A Dagger Before Me by Jeanne M. Dams

Dorothy and Alan have been asked by Edwin Montcalm to be the godparents to his son Joseph. Before the christening can take place, an all important ceremonial dagger is found to be missing.When a stranger in the village is stabbed with a dagger, Edwin falls under suspicion. becomes the chief suspect. 

I have read several of the Mrs. Martin series and have generally enjoyed them…until now.  We’re told by the author that we can skip the first nine chapters…and we should listen to her. These chapters slowly unfold with details of swan-upping, monarch handwashers, Julie Andrews Day, stately houses, ceremonies at the Tower of London, the Lord Mayors procession, American versus British history, etc., etc., etc. 

Taking all of that into account, the remaining two-thirds of the book continues on a rather convoluted path. Long-lost mothers, gardeners descended from impoverished aristocrats, archaic inheritance laws of Britain. The fact that a woman was murdered seems of no importance in contrast to the dagger and who the inherits the estate. Dorothy and Alan have little to do with the solving of the mystery The solution to the murder and the reveal are something of an anticlimax. 

While I did not myself enjoy the telling of the story, all of the travelogue, ceremonial, and historical information that was provided was fascinating. I would have enjoyed just seeing an expansion of that…without the mystery. 

My thanks to NetGalley and Severn House for the advance reader copy made available for my review.

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