Hooked on Ewe
A Scottish Highlands Mystery, Book #2
By Hannah Reed
Author’s website: http://www.queenbeemystery.com/
Brought to you by OBS Reviewer Daniele
It’s early September in Glenkillen, Scotland, when American expat (and budding romance novelist) Eden Elliott is recruited by the local inspector to act as a special constable. Fortunately it’s in name only, since not much happens in Glenkillen.
For now Eden has her hands full with other things: preparing for the sheepdog trial on the MacBride farm—a fundraiser for the local hospice—and helping her friend Vicki with her first yarn club skein-of-the-month deliveries. Everything seems to be coming together—until the head of the welcoming committee is found strangled to death with a club member’s yarn.
Now Eden feels compelled to honor her commitment as constable and herd together the clues, figure out which ones are dogs, and which ones will lead to a ruthless killer . . .
Hooked on Ewe is the delightful second book in the cozy Scottish Highlands Mystery series. I really liked the first book in the series, Off Kilter, and was not disappointed here. It is a lively romp through the lush Scottish Highlands, complete with a strong protagonist and quirky supporting characters.
It is early fall in the village of Glenkillen and time for the annual charity event, the September Sheep Trials, benefitting the town’s hospice program put on by the Glenkillen Sheep Dog Association, and it takes place at the MacBride Farm this year. Eden Elliott is an American staying at the farm owned by her friend Vicki and Vicki’s testy half-sister Kirstine. Eden has fled Chicago in efforts to rid herself of past ghosts and spends her time researching Scotland and writing her first romance novel. Though still treated as an outsider, the locals seem to be warming up to her a bit, and she is making friends and volunteering for the sheep trials. Before the day even really gets underway, Inspector Jamieson recruits her to be a special constable (volunteer policeman) because his current SC is to go to police training. The position is supposed to be in name only so Eden readily agrees. There is little crime in Glenkillen so what could possibly happen?
Before the day is out, Eden finds herself in the middle of a murder investigation when volunteer coordinator Ilsa Lyndsey rolls literally onto Eden’s feet. Ilsa was a controlling, unpleasant woman, but no one deserves her fate. When Sean, the other SC, does not step up to control the scene, Eden dives right in. Eden’s investigative style is bold (read American), and since she is inexperienced her judgments and actions are sometimes hasty. She does, after all, have to weed through a long list of suspects who provide plenty of omissions, lies, and misdirection before the truth emerges. There are plenty of suspects to garner consisting of all of the recipients of the skein of the month club (yarn is the murder weapon), the welcome committee volunteers including the victim’s sister-in-law, the head of the hospice, a cupcake baker, and Ilsa’s husband. Along with Eden, I found it difficult to rule out suspects and thus did not figure out whodunit until late in the story. I actually suspected one person all along, if for no other reason than there was not much emphasis placed on her, but I was wrong.
Reed’s descriptions of the Highlands are splendid, and I felt the cool misty mornings and awe of the luxurious rolling green landscape. I wish I could settle down by the fire at the local pub Thistle and Kilt. I learned tidbits about sheep trials and sheering and about yarn making. I am geeky so I found this all to be interesting. The characters are well developed and distinctive without crossing over into caricatures or stereotypes. Inspector Jamieson is still mysterious at this point, and I hope we learn more about him in future installments. The potential romance between Eden and her fishing guide neighbor Leith is barely hinted at so I look forward to seeing where that goes. I think I would really like to hang out with Leith’s dog Kelly.
I truly enjoyed my time in Scotland via Hooked on Ewe and cannot wait to return for further adventures. With a likable main character who can handle herself in precarious situations and interesting circumstances surrounding crimes, I hope there are many books to come. I recommend this to any cozy fan, especially those who don’t care much for the inclusion of romance (no love triangle yet) and those who want an exotic locale.