Bookseller Delaney Nichols befriends a Loch Ness monster enthusiast; when he stands accused of murder she'll do whatever it takes to learn who the killer is—and whether Nessie herself is really lurking in the Scottish waters.
Delaney Nichols is delighted with her life in Edinburgh, working at The Cracked Spine—a shop that specializes in hard-to-find books and artifacts. With a job she loves, and her fast approaching marriage to devastatingly handsome Scottish pub-owner Tom Shannon, Delaney's life could be straight out of a fairy tale—at least it would be, if the pastor meant to perform the wedding ceremony hadn't recently passed away. Outside the church where Delaney is searching for another reverend, she stumbles across Norval Fraser: an elderly man obsessed with the Loch Ness monster. Always attracted to the interesting and unusual, Delaney befriends Norval. But when his nephew is found dead, the police decide Norval's obsession has moved from monsters to murder.
With a wedding to plan, her family arriving soon from Kansas, and the arrival of an over-the-top Texan with a wildly valuable book, Delaney's plate is full to bursting, but she can't abandon her new friend. Determined to help Norval, she sets out to learn the truth. The Loch Ness buries its secrets deeply, but Delaney is determined to dig them up—whether Nessie likes it or not.
Set in Edinburgh, Scotland, The Loch Ness Papers is the fourth in the Scottish Bookshop series by Paige Shelton.
About the Author
PAIGE SHELTON had a nomadic childhood, as her father's job as a football coach took her family to seven different towns before she was even twelve years old. After college at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, she moved to Salt Lake City. She thought she'd only stay a couple years, but instead she fell in love with the mountains and a great guy who became her husband. After many decades in Utah, she and her family moved to Arizona. She writes the Scottish Bookshop Mystery series, which begins with The Cracked Spine.
Read an Excerpt
The rain fell in sheets and the clouds grumbled angrily. I sought cover under a narrow brick awning, but the few moments I'd spent in the downpour had soaked me enough that my hair was sure to poof when it dried. I wrapped my arms around myself and sent the clouds an impolite thought or two.
It wasn't that I wasn't used to the rain. I'd been in Scotland for just over a year and I'd seen lots of rain. However, this July storm had caught me off guard.
Also, I was struck with an affliction; I had a hard time remembering to bring along an umbrella — a brollie, as some of my native Scottish friends called it. I'd purchased many over the past year, leaving behind forgotten brollies in my cottage, at my fiancé's house, and at The Cracked Spine, the bookshop in Grassmarket where I worked and spent most of my time.
After my evil eye up to the clouds, I looked around for a place I could pop in and buy yet another one. There were no shops nearby, no take-away restaurants selling fish and chips or fried haggis; no one seemed to be selling anything. But as I truly took notice of what was around me, my irritation with my ill preparedness as well as my desire to find a shop selling umbrellas dissipated. I'd never before ventured to this area inside the city of Edinburgh. Dean Village wasn't far from Grassmarket, just a quick bus ride, but it was as if I'd discovered yet another world. I'd disembarked the bus one stop earlier than planned because at that moment there had been no foreboding clouds above, and the walkway next to the Leith River, which ran through the village, seemed like the perfect place to stroll. It had been, just not for very long.
The village's old stone buildings, stacked on the slopes up from the river, reminded me of something someone would use as a model for a holiday display; sprinkle on some snow and voila! The 12th century architecture was all similar, except for the colors of the stones used. Some were white, some black, others red, and some even yellow. The varied colors gave the village a sense of playfulness and lent a cozy comfort to the close-set structures.
Originally populated with millers and weavers all those centuries ago, it was now mostly a residential neighborhood with old cobblestone roads, and structures repurposed to be apartment buildings and B and Bs. I'd learned that many buildings in Edinburgh had been rebuilt a time or two. The original wood structures had fallen victim to fire from flames that had been used to warm and illuminate. I wasn't sure if the stone structures I looked at today were original or replacements, and I made a mental note to research the answer.
Just as the enjoyable scenery began to perk me up, my eyes landed on what I suspected was my destination. Between me and the beautiful spires of the church on the hill were not only the river and the walkway, but a bridge and a forest. In all fairness, it was a small forest, exaggerated in my mind by the falling rain. It wouldn't have been a daunting trip under clear skies, but at the moment it seemed an expansive journey.
Fortunately, just as I was about to utter some unkind grumbles, the rain let up, and it transitioned from a downpour to a mist — the kind that still soaked you but did so slightly more politely than the torrential version.
"Go now!" I quietly exclaimed to myself, knowing my window of opportunity might close quickly.
I scurried up to the Dean Bridge and ran along Queensferry Road as cars and busses passed me by. I thought about trying to hail one, but truly, the church wasn't that far away. I could see its tall windows and the full view of its spires the second I stepped onto the bridge.
I had been told to use the red door on the side of the building located on Belgrave instead of the front doors. With my head down and my backpack lifted to cover at least a little of my hair, I took the corner onto Belgrave. Out of my lowered peripheral vision I spied the door, but not the person who must have just exited it.
"Oh!" I said as I skimmed a shoulder.
"Gracious," he said, his voice almost as wobbly as his legs.
I grabbed his arm gently to keep him from falling.
"I'm so sorry," I said, glad he stayed upright. "Are you all right?"
"Aye." He blinked up at me with clear blue eyes behind water-streaked glasses. A few strands of gray hair were slicked across the top of his head.
I continued to hold his bony elbow in my hand — I didn't want to let go until I knew he was steady.
"Aye, I'm fine," he continued. "Though I'd like verra much tae continue on. It's a wee bit blashie oot here."
I knew that "blashie" meant "rainy." I'd heard my landlords Elias and Aggie use the Scots word more than a few times now.
"Right." I looked around. "Can I help you get somewhere?"
"I think I'm fine. I live just across the way." He smiled with false teeth that shifted ever so slightly with the gesture.
He was old. I was caught between insisting on going with him and not offending him. Finally, since we were both so wet we couldn't get any wetter, I nodded.
"All right. Again, I'm sorry," I said.
"Not tae worry, lassie. It's not every day I get tae run into a young lovely." He winked.
I smiled and let go of his elbow. With sure steps that were a little hitched to the right — though maybe that was because of the big satchel he had over his shoulder — he walked around me. I thought for a moment that he was unsure of which direction to go, but after a brief hesitation, he seemed figure it out. I watched as he made his way across the street to a row of tall, narrow, brick apartments that reminded me of town houses, though I hadn't heard them described that way in Scotland. I thought about following just to make sure he was okay, but if Elias had taught me anything, it was that Scottish men, particularly those over sixty (and under too, probably), were proud enough that my offers of help might be more offensive than considerate.
I turned again and hurried toward the red door. Just as I put my hand on the knob I spotted something on the ground.
Inside a sealed plastic sandwich bag was a deck of cards. Protected from the rain by the plastic, the deck was facedown and secured with a rubber band. I crouched and carefully gathered the bag. I'd seen the illustration on the back of the top card before, and I knew it immediately. Nessie, the Loch Ness Monster, in all her cartoonish glory, rose from the water and sent a vicious sneer to anyone who might be looking. I couldn't determine when the artwork had been created, but I'd researched enough about the old girl to know the deck of cards might come from as far back as the beginning of the last century.
I thought the cards might have fallen from the old man's satchel, but that was just a hunch. I took off in a slippery run across the street, but he was nowhere in sight. No one was in sight, probably because it was raining and no one in their right mind would remain outside. At least not without a brollie.
I needed to get in from the rain. I didn't hurry since I was now drenched to the bone, but with quick steps I made my way back to the church's door. I was glad it was unlocked as I did what I'd been instructed to do and made my way inside. Once there, I didn't know what to do but drip for a minute. As soon as I felt semi-presentable, I would seek out who I'd come to find, the woman who would hopefully help.
Despite the rain, the sweet man I'd almost knocked over, and the interesting deck of cards, I had a purpose in mind. I had a wedding to save.
"Did you fall in the river?" the woman asked with one of the lightest accents I'd heard since moving to Scotland. Maybe no accent at all. "Or is it really raining that hard?"
I'd seen her a few seconds after I'd entered the building. She'd passed by, doubling back when she realized someone was dripping in the coatroom. She wore faded jeans and a black sweater. Her hair was cut boyishly short and her black-framed glasses made her look both intelligent and, surprising to me, feminine.
"Raining that hard," I said. "I thought a stroll would be fun, but I ... well, you can see how that turned out."
"Here." She reached into a jam-packed shelf against a side wall, and somewhere in the mess of shoes, jackets, and other winter wear, found and grabbed a couple of towels. "Dry off. Though I feel like I should offer you a change of clothes."
"I'm okay." I dried my hands and extended one. "Are you Reverend Bellows, by chance?"
"That's me, but I prefer Reverend Nisa or just Nisa."
We shook; I cringed a little at my cold fingers. "Sorry about that. It's nice to meet you. I'm Delaney Nichols."
"Did we have an appointment, Delaney?"
"No." I put a towel to the ends of my ponytail, hoping I was calming and not feeding the frizz that was unquestionably in my near future. "I got your name from my fiancé's father, Artair Shannon. He told me to come in through the side door to find you quickly and easily. I need your help."
She smiled. "A lovely man. Well, any friend of his, and so on. Come through to my office."
I followed her down a hallway and into a small, pristine office. The bookshelves behind the desk were packed so evenly that they looked more like two-dimensional paintings than shelves with books. The desktop was vacant, even of dust, it seemed. Two colorful prints adorned two walls, both of them portraying golden and rosy sunsets. There were no windows, but the paintings were probably the reason the space didn't immediately feel closed off and claustrophobic.
"Have a seat," Nisa said.
I looked at the fabric on the chair. "Do you have any more towels?"
"It's fine. Please, make yourself comfortable."
I sat with a strained smile. I was going to soak the chair. I was going to soak everything in my near vicinity until I dried.
"How can I help you, Delaney Nichols?" she asked.
There was something about people who lived their lives for God. Not every religious person I'd met over the years had a welcoming and confident demeanor, as if they truly believed everything was always going to be okay, but Reverend Nisa had it. Artair had said I would like her immediately. It seemed he was correct.
"Since I showed up unannounced and don't want to take up too much of your time, I'll cut to the chase. Is there any chance you could officiate my marriage ceremony? Next Saturday." I smiled. I hadn't called first on purpose. I'd wanted to meet her, see her in person to know if I truly wanted to ask her to take on the task. Even if my bookish voices, those tricks of my intuition, remained silent, my gut instincts would surely kick in on their own and tell me if there was any reason at all why I shouldn't want her to be involved. My instincts had kicked in immediately, and I sensed that she would be a wonderful addition to one of the most important days of my life.
Her eyebrows came together. "In eight days?"
"Well, nine, if you include today. I know it's short notice, and though it's technically correct that you were my second choice, I didn't know about you at all until my ... original officiating choice ... well, he died."
"I'm so sorry."
"Me too. He was a sweet man. The reverend of a small country church."
"Yes, that's him."
"I knew him. He was a friend and his death came too soon." She fell into thought a moment. "Well, you do know Artair. And Dale was lovely ... Aye, I think I can help, if the church is available. Normally, I like to spend some time with the couple, but if you were working with Dale, I'm sure he already did that part."
"He did. Tom and I both adored him, and he seemed to be happy that we were getting married, happy that Tom was finally settling down." I cleared my throat, wishing I hadn't added that last part, even if it was true. Tom had dated many women over the years, and his love-'em-and-leave-'em reputation had been front and center with everyone, including Dale O'Brien, a lovely man who'd had a pint or two in Tom's pub over the years, and had been a friend of my boss, Edwin MacAlister.
"Tom? Artair's son?" Nisa asked as if she was trying to place him.
"I don't think I've met him. Is he older than you by a bit?"
I smiled. She thought my comment about him finally settling down meant he was older. In fact, it was another reason altogether. "No, he's handsomer."
She blinked but picked up on what I was saying quickly. She smiled too. "And you're sure he's ready?"
"I am. Dale was sure too."
Nisa nodded. "I'd love to help, however, I would like to meet with the two of you. Just briefly. I wouldn't feel right just jumping in blind. Can you understand?"
"Sure. Tom would be happy to meet. When?"
"This Saturday morning?" she said. "Here? Oh, I don't even know if the church is available next Saturday. You'd think I'd know these things, but I have a secretary. Let me check ..."
"Well, that's also something ... We would like to exchange vows in the bookshop where I work. Then have a reception at Tom's pub. It's not fancy, and it's not a church. How do you feel about that?"
"Neither of you attend a church?"
"No, but I grew up going to church. So did Tom, back before Artair started attending your church. Neither Tom nor I have gone in quite some time."
"I see. Well, I have no problem with your plan, but I would like to know why you and Tom don't just have a secular celebrant officiate."
"I'll let Tom answer for himself, but my reason is — though I don't attend church and though my beliefs aren't traditional, I still have some beliefs that make me want a splash of religion in the mix." I held my breath. I was being as honest as I could be, but I didn't want to offend her. However, that was another part of the reason I was there, dripping in Reverend Nisa's office, to see if she would be offended by my beliefs and thoughts.
"A splash? I like that. Those of us who work in this world understand that sometimes even a splash is a good start."
I smiled and nodded expectantly.
Nisa's eyebrows came together as she tapped a finger on the edge of her spotless desk. She didn't think for long. "Yes, I would be happy to help." She stood. "Let me check my calendar. My secretary isn't here, but she keeps my schedule in her office. Give me a minute."
At least that answered where she kept her calendar. After she left, I wondered about all the other items that belonged on a desk. Once I was alone I looked around with more vigilant eyes. Where were all the things? Though my desk wasn't too messy, it usually had at least a few items on it. Pens, papers, tissues, and in my case, maybe one or two of the rare and valuable collectibles that my boss, Edwin, had accumulated over the years. Of course, not everyone was lucky enough to get to have their office like mine, but I couldn't remember ever seeing a desk this ... vacant, nor an office this pristine. Reverend Nisa took the whole cleanliness next to godliness thing all the way up to the heavens.
My eyes finally landed on something I thought looked out of place. On a lower shelf, hidden mostly by the desk, were two books, askew on their sides as if they'd been put there hurriedly. I tilted my head and tried to read the spines. One book was written by a local author, Brodie Watson. In fact, Edwin and Brodie were "drinking mates," as Rosie, my grandmotherly coworker and Edwin's long-time friend, called them as she'd widen her eyes. I remembered being surprised by her exaggeration because, though I'd seen Edwin drink, I'd never seen him drink very much. At Rosie's description, Edwin had only lifted his eyebrows and muttered something about Brodie being a bad influence. I hoped to meet the esteemed author someday.
From my angle, the other book looked like a children's book, with a thin, colorful spine. I didn't want to get out of the chair and look, mostly because I would make telltale wet footprints on the tidy floor. I focused on the squiggly letters one at a time and said, "Oh!" aloud when I realized I was spelling "Loch Ness." The cards! Maybe they didn't belong to the old man; maybe they were Nisa's. I grabbed them out of my bag just as she came back into the office.
"I'm available both this Saturday morning to talk to you and Tom, and next Saturday for the ceremony," she said as she remained standing.
"That's great news. Thank you!" I stood too.
"Well, you are marrying into Artair's family, and he's one of the kindest people I've ever known. I look forward to meeting Tom, and maybe asking why he doesn't ever join his father for church on Sundays."
I nodded. "That seems fair."
"This Saturday morning, then?"
"Definitely." I cleared my throat. "I found something right outside the door as I came in. I wonder if they belong to you?" I extended the baggie-encased cards.(Continues…)
Excerpted from "The Loch Ness Papers"
Copyright © 2019 Paige Shelton-Ferrell.
Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I received this book via Netgalley in return for an honest review. I really liked this cozy mystery set in Scotland, near the famous Loch Ness where Nessie is reported to live. Nessie is central to the story, and I liked the way the author includes her in the finale. I loved the bookshop and all the people that worked there, and the romance between the lady from Kansas and the man from Scotland was great. A really fun read.
Is a wonderful writer , i read all of her books i enjoyed every one of them so very much!!!
Amazing! Incredible! Phenomenal addition to a strong, amazing series! Delaney is such a strong, smart protagonist; I can never get enough of her or her handsome bar owner. I loved the stories of Nessie and the divide between the characters believing and not believing. Paige does such a wonderful job growing characters to make you love them and want them to turn out alright in the end. I'm not going to lie...I was a little too excited at the mention of Oregon in the book. Her way of tying characters back to the states are just enough to make it feel like the world isn't really THAT big afterall. We've all had those instances in life so it doesn't seem far-fetched at all. My murder is unfortunate and the mystery surrounding the possibilities feel endless until the end when Paige neatly wraps everything up with a big, beautiful bow. It was all done so perfectly! I can't wait for the next stage in everyone's lives.
I have loved this series from the first book. And this newest story in the series was great. I loved meeting Delaney's parents and brother when they come from Kansas - for The Wedding. I just wish we got a little bit more at the end - of the actual wedding. But I love the entire cast of characters and the love and affection they have for one another. I look forward to many more books in this series!
I always look forward to the beginning of the year because it almost always means a new Scottish Bookshop Mystery is about to come out! This is by far one of my favorite cozy mystery series because it has all the brilliant aspects you need to enjoy a mystery. Books, bookish voices, delightful characters, Scotland, and Hector :) The Loch Ness Papers has become my new favorite book in the Scottish Bookshop Series. This is book four in the series, which originally started with The Cracked Spine. The Loch Ness Papers has the perfect mix of folk lore, murder, and family/friends. I truly enjoyed the journey that intertwined Scottish History and the crime at hand. Scotland has so many great stories, but the Loch Ness Monster might be one of the most magical. It’s a joy to be able to read a book and be transported to a place you’ve never been. I’ve always wanted to see Scotland and the area surrounding Loch Ness, and now I’ve at the very least, experienced it! I loved meeting the new characters and learning their stories. Delaney was completely relatable as she worked through the details of her big day on top of her already curious mind to help solve a murder. I love her determination to help those in need and help bring closure to every case. The relationship between her and Detective Winters is fun to read because now he knows now that she has a knack for solving crime. I loved getting to know Delaney’s family this time too. It’s amazing to see how much her character has grown even though we didn’t read about her growing up, I can see it through her family that she’s become the person she’s always meant to be. Which I think is everyone’s dream. To be where you’re meant to be and doing what you love to do. Is Scotland calling you yet? I’m already looking forward to (hopefully) next years release and my next Scottish Adventure! Thank you, Paige Shelton for this incredible read.
Dollycas’s Thoughts Delaney and Tom’s wedding is just a couple of weeks away and they are in need of a new pastor to perform the ceremony after their original one passes away. On her way into the church to meet a potential replacement, she meets Norval Fraser, a man who has researched the Loch Ness Monster his entire life. Delaney finds herself drawn into the man’s obsession and they become fast friends. He is very protective of all of his papers and wants to be sure someone will continue his work after he is gone. He had hoped his nephew would take the mantle but when the nephew is killed and police believe he is responsible he reaches out to Delaney for help to find the murderer and to protect his papers. Delaney already has her hands full with her upcoming wedding and her family arriving from Kansas but she can’t say no to this man. Believing the truth will set Nordal free she jumps in with both feet to find it. But she may be up against the beast itself before she can get there. I loved absolutely everything about this story! A wedding, a priceless book, Americans visiting Scotland for the first time, and Nessie featured throughout it all. Who has not heard the tale of the Loch Ness Monster? It was about time Delaney paid the creature a visit to see for herself if their really something residing in the Loch. Nordal’s vast amount of papers and his stories really pushed her desire to see if the monster really exists. The man is clearly haunted by his memories and Delaney realizes he needs someone to pay attention. It was heartwarming the way she took this man under her wing, especially because she herself is so new to Scotland. Her need to prove his innocence overtakes almost everything else, including her wedding but her hunky pub owner fiance completely understands. That leads me to the romantic side of this story. Delaney has found the perfect mate in Tom and we see it abundantly in this story. He takes care of her but trusts her and gives her the freedom to pursue her endeavors. He is ready to step in when she needs him but knows when to back off. She supports him thoroughly too. I am excited about their future. This installment brings her adopted Scotland family, the staff at the bookstore, her landlords, Tom and his father together with her biological Kansas family to celebrate their upcoming nuptials. Delaney gets sidetracked with the murder and her new friend, so I was so pleased the way the two families got along. Meeting her folks and her brother gave us a clearer picture of the protagonist I have grown to love over the course of this series. Again, Paige Shelton’s words deliver her readers to Scotland. The town, the countryside, the rain, and the infamous loch. We follow Delaney each and every step of the way. Ms. Shelton paints such vivid imagery. You will find myth, a rich history, mystery and love within these pages. The ending left me breathless. Such fantastic storytelling took me away. The reality around me seemed to disappear as I became immersed in a tale I couldn’t put down. In fact, I sad when the story ended. My virtual escape ended much too soon. I just was not ready to leave Scotland behind. This book will be on my list of best reads of 2019 for so many reasons. It can be enjoyed on its own but to experience the character development and the passage of time I strongly encourage reading the series from the start. This story receives my Paradise Rating! 10 stars!
I’ve read this series since the beginning and have to say that I recommend reading the books in order. In order to understand how the characters have gotten to this place in their journey, you need to have the background stories. The sleuth in this series is Delaney. She has moved from Kansas to Scotland for a job at The Cracked Spine, a bookstore of some repute. Delaney has found her new home in Edinburgh and is engaged to the love of her life. Her family has arrived for Delaney’s marriage just as murder has occurred. At the same time, a mystery regarding the Loch Ness Monster is provided to Delaney to solve. She takes it on it hopes that it will prove a man innocent of the charge of murder. The story twists and turns and, as these cozy mysteries do, comes out right at the end. I’ll be interested to see where the series heads from this point on. I was provided a digital advance reader copy of this book by the publisher via Netgalley.
Delaney Nichols is heading to the alter with her Scottish fiancé and a week before the nuptials she needs to find a new minister to perform the ceremony. As she is visiting the prospective pastor she literally runs into an older gentleman that brings intrigue, and murder, into the week leading up to her wedding. Intrigue in that he believes in Nessie, the Loch Ness Monster, and murder when his nephew is found murdered and he is the main suspect. Even with less than a week to go before her wedding, and the wedding shop with her dress suddenly closes and disappears along with her dress, Delaney is certain about two things: Tom IS the man for her and the elderly Norval Fraser did NOT murder his nephew. She’s still on the fence about Nessie though. This delightful story brings an American midwestern farm girl to Edinburgh and it’s quite an enjoyable read. I particularly enjoyed the spin on Nessie and even the nod to my neck of the woods here in the US, Oklahoma City. I seem to be drawn to books based in Scotland and this one found it’s way to my notice and I am glad it did. While the first book I have read in this series, it was just fine as a standalone, though I want to read the prior entries. Looking forward to seeing what the future holds for Delaney, Tom and the gang at The Cracked Spine.
Delaney is excited for her upcoming wedding not only are her parents coming to town but she gets to spend the rest of her life with the man she loves. Learning that she needed a new officiant for her wedding she heads out to the church to ask a reverend that was recommended if they would be available for her wedding. While heading to the church she runs into an elderly gentleman named Norval that she has an immediate connection with. She finds a pack of cards and realizes that Norval must have dropped them. She finds out where he lives to return the cards and learns that he is a Loch Ness monster enthusiast. Delaney befriends Norval and he asks her to continue on in his search for the illusive creature. Delaney agrees to think it over and continues on with her everyday life. When Norval shows up at the shop worried about his nephew Delaney goes with him and finds the young man murdered. Who could have killed him and why? Did it have something to do with Norval's research or could it have been one of his many investors? The police are looking at Norval and although she hasn't known him long Delaney doesn't believe he could have done it. Follow along as she tries to clear his name but with all the she has going on will she be able to? With her family in town, a lost dress, and an American with a book and story to tell will she be able to find the time to be of some help to Norval? This was a great read that truly transports you to Scotland. I've never been there but when I read a book from this series I feel as if I'm there. I look forward to being transported again with the next book in the series!!!
Reading this story makes me want to explore every nook and cranny of The Cracked Spine Bookshop, and follow Delaney’s footsteps as she sleuths the streets of Scotland. Danger, love, mystery, history, and myth all unite to create a story so memorable and mesmerizing I didn’t want it to end! I’d rate it 10 stars, if I could. The plot grips you from the beginning and doesn’t let go until the last word. I’ll think about this story for a long time to come. I was emotionally moved by elderly Norval Fraser’s endless quest to prove the Loch Ness monster exists. I never doubted the protagonist, Delaney Nichols would step right into the fray surrounding Norval and the past that haunts him while all the while planning her wedding to Tom. The ending is fantastic in more ways than one! I highly recommend this exciting cozy mystery to readers. I reviewed a digital arc provided by NetGalley and Minotaur/St. Martin’s Press. Thank you.
myths-legends, Scotland, Loch Ness, law-enforcement, books, wedding, family, friendship, murder, cosy-mystery What do the beautiful Nessie, a father's disappearance from Scotland during WW2, an old man's obsession with Nessie, and an extremely valuable copy of Malory's Le Morte d'Artur have in common? Enter Delaney Nichols who investigates the personal history of the old man with the Nessie obsession and the murder of his less than honest nephew. Her friends at the bookstore, her soon to be groom, her family from America, and the overworked police inspector work together to make sense of why the life's work of the elderly man might have real bearing on the murder of the nephew. This entertaining tale is filled with interesting characters, plot twists, red herrings, and Nessie history. Well worth the read! This is the first book I've read in the series, but that didn't detract at all. I requested and received a free ebook copy from St Martin's Press via NetGalley. Thank you!
Delaney Nichols is one very, very busy young lady. A bit over a year ago, she was laid off from her job at the museum and had decided that what she really needed was an adventure. When she saw the advertisement from Edinburgh, Scotland – someone wanted to hire someone with just her skills – she was ready to pack up and leave Kansas. She’s now been in Edinburgh for a year, she’s acquired a wonderful set of friends she calls her ‘Scottish family’ and she will be getting married in a few days. Her family, mother, father, and brother will even be in Edinburgh in just a few days. On top of all that, the officiant that was to perform the wedding ceremony has died and she has to find another one – with only a week left until the wedding. It is raining cats and dogs and Delaney is heading into the church to speak to an officiant recommend by her future father-in-law. As she dashes in toward the red door, she smacks into an old man, Norval Fraser. For some reason, she feels drawn to Norval as she helps him right himself. Then, after he departs, she notices something lying on the ground – obviously, it belongs to the old man. He certainly seemed an odd, blatherskite sort of fellow. He’s obsessed with the Loch Ness Monster (Nessie) and wants Delaney to take over his research and prove that Nessie really exists. A couple of days later Delaney encounters Norval awaiting her outside the bookstore where she works. It is barely 5:30 AM and Norval says he’s been waiting for some time. He’s worried about his nephew who doesn’t answer his phone. Delaney doesn’t understand the fierce worry but agrees to accompany Norval to his nephew’s home – where they find him deceased -stabbed in the back. The police believe Norval is the murderer because of the knife and fingerprints – but – those can be misleading. Delaney doesn’t believe that Norval is capable of that kind of violence, but then she doesn’t know him that well. At any rate, she’ll do what she can to help find the killer and prove Norval innocent. Now, in addition to all of the other things she has to do, Delaney has to find a killer. Enter a long, tall Texan dressed in black and you just add another layer to the mystery. Who is he really and why is he trying to return a book that the bookstore never owned? The book is a very, very valuable one about King Arthur and the round table, but there is just something fishy about both the man and his story. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and I hope you will as well. The characters are wonderful as you’ll know if you have read the series from the beginning. If you haven’t, I’d suggest you read the previous book because you’ll love them. The book is well-written and tightly plotted with multiple mysteries, new characters added to the series and a really lovely romance. What more could you ask for? I voluntarily read and reviewed an Advanced Reader Copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
THE LOCH NESS PAPERS is a delightful, charming novel that exemplifies escapism at its best. I was instantly transported to The Cracked Spine Bookshop and the streets of Scotland. The book possesses characters that are hard to forget, and the plot is intricate enough to make you want to finish the book in one day. THE LOCH NESS PAPERS features charming characters, a monster of renown, wit and allure, and an altogether wonderful cast of characters. Reading it is the next best thing to hopping a plane to Scotland.
The Loch Ness Papers by Paige Shelton is the fourth book in the Scottish Bookshop series and a delightful addition to this series. Delaney and Tom are getting married and Delaney's family is coming to visit from Kansas. While trying to find a new minister to officiate the wedding, Delaney meets Norval Fraser. He's a Loch Ness monster enthusiast who has been researching the monster for years. Ms. Shelton's descriptive writing draws the reader into Edinburgh and the characters. Having read the previous books in the series, I've come to feel like Edwin, Rosie, Hamlet, Tom and Delaney have all become friends. I love spending time with them and enjoying the sights, history and stories of Scotland and Edinburgh. I also liked that Ms. Shelton included Nessie's history and the possibilities of her existence into the story. The plot moved swiftly with very few suspects and enough twists to keep me guessing. However, this time I did feel somewhat of a disconnect with Delaney. She got so involved with the murder, Norval and the mystery American that I felt like she neglected her family and her wedding. All in all it was a good read and I'll definitely be looking for more in this series. I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book from Minotaur Books/St. Martin's Press via NetGalley. All of the above opinions are my own.
When the story started I thought it might focus around King Arthur and then maybe the Loch Ness Monster. But of course then there was a murder and let's not forget the wedding. I do not want to give any spoilers so let's just say it all comes together nicely in the end. I really enjoyed the history/mythology aspect of this story and it has unique twists that will make you think twice. There are characters you'll want to root for and others you'll want to get to know better. This is the fourth book in A Scottish Bookshop Mystery series but could easily be read as a stand alone. Thanks to St. Martin's Press and NetGalley for an ARC of this book. The opinions expressed are my own.
The Loch Ness Papers is the fourth book in the Scottish Bookshop Mystery series. Delaney Nichols is scurrying to meet with Rev. Bellows to see if she will be able to marry her and Tom Shannon when she bumps into Norval Fraser coming out of the church. As Delaney is about to enter the church she notices a deck of cards on the ground with a picture of the Loch Ness Monster on the cards. After meeting with Rev. Bellows Delaney goes across the street to where Norval lives and returns the cards. When she enters Norval flat, she notices papers and books piled all over. Norval explains that he has been researching Nessie since he was young, believing that Nessie does exist and taken his father when he was a young boy. Norval tells Delaney that he would like to give the papers to someone who will continue his work and not sell the papers. One morning when as Delaney arrives at The Cracked Spine she finds Norval waiting for her. He wants her to go with him to his great-nephew Gavin’s home. Norval says he has been trying to call him but he doesn’t answer. When they arrive they find the dead body of Gavin, having been stabbed. Evidence found at the scene leads the police to consider Norval as a person of interest. Delaney with the help of the staff at The Cracked Spine set out to clear Norval’s name. Another mystery that comes to Delaney’s attention happens when a good looking man from the states come to the bookstore with what appears to be a very valuable book that he claims to have found in his grandfather’s house. He says that his grandfather left a note in the book where he claims to have stolen the book from The Cracked Spine and would like for his grandson to return it one day. Edwin MacAllister, owner of the bookstore has no recollection of ever having the book. Something doesn’t ring true about his story and Delaney wants to know if the story is true. And as if Delaney didn’t have enough on her plate, her parents and brother have arrived for their daughter’s marriage. Fortunately, Elias and Aggie McKenna, Delaney’s landlords are more willing to show the family around Edinburgh. Another well-written and plotted story and most all the previous cast of enjoyable character are back to help tell the store. Ms. Shelton almost had me convinced that there is really a “Nessie”. I will be watching for the next book in this wonderful series.