by Sandra Murphy
Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win a copy of Thistles and Thieves, and links to purchase it.
Four women reinvented themselves. Two became booksellers, two run the tea and pastry shop within the store, located in the Highlands, Scotland. For Christine, it’s coming home to take care of elderly parents. For Janet, it’s a return to a vacation cottage, minus the husband she’d shared it with, the rat. Janet’s adult daughter and a friend round out the group.
Janet has decided to get into better physical shape by riding her bicycle. To give herself a goal, she’s going to enter the Haggis Half-Hundred, a fifty-mile bike ride, if the darn bike doesn’t kill her first, muscle by muscle.
During her ride, she stops on a bridge to catch her breath and enjoy the view. As she looks down toward the water, she spots the wheel of a bike and then the sleeve of a man’s suit coat—with the man still in it. It’s assumed the man, later identified as Dr. Murray, was run off the road by a car, but no one has come forward.
When a second death occurs, an obvious murder, the women have to wonder if the two are connected. A third death makes it a certainty. The question is who’s the killer, and what was the motive?
This is the third book in the series. Janet is finding out who she is on her own. She has adopted a cat and a kitten, has learned to eat (and like) haggis and chips, and drink the local beer. The bookstore is her ideal place to be. Solving murders, albeit through discussion and asking a few questions, is a mix of curiosity and a mental challenge.
I enjoy seeing how the women each find their own niche in a new and somewhat foreign place. The shop has expanded to include B&B rooms upstairs. Business is brisk during tourist season as busloads of day travelers stop in to browse, rest their feet, have a snack, and buy books.
Favorite characters are Rab and Ranger. Rab works part-time in the shop, setting his own hours and job description. Ranger is his collie who comes in, brings a tea towel to put on his favorite chair as he snoozes by the fire until he decides Rab has worked long enough. We never see enough of Rab and Ranger, and I’d bet Janet and Christine feel the same way.
Scots phrases and words are scattered throughout but are either obvious in their meaning or are explained, giving readers the sense of being there. A wintery day is perfect for a trip to Scotland, even if only traveling in your armchair.
To enter to win a copy of Thistles and Thieves, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “thistle,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen February 22, 2020. U.S. residents only, and you must be 18 or older to enter. If you are entering via email please include you mailing address in case you win, it will be deleted after the contest. You can read our privacy statement here if you like.
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