Wednesday, September 14, 2016

She Shall Have Murder: Delano Ames


This light mystery was fun and another look at a sleuthing couple. (Last week's post was on Fast Company with a husband and wife sleuthing team who are rare book dealers.) In this book, Dagobert Brown is encouraging his fiancé, Jane Hamish, to write a mystery novel using the lawyer's office she works in as background. This is his new passion. As Jane says,
It has not occurred to Dagobert to write this himself--his style is to conceive great works rather than execute them. He will inspire me, and correct my spelling. In any case his latest hobby is my writing a thriller. 
Unfortunately, after they have spent some time in research for the book, someone connected to the office actually dies. Only Dagobert suspects that it is murder, not an accident.


At first I found Dagobert very annoying, too eccentric, too flip,  a man who was always looking for a job but never finding one. Yet he grew on me as the book moved along and Jane and Dagobert quickly became candidates for my favorite detecting couple in Golden Age fiction. This is the first in a series of 12 books about the pair, and it will be interesting to see how they continue falling into situations with murders to solve. I should note that I read several of the series when I was much younger, and I remember enjoying them. But tastes change, so we shall see.

She Shall Have Murder also provides a very interesting look at post-war life in London with its privations, for example rationing and feeding gas meters with shillings. The characters in the law office are interesting and the plot has enough complexity to keep it interesting. Romances abound in this story but they contribute to the plot and do not take it over.

My husband is from Ohio so I was interested to see that the author, Delano Ames, was born in Mount Vernon, Ohio in 1906. Per the Knox County Historical Society site, Ames "left the United States about 1935 and spent most of the rest of his life in Europe."

There are several other good reviews and overviews of this book:

-----------------------------

Publisher:   Dell, 1949. Orig. pub. 1948.
Length:      224 pages
Format:      Paperback
Series:       Jane and Dagobert Brown
Setting:      London
Genre:       Mystery
Source:      I purchased my copies.



22 comments:

  1. Tracy, I love those covers! This is an author I've not read yet but do have one on the shelf. I'll have to dig it out to read next! I was born in Youngstown OH! Where in OH is your husband from? Wonder why Ames chose to live in Europe not the US?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They are nice covers, Peggy. I love mapbacks, although they are hard to read. Glen was born in Dayton, OH.

      I haven't read anything that says why Ames preferred Europe, but he married his second wife in England, so maybe she wanted to stay there?

      Delete
  2. I love that context for a story, Tracy! And I know exactly what you mean about characters growing on you as a story goes on. That's happened to me as well. Glad you enjoyed this.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A very enjoyable story, Margot. I guess it is to the author's credit that I grew to like Dagobert.

      Delete
  3. Those are lovely covers, Tracy. I like to read an occasional lightweight mystery though my tastes veer towards pace and action. I have not yet read Delano Ames.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This one has more pace and action than you would imagine, Prashant. If you see one of his books, you might like it.

      Delete
  4. Oh, that Dagobert! You have to love him against your better judgement sometimes. :-0


    In my dreams, I stumble across a yard sale where someone is selling boxes of those old "dime" paperbacks for next to nothing. I can never seem to find them. Lovely!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have those kind of dreams too, Debbie. Know of those around here either.

      Delete
  5. I think I've read three of his books and I agree with you, they are a great sleuthing couple, bickering just as a married couple should! Sadly his books don't often turn up at secondhand bookshops.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. His books are scarce here too, Katrina. I haven't found them often at sales or book stores. But I keep looking.

      Delete
  6. I've read a few Ames books (wildly out of order, tut!)and always enjoy them - it sounds as though this is not easy to get hold of which is a shame. I should start at the beginning - the happy couple are married in the ones I've read.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I liked the group in the law office, Moira, a bunch of characters. And Jane is a great narrator. I hope the rest are as much fun.

      Delete
  7. Tracy, I ADORE this series. Just discovered it within the last couple of years and have read as many as I can find. My favorite is CORPSE DIPLOMATIQUE, but I liked SHE SHALL HAVE MURDER very much as well since it was the first one I read. I love how Dagobert tries so hard to avoid work. HA!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am looking forward to more of this series, Yvette. I do have a copy of CORPSE DIPLOMATIQUE. Dagobert and Jane are a perfect match.

      Delete
  8. Very glad to see Ames featured here! I love Dagobert (both the name and the guy) and Jane (she's ACES!) and I think I have the whole series - in varying degrees of dilapidation, both PB and HB forms. One or two of the HB might even have tatters left of their dust covers. I treasure them, and have to re-read them every few years. Real treats. Thanks for reminding me - it's time to start another re-read!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lucky you, to have the whole series, Terry. I have four more of the Dagobert and Jane series and one Juan Llorca mystery. Then I will have to start searching for copies of other book by Ames.

      Delete
  9. This does sound like fun, Tracy. I'm easing back to the Golden Age mysteries. Just received The Hanging Judge, by Bruce Hamilton, which I ordered after reading John Norris's review last week. Read the prologue at lunch today. Best opening of a mystery novel I can remember ever reading. We Shall Have Murder is now going on my list!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Bruce Hamilton was entirely new to me when I read John's review, Mathew. Sounds interesting and I should look into his books. Especially since you are liking it. I like to read a lot of older mysteries, but the quality varies, just like in contemporary mysteries. So I am always happy to find an author that I like.

      Delete
  10. Read one of them, which is over my quota. Not an author I'll be returning to.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I remember that you read one of these, and I was surprised. You did not hate it too much, but I can understand why you won't be pursuing more. I have lots of authors I don't plan to try simply because I just can't get all the books I have read.

      Delete
  11. Never heard of this writer before now. I have to see if I can find this. I'd love to read a good mystery feat. husband and wife sleuthing team. --Keishon

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It seems that I heard that some of these had come out in e-book format fairly recently, Keishon, but I haven't run into any.

      Delete