Librarian Recommended: The Swedish Girl

From Eileen Effrat

Author:  Alex Gray

Title:  The Swedish Girl

The tenth installment in the Detective Superintendent Lorimer series does not disappoint. A Swedish student is brutally murdered in a shared apartment and one of the male flat mates is accused and held without bail. Convinced that the guy is innocent, Kristy Wilson, another of the flat mates, sets out to convince Lorimer to re-evaluate the evidence and untangle a complex web of relationships surrounding the murdered girl. Gray’s mysteries, set in Glasgow, Scotland, gives readers  a genuine feel for the city and its inhabitants. If you enjoy Ian Rankin’s mysteries set in Edinburgh, why not give Glasgow a try?

A Small Death in the Great Glen

From Eileen Effrat
Author:  A.D. Scott
A Small Death in the Great Glen
For an atmospheric portrayal of 1950’s Scotland, this is a good pick. As Scotland struggles to adjust to a post World War II world, a young boy is found murdered in a canal. Suspicion automatically falls on the town’s “outsiders” —refugee Poles, an Italian restaurant owner, and a band of Gaelic tinkers. As the investigation proceeds, it begins to reveal some very unpleasant secrets concealed by the very “pillars of the town”. Scott’s sequel, A Double Death in the Black Isle, is just as enjoyable.

Monarch of the Glen

From  Ginny Pisciotta
Author:  Compton  Mackenzie
Monarch of the Glen
Having loved (and previously reviewed) the Monarch of the Glen DVD series,  I just had to read the book of the same title.  Unlike the series, which takes place in more current times, the book takes place in the 1940’s, when Hector MacDonald’s father, also Hector MacDonald (but referred to as Ben Nevis) was Laird of Glenbogle.

Ben Nevis has visitors from the U.S. – a millionaire (Chester Royde), his young bride Carrie, a Scottish Canadian interested in her Scottish MacDonald roots, and Chester’s sister Myrtle.  Maintaining castles, estates, and a gentry lifestyle can be very difficult and expensive in the 20th century so Ben Nevis attempts to set heiress Myrtle up with one of his sons.

The visitors are quite enamored with Highland lore and life.  Chester even starts wearing kilts.  They also get caught up in a hysterical  all-out war between Ben Nevis, clinging to customs and thinking more fitting of centuries gone by, and a group of progressive thinking hikers, who feel they have the right to hike on the lands of Glenbogle.

The story and characters are humorous and enjoyable overall.  My one complaint would be that the story gets bogged down a bit in wordiness and Gaelic dialect, though even the wordiness can be quite clever if you can take the time to read it through.   Also, the switching back and forth  between names and titles can be a bit confusing.

I would recommend this book to fans of the series who need a Glenbogle fix,  or to those interested in Scottish  culture, or to anyone who enjoys a humorous story full of quirky characters and doesn’t mind a little wordiness or Gaelic dialect.

Blue Lightning

From  Eileen Effrat
Author:  Ann Cleeves
Blue Lightning
This is the fourth book in Cleeves’ crime series set in the Shetland Islands. Detective Inspector Jimmy Perez returns to Fair Isle to introduce his fiancée to family and friends. Shortly after their arrival, the well- known director of the island’s bird observatory is found murdered. Within a day the cook is found dead. As a storm rages across the island, no one can get on or off the island. When forensic help finally arrives, it is of little help. This is a mystery where motive is crucial. I would recommend beginning with the first in the series, Raven Black, followed by White Nights, and Red Bones.

Monarch of the glen [videorecording DVD]

From Ginny Pisciotta
Author:  BBC Scotland
Monarch of the glen [videorecording DVD]
Monarch of the Glen is a highly addictive, delightful series from BBC Scotland.  There are seven series, which can be borrowed separately or all together depending on the library.

The series begins with Archie MacDonald, a young restaurateur, being tricked by his family into returning home to Glenbogle, the family estate in the Scottish Highlands, which is in financial ruin.  He stays to try to make Glenbogle viable again.  The show is enhanced by breathtaking scenery, and includes a wacky but ever-changing cast of characters. Though many of the stories are serious, the series manages to remain humorous and lighthearted.  Sometimes you will find yourself laughing out loud. Episodes include romance, business, heartache, family problems, community issues, class differences, and lots of scheming.   When you turn on an episode and hear the familiar theme song, you will feel like you are home again with your new family and friends in the highlands.  Eventually you will begin to think that maybe real men do wear kilts.

Death of a chimney sweep : [a Hamish Macbeth mystery]

From Andrea Kalinowski
author: Beaton, M.C.
Death of a chimney sweep : [a Hamish Macbeth mystery]
 The latest in the Hamish Macbeth mysteries by M.C. Beaton just appeared on the library shelves and what an entertaining read it was. Hamish is back with his seemingly lazy persona and smart, incisive brain. He is not ambitious and makes no secret of that fact. He is part of the landscape of Lochdubh and has faith in the people he polices. Outsiders are to be distrusted and every time a stranger appears in the small village, murder and mayhem follow. His pets, Sonsie and Lugs, are the only ones with whom Hamish seems able to commit and they repay his loyalty by defending his life. The murder victim is an embezzler and one of his victims was unable to contain his rage and ire at being duped and so stuffed the embezzler up a chimmey. The chimney sweep is an initial suspect until he is found on the moors, murdered. Hamish is the first to connect the dots with inituitive leaps and his theories prove true.

Seducing the Highlander

From Jody Bassuk
author: Wildes, Emma
Seducing the Highlander
This was a book of three Scottish Romances with the guys all being related–brothers and cousins.  The stories were good and showed the passage of time with all the characters.  The second story was a couple of years after the first story and still had references to the first set of characters.  It was entertaining and held my interest.