Monday, May 21, 2018

Plaid and Plagiarism: The Highland Bookshop Mystery Series, Book 1 by Molly MacRae

I had high hopes for this mystery series, but unfortunately I was disappointed. 

Set in the Scottish town of Inversgail, four women have purchased the local bookstore Yon Bonnie Books, with additional plans to open a tea shop next door, and have rooms upstairs for overnight guests.  Janet and her daughter, Tallie, have moved from Illinois. Janet's tie to Inversgail is a vacation home she and her now ex-husband bought and used for years before their divorce. It will now be Janet's permanent home. Janet's friend Christine, and Tallie's friend Summer have also moved to Inversgail to help run the tea shop and bookstore.  It's a fresh start for all the women--but murder and mayhem quickly make an appearance. 

The local advice columnist and reporter is found murdered in the shed behind Janet's home. An unpleasant woman, Una is the local font of all gossip, and sticks her nose in everyone's business, while remaining secretive about hers. There are a number of suspects in Una's death. But who had the biggest motive?

I completely expected to fall in love with this series, the characters, the town, and, of course, the bookstore. I didn't.  The story felt clunky; the supporting cast of characters felt one dimensional; Janet--who I thought for sure I'd love, given her previous job as a librarian and lover of all things books--well, Janet and Christine, along with Tallie and Summer, felt wooden to me. I didn't get the vibe of a warm, long friendship with Janet and Christine. Usually when I read a cozy mystery, the author spends some time building up the characters, and the setting, inviting you in to stay awhile. I didn't get that from this mystery. I always felt like I was missing part of the story.  

There is a second book in the series: Scones and Scoundrels,which takes place four months after Plaid and Plagiarism.  I may read it, and see if I change my mind. The person I suspected as the murderer was correct; the motive behind Una's murder was the only interesting part of the plot. But otherwise, I felt like I had to wade through a lot of disjointed story before I got to the big reveal. 

Rating: 2/6 for a mystery that could have been so much more.  I felt completely disconnected to the four main characters; the town didn't feel very cozy, and overall, the mystery just wasn't that interesting. 

Available in hardcover, paperback, and ebook. 

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