Thistles and Thieves By Molly MacRae: Review/Giveaway

Feb 15, 2020 | 2020 Articles, Mysteryrat's Maze, Sandra Murphy

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.mystery

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.

Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & mystery short stories in our mystery section. And join our mystery Facebook group to keep up with everything mystery we post, and have a chance at some extra giveaways. Also listen to our new mystery podcast where mystery short stories and first chapters are read by actors! They are also available on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, and Spotify. A new episode went up this week!

You can use this link to purchase any of these books from indie bookstore Mysterious Galaxy, and KRL gets a portion of the sale:

You can use this link to purchase the book on Amazon. If you have ad blocker on you may not see the link:

Sandra Murphy lives in the shadow of the Arch in St. Louis Missouri. A Murder of Crows, edited by Sandra Murphy (a popular title so you need her name to search), has twenty-one cozy stories. Each features the collective name of an animal and a crime. The animals range from tarantulas, koalas, wolves, bears, jellyfish, toads, cats, dogs, alpaca, goats, penguins and more. No animals were harmed. The people weren’t so lucky. Available at the usual outlets, print or ebook.

Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which we receive a few cents if you make purchases. KRL also receives free copies of most of the books that it reviews, that are provided in exchange for an honest review of the book.


  1. Yayy! Really want to read this! Thanks for the chance !!

  2. Thistles and Thieves sounds captivating and the storyline and characters fascinating.

  3. I would love to read a book written by Molly MacRae. She seems to have quite a following. Thank you for this opportunity.
    (ps. Sandra, I grew up very, very close to St. Louis. I lived in Jennings from 1963 until I graduated from Jennings High in 1980!)

  4. I have enjoyed the previous books in this series. Great characters and great story lines. Can’t wait to read.

  5. this has been a good series.
    Looking forward to the next
    installment. thanks

  6. I love bookstore mysteries and my heritage is Scottish as well. This book and I are made for each other. Thanks! crs(at)codedivasites(dot)com

  7. I’ve read a couple of different posts about this one, sounds good!

  8. I haven’t read any of Molly’s books yet. Sounds like a great book.

  9. I enjoy any books dealing with settings in Scotland, England, Ireland, and/or Wales. I’m looking forward to adding this to my list of need to read books. robeader53(at)

  10. Thanks! Would love to read this.. nani_geplcs(at)yahoo(dot)com

  11. What a wonderful premise. I am not familiar with this series. Thank you for that lovely review. karen94066 at aol dot com

  12. Sounds interesting! Count me in!

  13. Intriguing cover

    POSITIVE dot IDEAS dot 4YOU at GMAIL dot COM

  14. We have a winner!


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.