The Deadly Mystery of the Missing Diamonds
reviewed by Pam Guynn
The Deadly Mystery of the Missing Diamonds by T. E. Kinsey brings to life 1925 London. The country is recovering from the war and escapism from the devastation comes with jazz music, dancing, and excellent company. This is the first book in the Dizzy Heights Mystery series and is a spin-off series from the Lady Hardcastle Mystery series.
Dizzy Heights is a jazz band featuring Ivor ‘Dizzy’ Maloney (drummer) and Bartholomew ‘Barty’ Dunn (double bass) along with the brass section, banjo player, and speaking trumpet. It is believed that a deserter stole a fortune in diamonds while in France during the war. He is now believed to be a member of the Aristippus Club where the band plays. When Superintendent Sunderland of Scotland Yard asks for their help, Dizzy and Barty agree. They also enlist the help of Dizzy’s wife Ellie and the other band members. Will it really be that easy for amateurs to find the deserter and prevent more crimes? Who is the cunning criminal?
The main characters of Dizzy, Barty, and Ellie were likeable and unusual. Their repartee elevated the level of the book and gave this reader a fun laugh-out-loud moments, but there were a few too many puns. This supporting cast had varying degrees of depth, but provided balance and contrast to the main characters. Additionally, protagonists from this author’s other series, Lady Hardcastle and Flo Armstrong, make a short cameo appearance.
The author brings a strong sense of time and place and easily transported this reader to post-war London. Adding to that, the cultural aspects made reading this book an immersive experience and felt authentic. I easily pictured the club, the band, and saw the Charleston being danced. Friendship is at the heart of this novel and Kinsey brings it to life. Besides the diamond theft, other themes included murder, desertion, conscientious objection, how women were treated and what was starting to change. My one quibble is that the pace was a little slow in places.
Overall, this was a light, fun, and entertaining historical cozy mystery. Jazz band members as amateur sleuths was a unique and enjoyable approach. Reading this novel made me want to read the Lady Hardcastle mystery series as well as the next novel featuring the Dizzy Heights. The author’s note has several interesting tidbits of information that are worth reading. Those that like historical cozy mysteries will likely enjoy this spin-off series.
This is my honest review. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own and are not biased in any way.