Death at a Scottish Wedding (A Scottish Isle Mystery)
“Connelly has created a labyrinth of twists and turns with suspects who are strong contenders one moment and drop to the bottom of the list the next.”
What could possibly be missing from a lovely winter wedding at a Scottish castle? Well, maybe a snowstorm and a murder. And that is exactly what author Lucy Connelly gives her readers in her new cozy mystery, Death at a Scottish Wedding.
When widowed doctor Emelia McRoy relocates and settles into the small community of Sea Isle Scotland, she immediately takes on the role of local doctor as well as medical examiner. Friendship comes easily to Em as she bonds with locals Abigail, Mara, Jasper, Tommy, and the more difficult Constable, Ewan Campbell.
The close knit group is invited to the wedding of their friend Angie and her fiancé Damien. A lavish affair to be held at Ewan’s family home, Morrigan’s Castle, the wedding is fraught with challenges right from the beginning.
Damien’s wealthy parents, especially his father, are not thrilled with Angie as a new family member. Her free attitude and gothic approach to life is not what they planned for their son, but Damien and Angie are in love and not much else matters.
Angie’s parents are divorced and her father has been remarried three times—each of the stepmoms have been invited to the wedding.
As the guests begin to arrive, it is apparent that the weather is going to be difficult as the temperature drops and the snow clouds move in.
On the first evening of the four-day event, Em finds herself wandering the immense castle trying to get used to the many hallways and staircases, when she sees an unusual sight in an upper room. It appears that someone may have collapsed, and good doctor that she is, she hurries to the upper room only to find a dead body. Ewan and Em do not recognize the young man as one of the guests or one of the staff and the body cannot be moved to town because of the snowstorm. So Em does what she is trained to do: an autopsy in the wine cellar!
Her first challenge is to identify the victim. Pictures of the dead man are shown around to the guests and the young man is identified as Robbie, an ex-boyfriend of Angie’s and a friend of Damien’s. She is unable to determine cause of death since there are no external injuries evident so testing for poisons is her second challenge.
If that isn’t enough to keep Em busy, both Angie and Mara come down with some unknown ailment. Em rushes to discover what could be causing their problems, only to find that her friends, as well as the dead man, were poisoned with antifreeze. Em quickly flushes the women’s systems and now she and Ewan realize that Robbie’s death is definitely homicide.
With everyone in the castle unable to leave, the idea of a murderer moving stealthily through the castle forces Em to move more quickly to resolve the problem. A challenge, indeed, since she is now faced with nearly a dozen suspects.
Em keeps a close eye on Damien’s father, and wonders if he would take the drastic step of killing his soon-to-be daughter-in-law just to stop the wedding. But when Damien’s brother, Caleb, appears he immediately shoots to the top of Em’s list in front of the father. A young man with a history of legal issues including drug use and abusive behavior, Em can’t help but think “if no one had seen Caleb the night before, could he be our poisoner? Something wasn’t right about him.” But when an attempt on his life occurs, Em has to reconsider who, what, where, and when.
And the stepmoms are not above suspicion although each assures Em that they love Angie and would never do anything to hurt her. Tiffany, Marianne, and Dara could have been cut from the same mold slender: young, each with a very similar appearance. When Tiffany tries to direct Em’s attention away from her and toward Angie, it leaves Em wondering if she is looking in the wrong direction. “I couldn’t imagine Angie doing something like that but she also dated a man who abused her, and lied about it to me.”
The conundrum takes a more serious turn when the murderer focuses attention on Em. Is she getting too close? When she is attacked, it would certainly seem to be the case.
Connelly has created a labyrinth of twists and turns with suspects who are strong contenders one moment and drop to the bottom of the list the next. The reader will scratch their head trying to solve the problem before they get to the last page, and they will fail. But they’ll have a good time reading about Em’s adventure in a gothic castle in the middle of a snowstorm.