In the latest novel in the beloved Highland Bookshop Mystery Series, a murder at a baronial manor leads to a poisonous game of cat and mouse—with the women of Yon Bonnie Books playing to win.
After 93 well-lived years, Violet MacAskill is ready to simplify her life. Her eccentric solution? She’ll throw a decanting and decluttering party at her family home—a Scottish Baronial manor near the seaside town of Inversgail, Scotland. Violet sets aside everything she wants or needs, then she invites her many friends in to sip sherry and help themselves to whatever they want from all that’s left.
Janet Marsh and Christine Robertson, two of the women who own Yon Bonnie Books in Inversgail, enjoy themselves at the party. Not everyone who attends has a good time, though. Wendy Erskine, director of the Inversgail museum, is found dead, and rumors swirl about food poisoning from a local food truck. Then Violet tells Constable Hobbs that a tin of rat poison is missing. And when Hobbs’ own grandmother comes under suspicion for murder, he enlists the women from Yon Bonnie Books, and the race is on to find the murderer.
But where do they begin? Are there clues in the “Shocking Stockings” exhibit at the museum? Will the antique scrapbook pasted full of trivia about arsenic and bygone poisoners offer a solution? Or does the answer lie closer to home—is one of Violet’s friends truly toxic? Poisonous games are afoot in Inversgail and the women of Yon Bonnie Books are playing to win. (Summary via Goodreads)
The description on the front inside cover of Argyles and Arsenic by Molly MacRae gives readers a very detailed and accuate description of the story but I will try to give you some more insight of my own findings.
Argyles and Arsenic is the fifth book in the Highland Bookshop Mystery series and follows four women and their lives. They have all moved to Inversgail, Scotland and own and run a bookstore and tearoom. These women are Janet and Tallie Marsh, mother and daughter, and they run the bookstore while Christine Robertson and Summer Jacob run the tearoom. Christine grew up in Scotland, moved away but returned to take care of her parents. She brought the other three back with her for reasons of their own and have been working together in the business as well as amatuer sleuthing on the side.
In Argyles and Arsenic people are invited to a rather curious party. Violet MacAskill is looking to declutter her big mansion, Fairy Flax Hall, and decides to invite people over to take whatever they like that is out in the designated areas. Unfortunately during the party Christine and her mother Helen go into an unauthorized room and find a dead body. When the body is confirmed to be the woman who ran the museum, Wendy, there are a lot of questions as to her death and why she was in a locked room that was off limits to the party goers.
Readers will enjoy the storyline and the Scottish words thrown in here and there causing you to stop and look up the word to add to your vocabulary. And the way that MacRae draws the reader in will have you on the edge of your seat. You will feel like you are right there with the fabulous four as they discuss the case and add notes and comments to the documents that they draw up to keep track of the list of suspects. And when their normal police contact is taken off the case, they dig in deeper to try to bring justice to their town. Unfortunately every time they think that they are ahead of the murderer something happens to make them go back to the drawing board and start all over again.
Review by Missi M.