Book Review: Requiem for a Mezzo by Carola Dunn (A Daisy Dalrymple Mystery, 3)

Requiem for a Mezzo is a novel in the Daisy Dalrymple mystery series by Carola Dunn. The book was first published in 1996 and is the third book in the series.

The story follows Daisy Dalrymple, a freelance writer, as she travels to the countryside to cover a performance of Handel’s “Messiah” by the Castringham Choir. However, her plans are interrupted when the choir’s leading soprano, Hilda Pierce, is found dead in her dressing room just before the performance.

Daisy becomes involved in the investigation when the police suspect the choir’s conductor, Jonathan Anstruther, of the murder. As Daisy starts to delve into the lives of the choir members, she discovers that there are several possible suspects, including Hilda’s rival, the mezzo-soprano, and a mysterious stranger who has been lurking around the choir.

As Daisy works to uncover the truth, she finds herself drawn to Anstruther, despite her reservations about his character. Along the way, she must navigate the complicated relationships and secrets of the choir members to solve the case.

One of the strengths of the novel is the cast of characters. The members of the Castringham Choir are a diverse group, and each has their own motives and secrets, making them all potential suspects in the murder investigation. Dunn does an excellent job of developing each character, providing just enough detail to make them distinct and interesting without overwhelming the reader with unnecessary information.

The plot is equally well-constructed. The murder of the leading soprano Hilda Pierce, just before a performance of “Messiah,” is a classic whodunit premise that allows Dunn to build tension and suspense as Daisy delves deeper into the lives of the choir members. The mystery is layered with a number of subplots, including a romantic interest for Daisy and a suspicious stranger who seems to be lurking around the choir, adding further intrigue to the story.

The novel’s setting, the picturesque English countryside, also plays a significant role in the story. Dunn’s descriptions of the area’s scenery, architecture, and traditions are vivid and transportive, creating a rich backdrop for the unfolding drama.

Requiem for a Mezzo is a classic whodunit that will keep readers guessing until the very end. With its well-drawn characters and charming setting, the book is a delightful addition to the Daisy Dalrymple series. You can get a copy of the book from Amazon here.


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