Wednesday, January 12, 2022

Murder at the Castle by M. B. Shaw -- BOOK REVIEW


Murder at the Castle by M. B. Shaw (2020, Pegasus Books)

Iris Grey is an up-and-coming portrait painter whose last commission landed her in the news – as much for her sleuthing skills as her brush work – when the subject of her painting was murdered. Now Baron Jock MacKinnon, Laird of Pitfeldy Castle, has hired her to paint the portrait of his fiancée as a wedding present for the stunning American socialite. Jock doesn’t know that his betrothed, Kathy Miller, wants Iris to investigate a series of threatening notes warning her to call off the wedding.

Iris heads up to Pitfeldy, on the Scottish coast north of Aberdeen. She rents an AirBnB in the quaint fishing village and settles in to paint Jock’s soon-to-be third Lady Pitfeldy. But when two dead bodies turn up in the ruined bothy, Iris finds herself once more called to solve a murder mystery.

Murder at the Castle has everything required for a modern-day mystery paying homage to the Golden Age. Iris makes a likeable, suitably quirky and independent amateur sleuth. There is a complicated plot involving several potential suspects, a village full of buried secrets, a collection of feuding family members, a church fair in the village, parties at the castle, and a sympathetic local policeman. Add in a romantic subplot and a side trip to Italy to liven things up. There are a couple of loose threads that don’t so much need tying up as just tucked back into the fuzzy weave of this cozy mystery, but that is a quibble. 

All in all, Murder at the Castle is a completely satisfying puzzler.


Get a taste for Murder at the Castle on Book Beginnings on Fridays where you can read the opening sentence and a Friday 56 teaser from page 56.

Murder at the Castle is the second book in M. B. Shaw’s Iris Grey series, following Murder at the Mill.

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