Published: September 2022
Claire Barclay, owner and tour guide of The British Mysteries Book Tours, leaves her house in Hampshire and her significant other, Mark Evans, puts her dog Gulliver into her van and heads off to Scotland for the start of a fortnight tour.
She expects to lead her guests to various literary sites where authors set their stories. She had just settled everyone into their luxurious Edinburgh hotel when, on a quick outing with Gulliver, she discovers a body. A young woman has been the victim of the serial killer who targets university students.
She calls Mark. But Mark, although a Detective Inspector of the Major Crimes Investigation Team, has no jurisdiction in Scotland. He can only sympathize and advise—and protest her involvement. Her guests meet for breakfast every morning at the Magpie Café where Claire finds characters who live or work nearby, including the local beat copper Sheila McKinnon and Detective Inspector Derrick Hamilton. Christopher, an accountant, brings his dog Suzy. Ryan, a neglected teen, slips in for free food and Bert Anderson, a middle-aged entrepreneur, cheerfully tries to interest everyone in investment schemes.
The waitress is Isla, a university student, who is researching a paper on psychopaths.
The people of Scotland differ a great deal from county to county. They speak with a different accent and use some different words depending of where they originate. A woman from Glasgow does not sound like a woman from Edinburgh. A Glaswegian might say, “The old man is crabbit,” meaning nasty-tempered. In Edinburgh they’d say. “He’s right radge.” I love the local idioms even though they confuse me at times. The feeling of the cities is different. Glasgow is gritty, blunt and proud of its working-class history. Edinburgh is regal, elegant and proud of its culture. I enjoyed bringing the different places alive in the book.
I enjoyed the characters as well. The couple from Seattle, the psychologist from Texas, the man from Los Angeles mingle with the locals in the Magpie Café. Isla, the university student who waits on tables for her parents, the owners, chats with the guests of Claire’s tour and with the regular patrons. She is disturbed by the murders that have occurred in her neighborhood and speculates with the diners about who is committing such crimes. She ropes in Claire, as well as the psychologist from Claire’s tour and the Detective Inspector investigating the murders who eats his breakfast at the café to help her with her profile of the killer. She gets uncomfortably close to the killer—when Claire interferes.
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