Monday, February 22, 2021

The Deadly Mystery of the Missing Diamonds by T.E. Kinsey

First Line: May 1925. Singer Mickey Kent announced the Charleston, and the gentlemen of the Aristippus Club and their lady guests whooped their approval.
The members of the jazz band Dizzy Heights keep busy playing the Charleston for flappers and toffs, but they become even busier when Superintendent Sunderland asks them to do a little spying for him. It seems that a deserter who stole a fortune in diamonds as he fled from serving in World War I is a member of the Aristippus Club in Mayfair, and a mutual acquaintance, Lady Hardcastle, believes the two founders of Dizzy Heights, "Skins" Maloney and "Barty" Dunn are perfectly placed to do a little snooping for the policeman.
With Skins' wife Ellie helping them, they begin to narrow their search for the thief, but a death at the club has their investigation taking a sinister turn. Are they going to be able to find the diamonds and unmask a murderer before a widely publicized dance contest is held?
I have long been a fan of T.E. Kinsey's humorous Lady Hardcastle historical mystery series, so when I found out that he was branching out, I jumped at the chance to read The Deadly Mystery of the Missing Diamonds. While I didn't find it quite as much fun as following Lady Hardcastle and her redoubtable maid Florence Armstrong on their adventures, the potential is certainly there, and I look forward to reading the next book in the series.

The strongest parts of this first Dizzy Heights mystery are its setting in Jazz Age London when people are still reeling from the slaughter of World War I and its superb mystery that kept me guessing every step of the way.

There are three main characters in The Deadly Mystery of the Missing Diamonds. We're first introduced to Skins Maloney's American heiress wife, Ellie, by her letters written to Florence Armstrong while Ellie was a nurse during the war. Ellie first met Skins in 1910 when he was in a band playing ragtime, and when they eventually married, the executors of her father's will invoked the "gold diggers" clause to prevent Skins from running off with all Ellie's money. They are truly in love, have a wonderful family life, and really don't care that they have to wait until their tenth wedding anniversary to come into Ellie's inheritance. Barty Dunn, on the other hand, is the quintessential single man-about-town who can't settle down and lives in a flat with a doting landlady and an old prune next-door who makes it her life's ambition to get him thrown in jail.

Part of the humor in this Dizzy Heights mystery concerns Ellie being from across the pond, and I laughed when I read this line: "I asked Cook to get corn on the cob but apparently the greengrocer looked at her like she was asking for mermaid tears collected in a unicorn horn." The differences between our two cultures are always good for a laugh, and although I didn't feel that the dialogue sparkled as much as it can (and does) in a Lady Hardcastle mystery, I know that Skins, Ellie, and Barty haven't quite hit their stride-- and I'm looking forward to the time when they do.

The Deadly Mystery of the Missing Diamonds by T.E. Kinsey
eISBN: 9781542020787
Thomas & Mercer © 2021
eBook, 330 pages

Historical Mystery, #1 Dizzy Heights mystery
Rating: B+
Source: Purchased from Amazon.


  1. So glad you liked this one, Cathy! You had me at the jazz context and the solid mystery. I do like a story with some wit in it, too. I always respect an author who can branch out into a new series (or multiple series) and do a great job with all of them.

  2. Ah, this sounds like fun. I wasn't familiar with this series, but I like the sound of the characters!

    1. The author has created a very interesting cast.


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