I love being in on the first of a series, and this book is the first in “A Scotshop Mystery Series”. The heroine/amateur sleuth, Peggy, is a protagonist I want to follow through many adventures solving murders.
At first, I kept thinking, when are we going to find a dead body? as Peggy goes on a buying trip to Scotland to purchase authentic scotch tartan kilts, scarves, and ties for her wee shop, the Scotshop, in the states. Her trip is as much an escape (from finding her “almost fiancee” in her bed with her best friend) as it is her annually scheduled buying trip.
Staying at the bed and breakfast she always uses, owned by Mr. and Mrs. Sinclair, the elderly grandparent-like proprietors who don’t ask nosy questions nor for explanations for her low spirits, the three go on a hike to enjoy the Scottish air and countryside. This is where Peggy meets Macbeth Donleavy Freusach Finlay Macearachar MacPheidiran of Clan Farquharson, who claims his friends call him “Mock-bey-ath” or at least that’s what it sounds like to Peggy. He is one brawny, handsome Scotsman; unfortunately he has been dead since the thirteen hundreds. Only Peggy can see him because she has purchased in a wee shop (which she mysteriously is unable to re-locate) a shawl that belonged to Macbeth’s true love, Peigi. With the assistance of the author’s creative spellings, one can hear the accents and drawn out syllables which are part of our hero’s charm (who is ONE of the book’s heroes and “love interests”; the other is the investigating Captain Harper, new to the local police force and very much alive.)
It is when the Scotsman and Peggy return to the States that they finally (page 89!) find the dead body–Mason, Peggy’s ex (in more ways than one, now) boyfriend…in her shop! (Have you ever noticed that in cozy mysteries, the person who ends up dead is always someone you love to hate?)
This mystery is funny, has a cast of characters you care about, and the solution to the murder is totally unpredictable (but not out of “left field”). There are so many funny moments explaining printed books, why things are called certain words when it doesn’t make any sense at all, automobiles, etc. to Macbeth, whom by now Peggy refers to by a pet name “Dirk” in honor of the huge dagger he carries in his sock/sheath under his kilt (yes, the innuendo is there–one of many clever, sophisticated ones).
The author is a quirky, original, fluid writer who keeps the reader WANTING to read further, not just to solve the murder, but to enjoy the next little cleverly phrased statement or twist in the plot.
I highly recommend this book and the coming series.