a doctor who comes along assures her the man is dead, that he will take care of getting the police, and that she should go. Dorothy is puzzled by the fact that there is no report of the death in the papers, and is assured by the police that no-one has died on the train. Dorothy is convinced that a young man had died, and eventually finds out who he was.

This leads to a most fanciful scenario where Dorothy gets herself a job in the office the young man had been heading to. She gets a computer expert and her London friends to help her in identifying the murderer, searching the offices etc, and eventually sewing the case up.

A really unlikely story with some parts that keep you reading just to find out how everything hangs together. First written in 1999, I thought Dams spent far too much of the book showing us how much she knew about computers and their software. In addition, Dorothy's new husband Alan was again conveniently away. Had he been at home, this investigation would never have got off the ground.

I might not be reading another in this series for a while.

My rating: 4.0

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