ARC Review: Plaid and Plagiarism (The Highland Bookshop Mystery Series: Book 1) by Molly MacRae

plaidandplagiarismcoverOfficial Synopsis from Amazon: A murder in a garden turns the four new owners of Yon Bonnie Books into amateur detectives, in a captivating new cozy mystery novel from Molly MacRae.

Set in the weeks before the annual Inversgail Literature Festival in Scotland, Plaid and Plagiarism begins on a morning shortly after the four women take possession of their bookshop in the Highlands. Unfortunately, the move to Inversgail hasn’t gone as smoothly as they’d planned.

First, Janet Marsh is told she’ll have to wait before moving into her new home. Then she finds out the house has been vandalized. Again. The chief suspect? Una Graham, an advice columnist for the local paper―who’s trying to make a name for herself as an investigative reporter. When Janet and her business partners go looking for clues at the house, they find a bodyit’s Una, in the garden shed, with a sickle in her neck. Janet never did like that garden shed.

Who wanted Una dead? After discovering a cache of nasty letters, Janet and her friends are beginning to wonder who didn’t, including Janet’s ex-husband. Surrounded by a cast of characters with whom readers will fall in love, the new owners of Yon Bonnie Books set out to solve Una’s murder so they can get back to business.

A delightful and deadly new novel about recognizing one’s strengths and weakness―while also trying to open a new book shopPlaid and Plagiarism is the start of an entertaining new Scottish mystery series.

Genre: Cozy Mystery
Setting: Fictional town of Inversgail in the Scottish Highlands. Set in today’s time.

*** I received an eARC copy of Plaid and Plagiarism by the publisher, Pegasus Books, via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review ***

Review: Cute setting and mystery, but the main four ladies weren’t all that exciting or memorable on their own.

Plaid and Plagiarism is the first in a new cozy mystery series by Molly MacRae, called The Highland Bookshop Mystery Series. Set in the fictional town of Inversgail, located in the Scottish Highlands, the story focuses on four women who have moved to Inversgail from the US to take over the running of an established bookstore, Yon Bonnie Books. Besides the bookstore, the gals have plans to open up a tearoom next door, and also a B&B.

First off, the setting of the Scottish Highlands is enchanting, and the bookstore was a lot of fun. A lot of Scottish themed books are mentioned, and hearing the titles made me want to start reading them and also start baking scones.

Our four ladies with big dreams are Janet, Christine, Tallie, and Summer. Janet and Tallie (short for Natalie) are mother and daughter, with Janet just having gone through a painful divorce. Christine, a dear friend of Janet’s, is originally from Inversgail, and is our local link to the town. Summer is a good friend of Tallie’s and ready for something new. The plan is for Janet and Tallie to run the bookstore, and for Christine and Summer to run the tearoom and B&B.

Each woman has their own experience to bring to the table. One used to be a librarian, another a reporter, one a social worker, and another worked with corporate law. I appreciated this aspect of these characters, as they were all portrayed as smart, competent women. Tallie and Summer are both in their late 30s, and I don’t recall how old Janet and Christine are.

Now to the bad about these four characters. The problem is that I didn’t get a feel for any of their personalities here, nor could I tell the characters apart. Their voices were very similar to each other, and while I liked each of them, I couldn’t tell you anything about their personalities. I know and remembered facts about them (jobs, family, etc), but nothing about their personalities.

In terms of the murder mystery, the plot was good. There are many red herrings here, and I did not guess who the murderer was, which is always refreshing. I love books where there are many suspects, and Plaid and Plagiarism definitely has a lot! But not too many to make it confusing or over-the-top, which I appreciate.

Since this is book one of a new series, I definitely would read more books from this author and in this series. The setting was great fun, and made me want to move to Scotland and open a bookshop. There are also great secondary characters to make things a bit livelier, and the town and people of Inversgail should lend plenty of inspiration for future plots. I’m hoping that the four main ladies are given a bit more personality in future books.

Bottom Line: Solid setting and plot, just lacking in character development for our leads. I rated Plaid and Plagiarism three stars on Goodreads.

Links to Plaid and Plagiarism, which releases today, on Amazon and Goodreads

Link to Molly MacRae’s (the authors) Pinterest page here.   She has compiled a page of some of the books sold in Yon Bonnie Books. What fun that they are real books! I discovered this on my internet search to see if Inversgail was a real place (it’s not).

And here’s a link to my Pinterest page inspired by Plaid and Plagiarism  here.

Doesn’t this sound like a cute read? Have you ever been to Scotland? One day I hope to get there!

19 thoughts on “ARC Review: Plaid and Plagiarism (The Highland Bookshop Mystery Series: Book 1) by Molly MacRae

    1. Yeah – the setting was so cute and fun! Even if the characters were lacking a bit. I have high hopes that the next book in the series will flesh out the characters a bit more.
      I kept wanting to brew a pot of tea and have some fresh baked scones while reading this book!


  1. Not one of the characters stuff out as memorable? That’s tough; sometimes with these series the author really focuses on one character and then in book two highlights another. But if NO ONE us emphasized, I’m not sure I would keep reading.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah – I see what you mean about not wanting to continue on reading! The setting is quite enchanting however, and I do have hopes that the characters will be more fleshed out and memorable in the next book. It’s tough sometimes with mystery series that have a lot of main characters like the main four ladies in this book. All four were fine, but just not all that memorable!

      Liked by 1 person

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