Murder at a Scottish Social by Traci Hall

Title: Murder at a Scottish Social (Scottish Shire Mystery #3)

Author: Traci Hall

Published on: 25 January 2022

Genre: Cozy Mystery

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Rating: 5 out of 5.

Murder at a Scottish Social is the third book in Traci Hall’s Scottish Shire Mystery series.

Paislee Shaw runs Cashmere Crush, a yarn and knit shop in Nairn. She’s a single mother to Brody. The other residents of her home include Wallace, a black Scottish terrier, and Paislee’s grandfather. Gramps is a bit crankly at times but loves his granddaughter to bits. He also helps her out in managing the store and babysit Brody – especially when Paislee goes sleuthing.

Paislee is more than happy to donate a luxurious cashmere sweater for an auction to raise money for the Nairn Food Bank. But she’s less happy to make the acquaintance of a clique of competitive moms at the charity event. These moms are ultra rich, always find ways to put others down – their husband’s jobs, money and their children’s achievements at school is always a hot topic of discussion, and when they find time, they do a bit of baking… or ask their personal chef to bake and pass it off as their own.

Queen Bee Kristin Buchanan is one of the finalists at the baking contest and so is Paislee’s new friend Blaise. At the judging event, Kristin picks up an argument with her personal chef saying there’s something wrong with the plating. She picks up a piece of her shortbread, licks the sugar crystals on top and takes a bite… she sees nothing wrong with the shortbread. But a minute later, she’s gasping for air and is soon unconscious. Her husband (who happens to be one of the judges) calls for help.

Kristin is allergic to nuts and unless someone finds the EpiPen from her handbag soon, she will die. But the EpiPen is nowhere to be found. Someone calls for an ambulance and in the mean time, Paislee offers to do CPR and see if she can revive Kristin. The ambulance arrives and Kristin is taken to the hospital but it’s too late…

Kristin’s personal chef is absconding and the EpiPen is found on the chair that was previously occupied by Blaise. Kristin’s friends do not waste time in pointing their fingers at Blaise. They don’t like her because she had decided to take her daughter off their school and move to Nairn.

This story is the best example of how competitive one can get. A group of back-stabbing women who eagerly wait for the other to make mistakes, a lot of bitching, jealousy and spreading false rumors… ugh! A sneak peak into reality!!

I have been following this series from the start and until reading this book, I didn’t realize that Detective Zeffer was being such a cutie pie to Paislee. Well, he keeps warning her, telling her not to interfere in police business… but this time, he didn’t mind her interference. Ooh, love in the air? Fingers crossed! I would love to see Paislee in a relationship.

The other side story (apart from the above-mentioned ‘romance’) that I found interesting was that of Brody and his friend Edwyn. Seems like Brody is getting bullied at school and somehow Edwyn is responsible for it. Gramps and Paislee’s friend Lydia want Brody to stand up and fight while Paislee wants to solve it without any violence. Principal Hamish (with whom Paislee had a brief attraction) warns Paislee to keep an eye on her son as the school does not tolerate violent behavior. This creates a further rift between Paislee and Hamish. (Good riddance, I say! Zeffer is better!)

The mystery behind the murder kept me guessing till the end. There’s a love angle – Kristin was having an affair; her assistant had her eyes set on Kristin’s husband. Then there is teh matter of the missing chef and a stolen gaming laptop… and some more drama involving backstabbing mummies.

Murder at a Scottish Social by Traci Hall is an engrossing and completely entertaining cozy mystery. The identity of the murderer was unexpected and shocking. The story gets better and better with each chapter – lots of gossip, backstabbing and dirty secrets make Paislee doubt if she’s on the right track (sleuthing, of course. 😉)

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