Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for Death in the Highlands, the third in Fliss Chester’s delightful Cressida Fawcett series!
Book: Death in the Highlands
Author: Fliss Chester
Pub Day: June 22nd, 2023
Buy Link(s): Amazon
There’s a dangerous killer lurking by this loch… and only canny Cressida can track them down.
Scotland, June 1925. Socialite Cressida Fawcett has been invited to cast her interior design eye over the Stirling family’s new seat, Ayrton Castle, up in the Scottish Highlands. Thrilled to be spending the summer at the historic estate, Cressida fills her suitcase with this season’s hunting jackets – and some tartan for her little pug Ruby, of course!
But before the party is ready to tramp through the glens, shocking news puts paid to their plans. Hamish Glenkirk, former owner of Ayrton, has been found dead inside a turret room of the castle. The door was bolted from the inside, and the room is three storeys up, surrounded by impenetrable stone walls… How did the murderer get in? And out?
With Detective Andrews of Scotland Yard at least a day’s journey away, Cressida knows she needs to get to the bottom of this case – and fast. There’s no end of suspects among the hunting party. Could it be the local doctor whose wife left him for a fling with the now-dead laird? Or is the gamekeeper hiding secrets under his kilt?
Just as Cressida is closing in on the truth, a blood-curdling scream echoes through the mist. Another member of the party, and one of the suspects, has been shot. With a wee dram in hand, can Cressida find the killer before the bagpipes play for another victim?
An unputdownable and gripping cozy mystery which fans of Agatha Christie, T.E. Kinsey and Lee Strauss will love.
This is the third in Fliss Chester’s Cressida Fawcett series, and I love it!
Here we find Cressida and Dotty at Ayrton Castle in the Scottish Highlands. They’re visiting for the Glorious Twelfth, the opening of grouse hunting season. But the festivities soon lose their luster when Hamish Glenkirk, the former owner of Ayrton Castle, is found dead in a locked room in one of the castle’s turrets. As the castle is somewhat remote, assistance from Scotland Yard will be some time arriving. So Cressida takes it upon herself to start investigating.
At first glance, it appears that rather a lot of people had reason not to like Hamish Glenkirk. His own son Jack is one of them. Jack’s motive, the loss of his future inheritance since the castle was sold, seems to be stronger than most. But then Jack is shot and seriously injured. Accident? Or is the killer trying to strike again?
What a delightful take on the locked-room mystery Chester gives us! And so many red herrings to chase! She sets up one suspect after another, only to knock them down in due time and leave the reader back at square one trying to figure out whodunnit. And the locked room, with its windows far too small, is a puzzling murder scene. How did the killer get in and out of the room without being noticed?
The Bright Young Things that populate Cressida’s world, and indeed Cressida herself, are delightful, as always. (With the exception of Jack Glenkirk, who’s really not that pleasant.) Cressida and Dotty work wonderfully together, and the idea of Dotty out with a rifle hunting grouse makes me chuckle. I suspect Dotty would hunt grouse about as well as I would! Dotty’s brother Alfred makes an appearance here, and Cressida gets her hackles up a little when she sees him appearing to flirt with the daughter of Ayrton Castle. Could our Cressida be developing feelings toward Alfred that are more than just friendly? And will she ever admit that?
As a former prosecutor, my suspension of disbelief had to work overtime just a little when Cressida started taking evidence from the scene. I can kind of see why she did it; with actual police assistance some time away, it would have been easy for the killer to return to the scene and take away anything incriminating (if I recall correctly, that’s called spoliation of evidence – it’s been a hot minute since law school, though). But my prosecutorial side shuddered at the chain of custody nightmare that would have been in real life. It didn’t stop me loving the book, though!
Family drama, clues hidden in unusual places, a killer on the loose, and Cressida on the case. Once again, Fliss Chester has given us an enchanting story that kept me guessing. I loved it, and I am here for all of Cressida’s adventures!
About the author:
Fliss Chester lives in Surrey with her husband and writes historical cozy crime. When she is not killing people off in her 1940s whodunnits, she helps her husband, who is a wine merchant, run their business. Never far from a decent glass of something, Fliss also loves cooking (and writing up her favourite recipes on her blog), enjoying the beautiful Surrey and West Sussex countryside and having a good natter.