Review by Publisher's Weekly Review
At the start of MacRae's enjoyable third Highland Bookshop mystery (after 2018's Scones and Scoundrels), American expat Janet Marsh, one of the four proprietors of Yon Bonnie Books in Inversgail, Scotland, is riding her bicycle in the hills when she spots a body lying next to a damaged bicycle. Malcolm Murray, a retired doctor, appears to have had a fatal accident. Or was it foul play? A few days later, a box of first editions arrives mysteriously at Yon Bonnie with a note asking that the books be looked after. Janet and her colleagues have a hunch the books belonged to Malcolm or maybe his brother, Gerald. The stakes rise when Janet and company find Gerald stabbed to death in his cottage. The plot, which includes mistaken identities and numerous red herrings, unfolds slowly at first, but steadily gains momentum as it heads toward the satisfying ending. Well-drawn characters enhance the story line. Armchair travelers will have fun. Agent: Cynthia Manson, Cynthia Manson Literary. (Jan.)
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Review by Kirkus Book Review
A box full of old books may hold the secret to a mysterious death in a small Scottish town.American-born Janet Marsh and Scottish-born former social worker Christine Robertson have moved from Illinois to open a book shop, bakery, and BB in the lovely coastal town of Inversgail, where Janet had spent many vacations before her divorce. Joining them is Janet's daughter, Tallie, and Tallie's friend Summer Jacobs, whose purview is food and lodging. Janet, returning to biking after many years, is determined to finish the Haggis Half-Hundred. While she's out for a ride, she discovers a body in a stream. This is the third corpse she's discovered (Scones and Scoundrels, 2018, etc.), so she knows to call Constable Norman Hobbs to the scene. Her self-satisfied neighbor, bestselling author Ian Atkinson, identifies the dead man as Dr. Murray, a retired general practitioner whose sister, Florrie, lives with him and whose brother, Gerald, lives nearby. A visit to Florrie finds her vague and not very upset about her brother's demise. The Road Policing Unit in charge of the investigation is not at all interested in the amateur sleuths' input, and Hobbs, who does listen to their ideas, claims to know little of the investigation. Returning to Yon Bonnie Books after another bike ride, Janet finds a box at the front door with a note asking her to look after the books inside. Seeing that most of them are old and well-used, and suspecting that some may be valuable, Janet puzzles over who left them and wonders whether they could have belonged to Dr. Murray. When Janet and Christine visit Gerald Murray's home, their discovery of him dead in a pool of blood only encourages them to delve deeper into past and present motives for murder.This slow-paced look at a Scottish backwater is best for those who eschew action in favor of cerebration. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.