I’m delighted to be on the blog tour for Murder in the Scottish Hills, second in Lydia Travers’ Scottish Ladies’ Detective Agency series!
Title: Murder in the Scottish Hills
Series: Scottish Ladies’ Detective Agency #2
Author: Lydia Travers
Publication Date: May 26, 2023
When Maud McIntyre and her lady’s maid Daisy travel into the Scottish Highlands, the last thing they expect to find is a body on the train… Will these keen amateur sleuths stop a murderer in his tracks?
Edinburgh, 1911: When Maud McIntyre receives a letter from a maid called Rose, sharing her suspicions that something strange is happening in the house where she works, she and her assistant Daisy immediately travel to the Highlands to investigate.
But as they are changing trains, the body of a man falls from the carriage right in front of them, a bullet in his head. Maud and Daisy can’t believe it – they’ve waited ages for a new case, and now one has literally landed in front of them! And when the local police rule the death as a tragic accident, the pair have no choice but to investigate what they believe is a murder…
Arriving in the Scottish village, Maud and Daisy go undercover to begin their hunt for the murderer, while also investigating the strange behaviour of Rose’s employer, a local art dealer. As they begin to piece together the chain of events, Maud and Daisy wonder whether the cases might be linked. Is it possible the man on the train was killed to cover up something in the village? And, if so, who would do such a thing?
When a local artist is found murdered, Maud and Daisy become convinced the two cases are connected. Searching for the link between the deaths, will Maud and Daisy solve the case before another mysterious murder takes place?
A page-turning historical whodunnit, perfect for fans of the mysteries of Helena Dixon, Verity Bright, T.E. Kinsey and Catherine Coles.
I am positively enchanted by this series!
In this installment, Maud and Daisy are contacted by a maid who works for an art dealer. She fears the gallery is dealing in forged art and engages the agency’s services. They travel to the village of Braemar to investigate, and on the way, Maud literally has a man’s dead body drop into her lap.
They don’t intend to get involved in the murder investigation. But as they dig into the possible forgeries, there’s another murder, this time of the artist who may have been creating the fake works of art. Maud and Daisy realize that all three crimes may be interconnected.
I just love the relationship between Maud and Daisy! They aren’t superior and servant, they’re friends. And I like Maud, but Daisy seems like someone I would really enjoy hanging out with. I also appreciate the way Travers incorporates Daisy’s accent into the story. It isn’t written in such a way that it’s distracting to read, but it does help me “hear” it in my head. I had to look up a couple of the words she used, and “sweetiewife” may have just added itself to my vocabulary.
The mystery wasn’t extremely convoluted, and as I read through the story, the big reveal of the murderer’s identity wasn’t a tremendous surprise. The village of Braemar is small, and the cast of suspects was limited. But the reveal itself was clever, and it’s fun to see our lady detectives learn and work to improve their skills. I certainly don’t think I’d have the pluck to set myself out as a private investigator!
The hints of potential romance between Maud and Lord Hamish Urquhart are a treat, too. Maud really twists herself in knots trying to avoid admitting even an inkling of feelings for him, while he’s much clearer about his feelings for her. I hope we see more developments between them in future books.
And I loved the detail about Maud learning to work out with Indian clubs! My husband uses them to strengthen his arms and shoulders. I’m glad to know Maud won’t be a shrinking violet if she finds herself in a sticky situation. Maybe Daisy should quit poking fun at Maud over them and try them herself.
Kudos to Lydia Travers for an engaging series. Hopefully one day I’ll get to see Scotland for myself. Until then, I’ll live vicariously through our lady detectives.
Thanks to Bookouture and NetGalley for a review copy. All opinions here are mine, and I don’t say nice things about books I don’t actually like.
About the author:
Lydia Travers was born in London. She moved progressively north until settling with her husband in a village on the edge of the Scottish Highlands. She has raised children, bred dogs and kept chickens; and for as long as she can remember has written for pleasure. A former legal academic and practitioner with a PhD in criminology, she now runs self-catering holiday accommodation, sings in a local choir and is walked daily by the family dog.
Lydia also writes as Linda Tyler and her first novel under that name, Revenge of the Spanish Princess, won a 2018 Romance Writers of America competition for the beginning of an historical romance. Her second novel The Laird’s Secret was Commended in the 2021 Scottish Association of Writers’ Pitlochry Quaich competition for the beginning of a romantic novel. Mischief in Midlothian won the 2022 Scottish Association of Writers’ Constable Silver Stag trophy. She has had a number of short stories published in magazines, journals and anthologies in the UK, the USA and Australia.