A Wee Homicide in the Hotel
A Scotshop Mystery, Book #3
By Fran Stewart
Author Website: Franstewart.com
Hamelin is overflowing with tourists enjoying the Scottish-themed games—and most of them are donning tartans from Peggy Winn’s ScotShop. And her fourteenth-century ghostly companion, Dirk, has been indispensable, keeping an eye out for shoplifters and matching customer’s family names to their clan plaid.
Adding to the chaos is Big Willie, a longtime champion of the games, but not everyone is happy to have him in town. So when he misses the first event of the weekend, Peggy senses something is awry. After Willie is discovered dead in his hotel room, the victim of a bagpipe-related crime, Peggy decides it’s up to her and Dirk to suss out a murderer—because another death would really blow…(Goodreads)
A Wee Homicide in the Hotel, the third book in the ScotShop Mystery series, is bursting at the seams with Scottish charm and is sure to please fans of the series.
Hamelin, Vermont, is full of tourists come to town to celebrate the town’s annual Highland Games. With drummers, pipers, and contests of skill and strength, it offers fun for everyone. That is, until there is a threat to the President, shoplifting troubles arise, and one of the longtime competitors is found murdered….by Peggy. Readers go along with Peggy, her very own fourteenth century Scottish ghost Dirk, and her supportive friends and family to find out what really happened to Big Willie and if all of the sudden troubles are related.
A Wee Homicide in the Hotel gets off to a really slow start for me. In hindsight, I do not see that the subplot involving the President is necessary to the rest of the story at all. I feel like valuable reading time is wasted with the first one hundred or so pages of the book. Once the story focuses on Big Willie’s death and the shoplifting, things move along much more quickly, and this mystery becomes much more interesting. Even so, this is only a slightly better than ok read for me.
The characters are likable enough. Peggy is plucky and makes intelligent choices. Her relationship with Dirk has progressed with each addition to the series, and I like him much more than I did in book one. Stewart makes his naivety of modern life charming. Having to explain contemporary expressions and actions to Dirk could have easily been repetitive and tedious, but the juxtaposition of fourteenth and twenty-first centuries provides some levity and educational moments. The supporting characters, especially Peggy’s brother Drew and best friend Karoline, are well conceptualized and appealing. Throughout the book, I did find myself wanting to smack Peggy and Harper for their obtuse assumptions about each others’ feelings, and this is so frustrating. Hopefully, with the conclusion of this book, the pair will find a way to work things out. I always enjoy cozies that include animals, and Big Willie’s Scottish terrier Silla is my favorite character in this tale. The scenes told from her perspective are full of emotion and heartbreaking for this dog lover. Luckily, it looks like she will be part of Peggy’s future adventures.
There are three mystery threads in A Wee Homicide in the Hotel. As I mentioned above, the first thread involving the President is out of place and unneeded. The plots concerning Big Willie’s murder and the theft at least go together to tell a full story. I do think that the details surrounding the necklace in Peggy’s store are too farfetched to be truly authentic, but the connections between several of the characters do make for a more interesting resolution though.
I did not love A Wee Death in the Hotel, but the Scottish traditions and lore, along with the paranormal element and the dogs, make it more good than bad.