Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Plaid and Plagiarism: The Highland Bookshop Mystery Series

Thank you for stopping by to read my latest review.  Today I am featuring Molly MacRae.  Molly MacRae wrote A Haunted Yarn Shop Mystery series.  There are four books in the series and they are all enjoyable (fun) to read.  I was so disappointed when the publisher canceled the series (publishers have canceled so many wonderful series since the merger). The four books in A Haunted Yarn Shop Mystery series are Last Wool and Testament, Dyeing Wishes, Spinning in Her Grave, and Plagued by Quilt. If you get a chance, I suggest you check them out (there is a ghost).  

Plaid and Plagiarism by Molly MacRae is the first book The Highland Bookshop Mystery series.   Janet Marsh has just bought Yon Bonnie Books in Inversgail, Scotland along with Christine Robertson (Janet’s best friend), Natalie “Tallie” Marsh (Janet’s daughter), and Summer Jacobs (Tallie’s friend and college roommate).  Janet has been divorced almost five years from Curtis (she calls him The Rat).  The four of them were ready for a change (especially Janet).  They have plans to add a tearoom to be called Cakes and Tales and a B&B above the shop that they will call Bedtime Stories.  Janet is anxious to get settled into her home (she received the house in the divorce settlement), but her estate agent, Jess stated it would be two more days (no other details).  When Janet and Christine go to investigate, they find Jess in the kitchen which is full of garbage (and it reeks).  Jess is less than forthcoming on why the kitchen contains garbage.  The four ladies return that evening to explore the house further (make sure the rest of the house is in good condition).  The check the shed in the garden and find the body of agony aunt, Una Graham with a sickle in her neck.  Una had interviewed them earlier in the day for an article for the Inversgail Guardian.  The four women started their investigation before the constable arrives on the scene.  The four women combine their skills (reporter, librarian, social worker, and lawyer) and delve into their investigation.  Will these amateur sleuths be able to bag the culprit?

I enjoy cozy mysteries because I get a mystery with a softer approach.  I found Plaid and Plagiarism to have too much of the cozy factor.  We have a charming Scottish town with a variety of gossipy, quirky characters.  There are Gaelic words and phrases sprinkled judiciously throughout the story (did you know a bothy is a cottage).  The book is nicely written (as are all of Molly MacRae’s books), but I found the pace to be a little slow (and the book is too long).  I felt that there were too many characters, and it is very difficult to keep them all straight.  It is hard enough remembering the four main characters (which is three too many).  The story is told from Janet’s point-of-view so we get frequent mentions of her ex-husband and how he destroyed their marriage (do not forget that she calls him The Rat more often than be his name, Curtis).  This group also visits Paudel’s Newsagent, Post Office and Convenience (that is the whole name) frequently.  In addition, we get chats with the owner as well as food and candy descriptions (they seem to eat sweets quite a bit).  I give Plaid and Plagiarism 3 out of 5 stars.   I think the book needed a little less of the quirky factor.  There is the little old lady that sits in Yon Bonnie Books, reading their knitting books, and knitting (she knits little Nessie’s).  They have no clue who she is and they can barely understand her (this is just one example).  The mystery was interesting (just not enough of it), but I was disappointed with the way it was handled.  The ladies set up a document (in the cloud) that they keep track of the details of their investigation (which they review a few times).  I prefer to solve the mystery myself.  That is the best part of a cozy mystery.  I figured out the killer early in the book, but I believe most readers will be surprised by the culprit’s identity.  I felt that the author tried to put too much in one book.  The idea for the series has potential.  I just felt that the book needed a little trimming and refining.  

I appreciate you reading my latest book evaluation.  I am currently reading More Than a Promise by Amy Lillard (sweet novella).  I sincerely hope all of you have a good evening.  I am off to watch the mid-season finale of The Flash.  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader

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