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Scots On The Rocks: A Bed-and-Breakfast Mystery [Mass Market Paperback]

Mary Daheim
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

June 10 2008 Bed-and-Breakfast Mysteries

Hoping to dispel the late-winter gloom, innkeeper Judith McMonigle Flynn flies off for a much-needed vacation to Scotland. But soon she and prickly Cousin Renie find themselves marooned in an ancient castle perched high above the North Sea while their husbands go off on a fishing trip with the local police inspector. But when an explosion rocks Grimlock Castle, leaving a dead body in its fiery wake, an ever-curious Judith is once again up to her neck in a murder investigation. And the situation grows even murkier when the husbands and their Scotland Yard buddy go missing . . .

The hunt is on for a killer through the bonnie braes and sea-green glens of Scotland. And if Judith and Renie aren't careful, this could turn out to be their most dangerous—and last—Highland fling.


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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Daheim's enjoyable 23rd B&B mystery (after 2006's Saks and Violins) takes Judith McMonigle Flynn, her cousin Serena Renie Jones and their husbands to a remote town in Scotland. The idea is to get away from the stresses of running an inn, and from Judith's pesky habit of stumbling over corpses and solving murders, but when a new Scottish acquaintance mysteriously dies, Judith can't help poking around. Why would anyone kill Harry Gibbs? Perhaps his wife, now twice widowed, had developed a romantic relationship with someone else, or perhaps a complex business deal lies behind Harry's demise. The tight-knit locals aren't always willing to open up to Judith, and soon more people die. The many eccentric Scottish characters aren't especially well developed, but the local color—fine wool, romantic castles, freely flowing whiskey and tea—is charming. This cozy makes a good vacation read, whether or not your destination is Scotland. (Aug.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Booklist

In this twenty-third Bed-and-Breakfast novel, cousins Judith Flynn and Renie Jones travel to a restored castle in Scotland for a vacation with their husbands, who promptly go fishing. Harry Gibbs, grandson of the castle's caretakers, promptly dies in a fiery explosion, leaving his wife as the chief suspect. Judith, never one to let anyone get away with murder, decides to find the killer and, with Renie's reluctant assistance, begins investigating. Daheim describes the setting effectively and does a good job developing the cousins' characters, especially the feisty Renie, but the other players, not so well delineated, are often difficult to keep straight. Only for longtime fans of the series. O'Brien, Sue --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Most helpful customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars fun but a bit out of KILTer March 15 2010
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
Daheim has concocted an entertaining mystery, but she needed to do a bit more homework before tackling the Scottish Highlands. My enjoyment was marred by inaccuracies that kept cropping up. Having lived in Britain and worked and played in Scotland for several years, I was surprised to see references to such things as 'shillings' (no longer in use anywhere in the British Isles) and North American-style bacon, which most people I met there thought revolting. They call it 'streaky bacon', and it is seldom available. What is called 'bacon' is closer to what Americans call 'Canadian bacon' and Canadians call 'back bacon'. The descriptions of countryside suggest the author may have visited, but I suspect the tale was cobbled together from ancient travel books.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good work April 12 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
It kept me interested it did not move to slowly in the book would read more of her books. Keep writing
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 2.7 out of 5 stars  26 reviews
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Series moves to Scotland and it is a hit! Sept. 6 2007
By Armchair Interviews - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This is 23rd in the series of Bed and Breakfast mysteries featuring Judith McMonigle Flynn and her cousin Renie, this one is set not in Judith's Seattle Hillside Manor B & B, but in Scotland.

Judith is aging, her hip replacement surgery has slowed her down. Her husband Joe, a retired police detective, and her cousin Renie and her husband Bill conspire to set up Judith with a surprise vacation. Her B & B is staffed with substitute innkeepers, and they are off. Judith is sure the locale is southern California, and packs accordingly.

Unfortunately it is Scotland, a stay in remote Grimloch castle due Joe's police connection, with a promise of some great fishing. The men skip off soon after arrival to fish, leaving Judith and Renie to get to know the Gibbses, the surly and unhappy couple running the castle. They venture into town to get Judith some warm clothing and meet many more eccentric and dysfunctional people, including Moira Gibbs, her husband Harry (grandson of the Gibbses working in the castle); and cranky Mrs. Gunn. Wealthy Moira Gibbs has inherited a large petroleum company, and Mrs. Gunn is running her husband's transport firm and believes in the supernatural.

Soon Philip Fordyce and his young wife Beth, owners of the castle, return early from an island vacation to stay in the private wing. Fordyce runs a company making Scotch whiskey and has a very strange young son, Chuckie, who skulks around the castle being obtuse and nasty.

An explosion on the beach signals the death of Harry Gibbs. Who could have wanted him dead? Was he meddling in his wife's Blackwell Petroleum company too much? The accidental death months ago of Moira's personal assistant, the dashing Italian Davey, is suddenly questioned when his bloodstained coat is found with a note. Then Chuckie begins hinting he knows who killed Harry. Judith and Renie have sporadic and sketchy phone contacts with their fishing spouses, until suddenly they seem to have disappeared.

Judith is her usual kind and inquisitive self; Renie as usual, is always hungry, argumentative and pushy. There are several truly hilarious episodes as they careen around the village of St. Fergna trying to ferret out the facts.

Armchair Interviews says: 23rd in series, and still doing just fine, thank you.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Confusing and just OK Nov. 14 2007
By Bookworm Carolyn - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I generally like Mary Daheim and her B&B novels, but this one was just OK. The plot was confusing with a lot of superfluous characters, nonessential subplots, holes, and murders that made no sense, even after everything was explained. It still is not quite clear to me, in fact, exactly why the main murder was committed. The motivation behind some of the other deaths is even murkier. The quirkiness of some of the characters, and the interesting setting -- as well as hopes for a real surprise ending -- kept me reading, but in the end, I was dissatisfied.
7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars How I Spent My Winter Vacation Nov. 20 2007
By Beth D - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Judith McMonigle Flynn is happily packing her bags. Her husband Joe, and Bill her cousin Renie's husband have planned a vacation trip for the four of them. It's a surprise, so they aren't telling the cousin's where they're going until they're on the planes.

Visions of Hawaii, or The Bahama's float through her head as she tosses in bathing suits and suntan oil.

Imagine her surprise when on the plane she finds that they're on their way to Scotland. Living in the Northwest, cold and wet are normal for the winter, and although there were probably colder and wetter places than Scotland, she couldn't think of any.

Things are even worse as the cousins realize that Joe & Bill picked the spot, because they had made friends with a local Scottish police inspector and he was going to take them on fishing trip, meanwhile Judith & Renie got to stay at an ancient castle high above the North Sea.

Things get off to a rocky start when there's an explosion at Grimloch Castle and a young man is killed. He's married to the local heiress, lives in a stately mansion and father of a new son. Who would want him dead? Or is the curse some say is on his bride? He was her second husband, her first dying tragically and her male friends who have also died unexpectedly.

Judith and Renie decide to investigate, as there is nothing else to do, Joe and Bill are out of touch on their fishing trip.

There are a lot of suspects and this time the local police are actually asking them for their help. More deaths occur and supernatural things start to happen and then Joe & Bill seem to have disappeared.

The cousins have to solve this crime before they and their loved ones end up having the worst vacation they have ever had.

Highlights:

The last few books in this series have been less than stellar. This one, however, has picked up the series a little.

The mystery, as usual was very interesting, complicated and hard to figure out. I actually thought through most of the book that Joe & Bill may have set them up on some type of mystery weekend type of vacation.

Judith is always a great character. Very smart and does real investigations. You don't get the killer suddenly announcing they're the murderer out of the blue as you do in some series, although she will put herself in danger sometimes because she doesn't always think things out.

Cousin Renie is almost back to her likeable self. Renie has always been overly aggressive and willing to fight physically. But in recent books she has almost crossed the line into insanity, with her constant embarrassing remarks to people and the fact that she will start hitting people without provocation. In this book, she has pulled back a little in her embarrassing actions and although she does get physical with a particular character, it seemed more humorous than the insane way she had done in the past few books.

Lowlights:

Joe and Bill disappear from the book. I love Joe, he and Judith have the most romantic storyline and I love the interplay between them. But for several books, Joe has disappeared instead of being the supportive, helpful character that he started out as. The series has become an almost exclusive Judith & Renie show. I can't remember the last book where her son and grandchildren actually appeared in the story, and weren't just mentioned in passing.

No returning characters. In earlier books you would see a lot more of Judith & Renie's extensive family. Now they almost seem adrift with only themselves and occasionally their husbands to hang on to.

I love this series and although this book isn't in league with the earlier ones in the series, it's an improvement over the last several books. Get the cousins back home, with their extended families and put Renie and Gertrude on some meds.

This series can be saved.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Too Long Nov. 2 2009
By Middle-aged Reader - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
About 100 pages TOO LONG! 360 pages for a mystery? Ridiculous. After 250 pages I couldn't follow it and could not care less.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I love this series, but . . . Aug. 16 2009
By Patricia Bird - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
I've loved this series, but this one is below par. I agree with the person who missed Joe as a central character. The cast of characters were all strangers, most of them indistinguishable, one from the other. I kept asking myself who is this person and where does he fit in? You didn't care about who was killed or who killed them.

I hope the next book has more of the charm that has made this series one of my favorites.

-- Pat
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