Friday, December 18, 2009

The Body in the Transept by Jeanne M. Dams

Title: The Body in the Transept
Author: Jeanne M. Dams
ISBN: 0061011339, Harper Mystery, 1996
Genre: Amateur Sleuth, #1 Dorothy Martin mystery
Rating: C+

First Line: I was struggling against more than wind and rain that night as I battled through the Cathedral Close, but I blamed my mood on the weather.

American Dorothy Martin and her academic husband, Frank, had planned to retire to the cathedral/ university town of Sherebury, England. Unfortunately Frank died, and Dorothy made the move on her own. Still a new widow and a bit wobbly about being on her own, Dorothy is making steady progress at making friends and becoming a member of the community. Shortly after the Christmas Eve service in the cathedral, Dorothy literally stumbles over the body of Canon Billings, an argumentative man who had many more enemies than friends. Her discovery of the body makes Dorothy feel a sense of responsibility in helping discover the identity of Billings's killer. Little does she know that she's putting herself in harm's way.

Dorothy is a round little woman in her sixties who has a penchant for colorful, over-the-top hats:

I made for it like a homing pigeon, and five minutes out of Victoria I was asleep. I would have slept right past my station if the guard hadn't remembered my hat from the morning and wakened me. There are some advantages to being conspicuous.

I enjoyed the depiction of her life in a new town and a new country, as any Anglophile would who's harbored daydreams of moving to England. The Body in the Transept is a pleasant cozy mystery, but it's really not very memorable for me. Nothing like damning a book with faint praise, is there? As in everything else, reading mileage varies greatly from book to book and from reader to reader. If you do enjoy cozies about an older American lady living in England, by all means give this book a try. Even though it wasn't my cup of tea, it may very well be yours.

[Source: Paperback Swap.]


  1. Well, I'm a round little woman in my sixties who would love to live in England so I might give this one a try. (No penchant for over-the-top hats but I do love to wear baseball caps.)

  2. Margot-- I hope you enjoy it! (And you're not alone in being round.) :)


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