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Death by Bagpipes by Jennifer S. Alderson

Title: Death by Bagpipes: A Summer Murder in Edinburgh

Author: Jennifer S. Alderson

Published on: 18th September 2020

Genre: Cozy Mystery

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Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

“What happened to Presto?” someone yelled out from the crowd as his friends gathered close.

Voila cried out, “The pipers scared him to death!”

Lana looked to the musicians, now huddled together on the podium. Death by bagpipes? Was that even possible?

Death by Bagpipes is the fourth book in Jennifer Alderson’s Travel can be Murder series.

Having read the first three books in this series, I was eagerly waiting to read Death by Bagpipes. Meet our main character – Lana Hansen, a tour guide/amateur sleuth. Lana was almost on the verge of becoming a homeless when she met Dotty. Dotty owns the Wanderlust Tours and she suggested Lana try her hand at tour guiding. Almost a year later, Lana is now loving her new life.

Lana’s ex-husband Ron is a famous magician. Leaving her for a younger woman has certainly taken a toll on Lana’s self-esteem. This changed when she met Alex Wright three months ago. The story starts with Alex asking Lana to move in with him. Lana feels it is too early and before she could talk more about it, Dotty interrupts the lovers.

Dotty wants Lana to go to Scotland as a tour guide to a family. The client is a good friend of Dotty and he insists Dotty to take in his grandson as a tour guide for Wanderlust Tours. Lana’s job is help out the grandson if needed, as well as, give Dotty feedback on the prospective employee.

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The client is none other than a renowned magician, Presto. Ron had accused Presto of stealing his act. As Ron is now Lana’s past, meeting Presto shouldn’t be a problem. But, when Lana reaches Scotland, she realizes none of Presto’s family members like him. Finally, Presto is killed and Ron is accused of murder.

As much as Lana wants her ex to rot in prison, she cannot remove the doubt lurking at the back of her mind. Did one of Presto’s family kill him in a fit of rage? As Lana investigates, she comes across clues that leads her face to face with the killer.

I am a little disappointed with this story. I do not know if this is something I observed in this book or if the trend continued from book 1. As an amateur sleuth, Lana has her share of snooping around and getting snubbed at. But in this case, she directly asks her ‘suspects’ if they killed Presto. As if they would agree to it!

Also, we get to see the emotional side of Lana in this story. She learns her ex-husband’s girlfriend is pregnant and this sets her off. Lana have always wanted to have a child (or two) with Ron but he had always postponed it. And within months of dating, he and Candy are to become parents soon.

Lana’s emotions are understandable – she depicts the role of an (broken) half while the ex has moved on in life. As much as I appreciate Jennifer’s efforts to bring this (real life) into the story, I felt Lana was not in control of her emotions. When Ron is accused of the murder, she wants to leave. Then she goes to the prison to meet Ron and is again upset. A ‘cat-on-the-wall’ kinda scenario wasn’t something I expected of my favorite amateur sleuth.

Somehow, this story was not up to my liking. The pacing seemed a little slow and the characters were downright rude to Lana (and yet she does nothing about it). The ending was a little too dramatic, I suppose. The identity of the perp was no shocker – as they were on Lana’s suspects list already. Plus, halfway through the story, we are given a tiny clue that points in the perp’s direction – so, no surprises here.

Overall, Death in Bagpipes was an okay read. I am certainly looking forward to reading the next book in this series. Lana Hansen will be solving a murder at Rome. As the saying goes, when in Rome…


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