Molly MacRae pens the Highland Bookshop Mystery Series, and her latest work, Thistles and Thieves is just as good as the first.
Set in Inversgail, Scotland, the series features Janet Marsh and friends, owners of Yon Bonnie Books, a local bookshop.
The quartet have expanded their business to include an adjacent tea shop and are considering renovating the upstairs into a small bed-and-breakfast.
However, dead bodies keep turning up in their way and their expansion plans have been put on hold.
In Thistles and Thieves, Janet joins a local group of bicyclists planning a lengthy ride, and to strengthen herself for the event sets out one morning for a ride into the hills beyond Inversgail. Along the way, she discovers the body of Dr. Malcolm Murray. Apparently his bicycle had left the road and traveled down a steep slope into a patch of thistles along the riverbank. Janet notices some car tracks at the side of the narrow road, but there’s no real evidence to indicate that another vehicle was involved in the elderly Dr. Murray’s accident.
In the coming days, Janet hears nothing but praise for the doctor. Apparently he was beloved by all.
But then a box of vintage first editions turns up at the bookshop, left on the front stoop with a note, “Please look after these books. Thank you.”
First delighted and then mystified, Janet and her friends wonder what they are supposed to do with the books. Keep them? Sell them? Place them in a local library?
Eventually they decide the books might have belonged to Dr. Murray or to his reclusive brother Gerald. First Janet and friends call at Dr. Murray’s home where his sister appears to be angry, confused, and not in the least bereft over her brother's death.
Next they travel to Gerald’s modest croft home where they discover the door ajar and his body, stabbed with a regimental dagger, inside.
Now the police go to work to determine if the two deaths are related and if so, who is the killer. Janet and her friends, already known for their detecting skills, join in the search and eventually find themselves once again facing a killer who has struck twice and who will happily add them to a growing list of victims.
Stokely Memorial Library now has Thistles and Thieves, along with Plaid and Plagiarism and Scones and Scoundrels, the first two works in the series.
Located at 383 East Broadway, Stokely Memorial Library is open Mondays—Saturdays from 10-5 and may be reached by telephone at 423-623-3832.