Saturday, July 18, 2020

Murder in a Scottish Shire by Traci Hall

Murder in a Scottish Shire (A Scottish Shire Mystery Book 1) by [Traci Hall]
Elijah Blue Fescue Grass - Festuca | American Meadows
Blue Fescue full grown
Welcome!  I have been working at growing seeds for the next stage of our front yard makeover.   Right now the front yard looks like a barren wasteland because I have almost all the grass removed.  Just when I think I am done with a section, it rains and new grass appears (I keep pulling roots, but they go deep).  Weeds have also started appearing.  So far the only seeds that have spouted are the blue fescue.  I wanted the burning bush seeds (red hedges) to sprout first since it will go around the outside of the yard (like a fence).  I have also planted mint (to keep away the bees that keep nesting near the house), 4 o'clocks, verbena, moss roses, zinnias, yarrow, salvia, and vinca.  Most of the plants are red since we will be painting our home New Age Blue (from Behr).  I am keeping my fingers crossed that the other seeds grow!  Wish me luck!

Nairn, Scotland
Nairn, Scotland
Murder in a Scottish Shire by Traci Hall has Paislee Shaw having a bad morning.  She is running late getting her son to school, but first they must stop by Cashmere Crush, Paislee’s yarn and sweater shop.  Paislee finds Detective Inspector Mack Zeffer on her doorstep with her grandfather, Angus whom he found sleeping in the park.  The yarn she needed for a customer is delayed and then her landlord serves her with an eviction notice.  It seems her landlord has sold the land to a developer who will be knocking down the block of shops for a boutique hotel.  After dropping off her son late for school once again, Paislee and Grandpa Angus head back to the shop.  Paislee had an appointment with former employee, Isla.  Isla emailed stating she was desperate for a job, but she is a no show.  Worried about Isla, Paislee heads over to her apartment to check on her.  She finds the door ajar and Isla dead inside.  DI Zeffer is assigned the case, but it appears Isla’s death may be the result of an overdose of her heart medication.  Paislee has her doubts and begins digging int Isla’s life.   She needs to find proof if she is to convince DI Zeffer.  It is a good thing Paislee has Grandpa Angus to mind the Cashmere Crush.  
Ginger Twist Studio - Indie Vintage Yarn Shop in Edinburgh | Knitting Crochet Spinning
This yarn shop is in Edinburgh
Murder in a Scottish Shire by Traci Hall is the debut of A Scottish Shire Mystery series.  Paislee Shaw lives in Nairn, Scotland with her son, Brody and their dog, Wallace.  Her grandmother taught her to knit and encouraged her dream of opening a shop.  Cashmere Crush is a specialty sweater and yarn shop where each week the ladies gather to knit, chat, and sip wine on Thursday evenings.  I enjoyed the setting of Nairn and the authors lovely descriptions of the village.  Thankfully, the accent was easy to read.  Cashmere Crush sounded like a cozy shop with sitting area and beautiful yarn especially the ones utilizing natural dyes.  Murder in a Scottish Shire has an eventful beginning when Paislee finds DI Zeffer on the shop’s doorstep with Grandpa Angus, her landlord serves an eviction notice, and she finds Isla dead in her apartment.  There are two side stories happening in the book.  Grandpa Angus lives with his son, Craigh who never showed up for an assignment on the oil rig, Mona.  He wants to find out what happened to Craigh.  Mr. Shawn Marcus, Paislee’s landlord, serves her with an eviction notice stating he has sold the property (which voids the lease).  However, no record of the sale can be found.  After finding Isla dead in her apartment, Paislee has her doubts regarding the cause of death.  To change DI Zeffer’s mind, Paislee sets out to prove the woman was murdered.  Paislee begins questioning Isla’s friends, former employer, and former boyfriend.  There are a couple of suspects and misdirection.  One clue, though, gives away the identity of the killer.  I wish the mystery had been the primary focus of the book (took a backseat to Paislee dealing with Grandpa Angus, Brody’s problems at school, knitting sweaters for customers, Spring Fling) and there had been more activity.   Paislee also needs to work on her questioning technique.  She comes across as rude and pushy. As a friend told Paislee, you catch more flies with honey. I like that the author took the time to establish the main characters and the setting.  The secondary characters still need work.  There was a repetition of information (I got it the first time) and the pacing was sluggish.   I liked the humor involving the headmaster of Brody’s school.  I believe this series is off to a good start, and I am curious to find out what happened to Craigh.  Murder in a Scottish Shire is a cute cozy mystery with a grumpy grandpa, a busy boy, an extinct employee, sweater sales, yummy yarn, surprising secrets, and a snoopy shop owner.
nairn scotland - Google Search (ancestor Ann Fraser)
Nairn, Scotland
Murder in a Scottish Shire is available from Amazon*.  You can find Traci Hall's other books here.  As Traci Wilton, she writes A Salem B&B Mystery series. Mrs. Morris and the Ghost is the first book in the series and is currently $1.99 on Amazon (digital).  Mrs. Morris and the Ghost of Christmas Past will be out on September 29.  I appreciate you stopping by today.  I will be back tomorrow with A Design to Die For by Kathleen Bridge.  It is the 5th A Hamptons Home & Garden Mystery.  I hope you have a positive day.  Take care, stay safe (wear a mask), and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader
Mary Azarian, The Best Part of the Day
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