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The Winter Ground by Catriona McPherson
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Synopsis:
Times are hard for a struggling family circus in the long, cold winter of 1925. Pa and Ma Cooke are more than happy to accept the offer of free winter standing on the remote Blackcraig estate in Perthshire in return for a few shows to the Wilson family around Christmastime. Wealthy but brash Albert Wilson is excited to find himself the center of a circle of bright young women who are agog for the circus and ready to endure his company to view a free show. With the threat of revolution blowing in from the east on the icy gales, Hugh Gilver is less pleased to see the troupe Prebrezhensky ensconced in the valley, but the Gilver boys cannot get enough of Tiny Truman the midget and Andrew Merryman the giant, not to mention the mysterious and beautiful barebacked rider Anastasia. When Ma Cooke asks for Dandy’s help to get to the bottom of a string of spiteful tricks at the winter ground, Hugh gives his approval. But the fun runs out when the silly tricks take a darker turn, leaving one of the performers dead and the Cooke, Wilson, and Gilver families fractured amid whispers of murder. ( )
  KateBaxter | Apr 29, 2015 |
This is the fourth 1920s-set Dandy Gilver mystery (not the third, as Amazon would have it), and the series is unfortunately falling prey to the law of diminishing returns. The first was excellent, the second okay; the third was pretty meh, and this one isn't much better. The story's dull and muddled and so, to be brutally honest, is Dandy's detective work. There's one more in the series and I'll probably read that but, if there's no improvement, after that I shan't bother. ( )
  phoebesmum | May 11, 2010 |
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For my mother-in-law, Nan McRoberts,

with love
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Twelve black horses spanned the ring, nodding and snorting, six to either side, with their master a splash of blood red and ink black at the center where the whip kept cracking. (Prologue)
Twice a year, for a week or so, for half an hour each day, it is easy to feel glad to be in Perthshire.
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Book description
Times are hard for a struggling family circus in the long, cold winter of 1925. Pa and Ma Cooke are more than happy to accept the offer of free winter standing on the remote Blackcraig estate in Perthshire in return for a few shows to the Wilson family around Christmastime. Wealthy but brash Albert Wilson is excited to find himself the center of a circle of bright young women who are agog for the circus and ready to endure his company to view a free show. With the threat of revolution blowing in from the east on the icy gales, Hugh Gilver is less pleased to see the troupe Prebrezhensky ensconced in the valley, but the Gilver boys cannot get enough of Tiny Truman the midget and Andrew Merryman the giant, not to mention the mysterious and beautiful barebacked rider Anastasia. When Ma Cooke asks for Dandy’s help to get to the bottom of a string of spiteful tricks at the winter ground, Hugh gives his approval. But the fun runs out when the silly tricks take a darker turn, leaving one of the performers dead and the Cooke, Wilson, and Gilver families fractured amid whispers of murder.
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CRIME & MYSTERY. Times are hard for a struggling family circus in the long, cold winter of 1925. With their sons off in America and the last of their big cats long gone, Pa and Ma Cooke are more than happy to accept the offer of free winter standing on the remote Blackcraig estate in Perthshire in return for a few shows to the Wilson family around Christmastime. Wealthy but brash Albert Wilson is cock-a-hoop, agog for the circus. With the threat of revolution blowing in from the east on the icy gales, Hugh Gilver is less pleased to see the troupe Prebrezhensky ensconced in the valley but the Gilver boys, especially, cannot get enough of Tiny Truman the midget, Andrew Merryman the giant, not to mention the mysterious and beautiful Anastasia, bare-back rider and troublemaker combined. But the fun runs out when the silly tricks take a darker turn, leaving one of the performers dead and the Cooke, Wilson and Gilver families fractured amid whispers of murder.… (more)

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