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Murder in a Scottish Shire by Traci Hall

Title: Murder in a Scottish Shire (A Scottish Shire Mystery #1)

Author: Traci Hall

Published on: 30th June 2020

Genre: Cozy Mystery

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Rating: 5 out of 5.

Paislee, a single mother, lives in Nairn with her ten-year-old son Brody. She owns a specialty sweaters and yarn shop Cashmere Crush.

One morning, she makes a detour to the shop before dropping Brody off at school. Grandpa Angus, her beloved grandmother’s (estranged) husband who was kicked out for fathering a son with another woman, shows up at her shop with two policemen. The police found him sleeping on the park bench and as Paislee is the next of kin, they brought him to her. Grandpa Angus’ other son, Craigh has gone missing for two months now and the old man was evicted from his house.

Brody is late for school and is sure to get a detention if this continues. Meanwhile, Isla, a part-time help at the shop was supposed to arrive for an interview. By afternoon, Paislee’s curiosity gets the better of her and she goes to meet Isla at her apartment. She takes Grandpa Angus along. When Paislee reaches Isla’s apartment, she finds the door open. Isla is lying on the floor – dead.

Trouble always comes in threes. Paislee receives an eviction notice from her landlord.

Murder in ta Scottish Shire is the first book in the Scottish Shire Mystery series. As a series debut, this story is impressive, engrossing and a total entertainment package. Having read a handful of cozy debuts this year, I was expecting Murder in a Scottish Shire to have a slow start. I was surprised at how much information could be packed in a debut. We have a murder, wonderful character development and a mystery that keeps you guessing until the end. No doubt this book deserves a 5 out of 5!

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Paislee, our main character, is a single mother. Traci Hall has done a wonderful job in portraying the dilemmas a single mother goes through. Mums have no time to fall sick – looking after the kid, managing an own business and doing the household chores – phew! To add to this long list is a murder mystery.

Paislee isn’t convinced Isla’s heart gave out. Agreed Isla had a heart condition but something about her death seemed ‘unnatural’. As Paislee decides to entertain the curiosity in her mind and go amateur sleuthing, she’s warned. Grandpa Angus is being a pain in the backside. Brody’s headmaster … um, well, he’s being such a sweetheart. Can Paislee afford to fall in love when she’s finally getting her life back on track?

The mystery behind Isla’s murder keeps one guessing. I could not identify the killer until the end. The red herrings are sure to take the detective in you on a wrong path. In fact, the identity of the killer was surprising – I was like, Oh my, I did not expect this person to have an evil side!!

Isla, the dead woman, was no angel. Paislee learns a secret or two about Isla; Paislee doubts the choices she’s made in trusting people. Brody, Paislee’s son, is mature, understanding and a caring son. He’s unlike other ten-year-olds. I really liked the bond he shares with his mother. There is no doubt Grandpa Angus is going to play a major role in this series. I am curious to know what happened to Craigh. I hope the mysterious disappearance of Craigh will be solved in the next book.

If I have to compare the character development with that of other cozy series debuts, I would say Murder in the Scottish Shire beats all expectations. We are given a little background on Paislee’s past as the story proceeds. There are some secrets that people want to take to the grave. The identity of Brody’s father is one of them, or so I hope!

I cannot wait to read the next book in this series. I absolutely loved reading Murder in a Scottish Shire. Wonderful character development, excellent storytelling and a murder mystery that keeps you guessing, Murder in a Scottish Shire is definitely one of the best cozy debuts of this year.


Many thanks to Kensington Books and NetGalley for the ARC. This is my honest and unbiased opinion.

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