Dead in the Water (Daisy Dalrymple Mysteries, No. 6)

Dead In The Water  - Carola Dunn 3.5-4 starsI'm holding back a bit on my rating, because there were SO MANY PEOPLE in this book, it was difficult to keep everyone straight. Which made figuring out who did what more difficult, too. But I enjoyed continuing to see Daisy and Alec (Detective Chief Inspector Fletcher) interact both personally and professionally during the story.Daisy is now writing for an American magazine, and they want her to cover the Henley Royal Regatta, which includes rowing races. Daisy even has an invite to meet HRH Prince Harry (no, not the current Prince Harry, this is 1923, remember) at a reception. Daisy will bunk in at her aunt's house (her mother's sister), Aunt Cynthia. The rowing crew from Ambrose College at Oxford is also staying at Aunt Cynthia's, as well as Dottie Carrick, Daisy's cousin Tish (Patricia's) college friend. The Ambrose rowing crew will row in the 8-man with a cox and the 4-man without a cox. Tish's boyfriend, Rollo Frieth, is the team's captain, and her cousin (not Daisy's cousin) is Cherry (Erasmus) Cherrington, also on the team. Alec is expected to join Daisy for the weekend, although he'll bunk in at a local inn.But when Daisy meets the Ambrose team, she quickly finds that there are mounting tensions between Horace Bott and Basil DeLancey. Bott is the son of a shopkeeper and a scholarship student at Oxford; he's intelligent, but he's got a big chip on his shoulder. Seems Bott is excluded from much of the camaraderie and socialization of the college because he's not a gentleman. DeLancey is the youngest son of an earl, and he, especially, likes to make Bott's life hell. Daisy even thinks to herself after witnessing DeLancey push Bott into the river (Bott can't swim), that the two are likely to murder each other if something isn't done to stop them.DeLancey goads Bott into drinking too much the night before the big 8-man race, and Bott disgraces himself and his team by becoming violently ill during the race. The Ambrose 8 don't even cross the finish line, which causes DeLancey to cause a public row. His brother, the earl, Cedrick DeLancey breaks up the ruckus and forces Basil to apologize to his team, but he manages not to apologize to Bott, who's already stamped off after threatening DeLancey. Cedrick, it seems, is anxious about bad publicity; seems Ceddie was in WWI and panicked, leading his men from behind into a massacre from which there were only 3 survivors, Ceddie included. Because he was an earl's son, it was hushed up, but Cedrick lives in fear that his actions will be revealed, bringing down loads of scandal and reproach upon him and his family. But even Cedrick can't seem to rein in his younger, bratty brother Basil.Basil decides he's going to guard the 4-men skiff, thinking that Bott will sabotage it that night. No one believes that Bott will harm the skiff, but they wonder about him harming Basil. When Basil stumbles into the room that Daisy shares with Trish, he seems drunk - confused, stumbling, and staggering. Trish is terrified that Basil is trying to seduce or accost her - he's made several passes - and she's almost useless. Daisy, however, sends Trish off to get Basil's roommate to help bring him to bed.The next morning, Basil seems to be fine, despite a headache, and he even eats a large breakfast. But during the race, Basil becomes violently ill and falls out of the skiff into the water - dead. So much for Daisy and Alec's weekend plans! Because of the many jurisdictions and the river, Alec is assigned the task as Scotland Yard and being on the spot. But when they discover that Basil didn't drown and wasn't drunk, everyone is confused. Until the coroner confirms that Basil has a lump on each side of his head - he died from an internal hemorrhage, bleeding on the brain.WHO killed Basil DeLancey? Horace Bott seems the lead suspect, but Alec can't seem to rule out any of the rest of the Ambrose team or even Cedrick DeLancey, Basil's brother. When Cherry, Alec, and Daisy are out for an early morning row, they come upon a skirmish on Temple Island... shots are fired, and they discover Horace Bott face-down in the river, with a gunshot wound grazing his temple. But who shot Horace? The likely suspect is Cedrick DeLancey, because Daisy managed to see the back of the other person on Temple Island row towards and get out at the stop where he's staying. But was it Cedrick?-----------------------When the action started going, it was non-stop. But there were so many other possible angles, I wasn't satisfied with the results. I especially wasn't happy with Daisy, who managed to get a confession from the person who actually hit Basil - not meaning to kill him, but purely in self-defense. However, Daisy withholds the information, since so many other serious crimes and offenses have occurred... she doesn't tell Alec until the very last pages of the book, and poses it as a hypothetical situation. To which Alec tells her he doesn't want to know. Huh? I suppose there's nothing to be gained, but still... that disappointed me. Both that Daisy protected the party and withheld the information from Alec for so long, and Alec's reaction to it.I also wonder at the many times that Alec is so exasperated with Daisy. He's constantly thinking to himself that he can't control her actions, which to some extent I understand, since she does rather force her way into situations that can be dangerous. And she is rather nosy, and people do tend to tell her things. But it makes me wonder how they'll get along once they are married - or if they can survive the engagement? Alec knows who Daisy is, so he should be able to accept her, right? And Daisy realizes that Alec isn't always just trying to hold her back, but that he is the voice of reason when she tends to rush into danger. There should be *some* change or compromise between them, or they'll never make it.Which is why I can't give this book a 4-star rating. Sorry!