The year 1923 finds the Honourable Daisy Dalrymple staying at New York's famed Hotel Chelsea while her inspector husband, Alec, journeys to Washington to advise J. Edgar Hoover. Daisy is occupying her time by writing a series about her travels for a popular New York magazine.

As Daisy pens her articles, she also, inevitably, meets her fellow guests, who include a pair of proper Bostonian ladies, a rather callow young man, and an obnoxious reporter. One day, Daisy explores the city en route to the Flatiron Building where she is to drop off her article. To her surprise, she finds the callow fellow, named Lambert, is following her. Once at the building, she not only finds Lambert with her but the obnoxious reporter as well.

Before she has a chance to confront either, the reporter is shot before her very eyes. She is about to accuse Lambert when she learns he is one of J. Edgar's men, sent to protect her. The one thing this smart, steel-spined aristocrat does not need is protection and, with the hapless Lambert sticking to her like a burr, she sets out to prove it and to solve the crime as well.

The NYC of the jazz age as seen through the eyes of an Englishwoman adds a charm to this standard story of detection. The character of Daisy is always pleasing, but it is the inhabitants of the Chelsea who will captivate readers. (Feb., 256 pp. $23.95)

Reviewed by: 
Toby Bromberg