ARC Review: Scones and Scoundrels by Molly MacRae (Highland Bookshop Mystery #2)

Official Synopsis from Goodreads: Inversgail, on the west coast of the Scottish Highlands, welcomes home native daughter and best-selling environmental writer Daphne Wood. Known as the icon of ecology, Daphne will spend three months as the author in residence for the Inversgail schools. Janet Marsh and her business partners at Yon Bonnie Books are looking forward to hosting a gala book signing for her. Daphne, who hasn’t set foot in Scotland in thirty years, is . . . eccentric. She lives in the Canadian wilderness, in a cabin she built herself, with only her dog for a companion, and her people skills have developed a few rough-hewn edges. She and the dog (which she insists on bringing with her) cause problems for the school, the library, and the bookshop even before they get to Inversgail. Then, on the misty night they arrive, a young man—an American who’d spent a night in the B above Yon Bonnie Books—is found dead outside a pub.

Daphne did her Inversgail homework and knows that Janet and her partners solved a previous murder. She tries to persuade them to join her in uncovering the killer and the truth. To prove she’s capable, she starts poking and prying. But investigating crimes can be murder, and Daphne ends up dead, poisoned by scones from the tearoom at Yon Bonnie Books. Now, to save the reputation of their business—not to mention the reputation of their scones—Janet and her partners must solve both murders. And Daphne’s dog might be able to help them, if only they can get it to stop howling. . .

Genre: Cozy Mystery
Setting: Modern day Inversgail, Scotland

***I received an eARC copy of Scones and Scoundrels from the publisher, Pegasus Books, via NetGalley***

*** this post contains affiliate links ***

Review: Another charming entry in the Highland Bookshop Mystery series! Scones and Scoundrels by Molly MacRae has everything that I look for in a cozy mystery. The female leads aren’t too obnoxious, and there is also a picturesque setting of a small town in Scotland.

One of the issues I had with the first book in the series, Plaid and Plagiarism, was that I couldn’t figure out the personalities of the main characters. This issue still exists here in Scones and Scoundrels. The main four ladies of Janet, Tallie, Summer, and Christine are all sweet and kind, but I couldn’t come up with any personality trait for any of these ladies after I finished the book. The one character that stands out a bit is Summer, as she is not quite as perky as the other three, but this felt more like a setup for potential drama between the four in a future book.

The mystery was cute. It focuses on Daphne, an author returning to her hometown. Daphne behaves oddly, treating people rudely, and just doing different things that rile up the townspeople; some of the things she does are quite funny, others are just obnoxious. I thought Daphne was too over-the-top, so wasn’t surprised when she ended up dead! (Plus, it’s also in the blurb.) But, while the mystery of who killed Daphne was interesting, and I didn’t figure out the murderer until it was revealed in the book, it wasn’t exactly memorable. But that’s quite alright with me! I don’t read cozy mysteries for exciting, unforgettable plotting. I read them for the setting and characters, and Scones and Scoundrels definitely hit the mark in terms of setting!

There was a bit more of Scottish dialect that I noticed in this entry, and I really loved it! There’s also a hint of a secret whisky society, and that sounded like a lot of fun as well. So while the mystery and characters weren’t all that memorable, I did adore the setting of a small village in Scotland. I’ll definitely be reading more of this series when it’s published!

Bottom Line: Sweet and fun. Not terribly memorable, but that’s quite okay.

LINKS ***the Amazon link is an affiliate link which means I receive a small commission if you click the link and make a purchase***
Author’s Website
My Review of Plaid and Plagiarism, Book 1 of the Highland Bookshop Mystery Series

Does this sound like a cute setting and mystery series?

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