Happy Saint Patties Day to you, lads and lassies! CeeCee and I hope you’re all having a most bonnie day! To make it even bonnie-er (is that a word?), we bring you some picks from our Celtic-themed reading list!
The gist: In keeping with tradition of her international travels, JB Fletcher happens across a dead body—a murder victim, no less—while enjoying a lovely little bike ride along the rolling hills of the Bushmills. Let’s pause for a moment and reflect. JB is a classy, delightful lady, but she really is the harbinger of death, no? When are people going to wise up and stop inviting her to book festivals and family gatherings? Either way, she’s got a mystery to solve and a web of family drama to untangle involving a big-time business merger and some bad blood with the town doctor. Lots going on here, folks!
What I liked: Well, I’ll be honest. I didn’t like much about this installment, and I think it has something to do with the new writers. What happened to Donald Bain? I will Google that later. This one was just kind of a snooze fest, but I will say that the writers did an OK job maintaining Jessica’s voice and overall classiness.
What irked me: Mysteries involving business deals just don’t hold my interest. I found my mind drifting whenever the dialogue shifted to the family’s cosmetic line and….blah, blah, blah. A lot of intricacies were involved in the merger, and my mind just got lost in space. Just not my cup of tea…or Irish coffee, I should say.
Overall: According to the many rave reviews on Goodreads, this is a fan favorite. I just found it boring and slow moving. It’s lacking the magic and mystique of international travel, and I really wanted more touristy scenes so I could travel vicariously to Ireland—my main bucket list destination! Past MSW books took me to exotic places with colorful taxi drivers, tourist trap shops and delectable restaurants. I guess I’ll just revisit the older books to fill that wanderlust void!
Dressed to Kilt by Hannah Reed
The gist: The third installment in Hannah Reed’s stellar Scottish Highlands Mystery Series, this book revolves around a murder at a whiskey distillery at a grand family estate. Say no more—you had me at whiskey! Our intrepid American sleuth, Eden Elliot, is at it again. This time she must find out who drowned a woman in a vat of whiskey—and why they had to ruin all that good hooch!!! That’s a whole crime all onto itself if you ask me. Either way, our leading lady must solve this mystery before her tourist visa expires. While the clock is ticking, her quest gets even harder when she discovers the head matriarch of the distillery had alternative motives for beckoning her to the fancy whiskey tasting event—and it all ties back to Eden’s estranged father.
What I liked: As always, Hannah Reed delivers a most charming mystery in the gorgeous village of Glenkillen and surrounding countryside estates. Oh how I love Scottish mysteries filled with rolling snow-covered hills and quaint villages. I highly recommend listening to this on audio because the narrator has the best Scottish accent, and the lyrical lilt of the male voices make me think of swoony Jamie from Outlander.Such fun!
Thoughts on the pacing: There is a LOT of intrigue going on here. I couldn’t stop listening until all the clues were uncovered. Why would someone want to off the head matriarch’s sickly, mousey assistant? Who’s leaving her threats? What does this all have to do with Eden’s mysteriously missing father—the man who abandoned her and her dying mother so long ago? And will she ever solve this case and maybe get her smooch on with her love interest before she getting shipped back to America? Will this series continue when she leaves? But she can’t leave because she just adopted an orphaned cat!!! So many questions!
What irked me: I think authors need to get a little more imaginative with their murder victims when they revolve their stories around beer and whiskey joints. Without fail, the body gets found in a vat or barrel. It’s getting a little old, folks. Let’s think outside the box…or barrel, I should say.
Overall: This is a quality series for lovers of Scottish mysteries! It’s always nice to have go-to authors like Hannah Reed, Melinda Mullet and Paige Shelton when you’re in the mood for a Celtic-themed whodunnit!