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Saturday, February 25, 2017

Review - A Wee Homicide in the Hotel

Here is the newest in the ScotShop mystery series.  I reviewed #1 Wee Murder In My Shop (click here),
 #2 A Wee Dose of Death (click here), and I was tickled to have the author provide three guest posts (click here) , 2nd (click here), and 3rd (click here).  We are up to the third entry in the series and I review it below.

Author: Fran Stewart

Copyright: February 2017 (Berkley) 304 pgs

Series: 3rd in ScotShop Mystery series

Sensuality: Mild

Mystery Sub-genre: Cozy with lite paranormal elements

Main Characters: Peggy Winn, owner of a Scottish-themed shop

Setting: Modern day, Hameline Maine

Obtained Through: Publisher for honest review

From the cover: "Hamelin is overflowing with tourists enjoying the Scottish-themed games—and most of them are donning tartans from Peggy Winn’s ScotShop. And her fourteenth-century ghostly companion, Dirk, has been indispensable, keeping an eye out for shoplifters and matching customers’ family names to their clan plaid.

Adding to the chaos is Big Willie, a longtime champion of the games, but not everyone is happy to have him in town. So when he misses the first event of the weekend, Peggy senses something is awry. After Willie is discovered dead in his hotel room, the victim of a bagpipe-related crime, Peggy decides it’s up to her and Dirk to suss out a murderer."  The FBI are also in town because of some surprise high profile political visitors to the Scottish games.  This is a good subplot too.

Peggy is an entrepreneur and long suffering with seemingly non-stop questions from a ghost usually when she shouldn't answer because of people around. Dirk (full name Macbeth Donlevy Freusach Macearacher Macpheidiran of clan Farquharson) is a man out of time and has mellowed a touch from prior book.  BFF Karaline Logg is involved more with a subplot for her character.  Twin Brother Drew makes an appearance as part of the subplot.  Police Captain Harper really needs to take Peggy on several dates before he starts thinking of marriage...and learn to actually talk, really talk, with her.

The setting of the Scottish Festival with the competitions and bagpipers was delightful and a great touch. There is plenty going on in this between the FBI in town, the games, Big Willie, and some minor characters developed, so the pacing moves along and keeps the interest.  The climax did not disappoint and the wrap up was satisfying.  

I liked the development of the subplots that truly layered the story.  I still have issues with Dirk asking insistent questions that Peggy answers around people making her look like she's bonkers.  I don't find that amusing as I suspect is intended.  Dirk has toned down his superior "know-it-all" attitude a little, which helps.  This is a lite generally enjoyable romp with everything Scottish including hunky kilt-wearing guys and lots of clan tartans.

Rating:  Good - A fun read.

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Tipsy Laird Recipe – A Great Scottish Trifle

4 large egg yolks
1/4 c sugar
2 c scalded milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 pkg ladyfingers
  apricot jam
1/2 c whiskey
  toasted almonds
  whipped cream, sweetened


- Beat yolks and stir in sugar and salt.

- Stir Milk in gradually and cook over hot water, stir constantly until mixture coats spoon. Chill, flavor with vanilla

- Split the Lady Fingers and spread with Jam. Put a layer in glass bowl and pour whiskey over it. Let cake soak up Liquor. Cover with 1/2 of custard. Repeat layer of lady fingers sprinkled with whiskey and pour custard.

- Repeat steps for all layers until you reach the top of your dish finishing with the pudding layer.

- Next whip the heavy cream, add sugar to sweeten and spoon on top of the last layer of custard. Decorate the top with toasted almonds.

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