Plaid and Plagiarism Book Review

Plaid and Plagiarism Book Review

Title: Plaid and Plagiarism: The Highland Bookshop Mystery Series
Author: Molly MacRae
Published: December 6, 2016 , Pegasus Books
No. of Pages: 288
Cover Price: $25.95 Hardcover, $12.99 Kindle

In the first novel of The Highland Bookshop Mystery Series, Plaid and Plagiarism readers meet the new owners of the Yon Bonnie Bookshop in Scotland. The four women, Janet Marsh, her daughter, Tallie Marsh, Janet’s best friend, Christine Robertson, and Summer Jacobs, Tallie’s college roommate, all come with different strengths which they think will allow them to run the quaint bookshop smoothly. Once they arrive (from Illinois), however, Janet finds that her house has been vandalized and she can’t move in, and then finds the body of an unlikeable and obnoxious investigative reporter, Una Graham, in the shed behind her house with a sickle in her neck. Of course there are several suspects, and as the story moves along, readers will look at each suspect thinking they have surely solved the case. However, the real murderer isn’t found out until the end; the unexpected suspect makes a nice ending to the book.

MacRae’s writing is good, concise, and easy to follow, and since this is a cozy, there is no graphic violence, sex, or profanity. The setting is enchanting, and MacRae writes so that readers will feel that they have actually visited this little Scottish town.

There are a few drawbacks to this series, however. While the characters are charming, it may be difficult for readers to relate – they are too charming and too transparent; most of the characters are quite likeable, but just too perfect to be real. The storyline is good, too, but it seems like it is too much of a “feel good” mystery and there is very little suspense. It is expected that the four women are just amateur detectives, and they don’t do much investigating, but it would be better if they had a few skills and didn’t act brainless in some situations.

The book is fun and fast-moving. Often the first book in a series is not as good as the subsequent ones, and that may be the case here, where the author is introducing the main characters, the bookshop, and the quaint town, and the emphasis is on preparing the readers for more suspenseful scenarios.

Plaid and Plagiarism is certainly suitable for all ages, and can be read in a few hours. It is a light cozy, and there is nothing objectionable in the novel. While there are lots of cozy series out there, this does capture the charm of a small village in Scotland, and that almost makes up for the lack of suspense. Most readers will look forward to the next installment to see if there is enough suspense to warrant reading the entire series to come.

Special thanks to NetGalley for supplying a review copy of this book.

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