Friday, December 12, 2014

Drinks with Reads: Dandy and The Blood Orange Negroni

Kerry Hammond is here for Drinks with Reads and she matches Catriona McPherson's book, Dandy Gilver and the Proper Treatment of Blood Stains with the Blood Orange Negroni. Yum. 

The Dandy Gilver series, which consists of 9 books so far, takes place in Scotland circa the late 1920s. Dandy, Dandelion, Gilver is a proper aristocrat, and at the same time, a private detective. She has a husband, two boys, and a household to manage. She also dabbles in detective work, and has made quite a name for herself in the right circles. 

In book 5, Dandy Gilver and the Proper Treatment of Bloodstains, Dandy receives a letter from Lollie Balfour, asking for her help, and her detecting skills. Mrs. Balfour believes her husband is going to kill her. To make matters stickier, when she leaves the house, she believes she is followed. Since she is unable to visit Dandy to discuss her situation, she requests that Dandy come to her. In order to disguise her visit, Dandy is to show up as one of the interviewees for the new lady’s maid position. This need to go undercover Her is quite unusual and something Dandy worries she won’t be able to pull off. 

She dresses the part, meets with Mrs. Balfour, and decides that she must take the case. In order to help her new client, she must keep up the character she has created, and live that the house as Mrs. Balfour’s new maid, Fanny Rossiter. Fooling the butler for a few minutes as she is escorted into her interview is one thing, but now she will need to fool an entire household staff and make them think she’s one of them. Dandy’s own maid, Grant, teaches her what she can and Dandy sets off to become the newest addition to the Balfour staff at 31 Heriot Row, Edinburgh.

While on the job, Dandy’s reasons for being there take a sudden turn, and she finds herself helping the police investigate a murder. The miners’ strike that has brought Scotland to a halt makes her job that much harder, but it allows her to pull her partner in detection, Alec Osborne, into the investigation. She is able to use the strike to come up with a suitable explanation for his appearance on the scene.

I think this is one of my favorite Dandy books so far. I loved watching her take on the disguise of lady’s maid and try to change her speech and mannerisms to fit in with the staff. The solution of the crime eluded me until the very end, as it always does, which is the sign of a well-written mystery. McPherson is a master storyteller and the characters she creates are always colorful and multi-layered. I look forward to each and every Dandy story, I just hope she can write them as fast as I can read them.

I decided that if Dandy was dealing with the proper treatment of bloodstains, I would deal with a proper drink to go with bloodstains. I came up with the following:

Blood Orange Negroni
1 ounce SKYY Infusions Blood Orange Vodka
1/2 ounce Campari
1/2 ounce Sweet Vermouth
2 ounces Club Soda
Orange Slice Garnish

Fill a highball glass two-thirds full with ice. Add liquids to glass in order given (stir slighty, after you the vermouth), topping with club soda last. Garnish with an orange slice.

You can read Catriona McPherson's Drinks with Reads posts here and here.


  1. I love blood oranges - every time I see them called ruby red oranges it makes me grind my teeth, though!

  2. This book sounds great. The drink very good, I agree with Catronia - I love blood oranges as well.