Release Date: Nov 28, 2017
Series: Liss MacCrimmon Mystery
Liss MacCrimmon Ruskin is always on the lookout for finds for her Scottish Emporium in Moosetookalook, Maine. She finds an interesting portrait of a bagpiper at an auction held on the grounds of the old Chadwick mansion, which is scheduled to be torn down to make way for a new assisted living home. She is almost outbid, but is successful in obtaining the painting. While struggling to get leave with her new purchase, she discovers what appears to be an old treasure map hidden behind the painting. She can’t put aside her curiosity and the need for answers leads her and her aunt to Canada, where Liss discovers the dead body of a genealogical archivist who had been helping them with their research. Liss returns home, but won’t quit searching for answers, even when it appears the killer may have followed her from Canada to permanently put an end to her investigation.
This series has several prior books, but I’ve only read the last couple. I had no problem joining the series late and I think new readers can easily catch up on what they need to enjoy this book. Liss is an interesting main character. She’s a former professional dancer and uses that same discipline to focus in on her work as a shop-owner and in investigations. She is curious and persistent, but sometimes she can be a bit overbearing. She is at her best when working with her Aunt Margaret or with her husband, Dan, who worries about her but supports her in all she does. Dan is there for her through the break-ins and the danger Liss encounters.
Liss’s trip to Nova Scotia with Margaret to buy items for the shop and to do some investigating is fast-paced and fun to read. What happens when they return to Maine unfolds at a much slower pace and tends to get a bit repetitive as Liss uncovers a potential suspect, enlists help from her friend Sherri Campbell, the Chief of Police of Moosetookalook, interferes in the questioning, the suspect being released, and then Liss finding another possible thief and murderer.
Liss has plenty of potential suspects from which to choose as there are a lot of unlikable characters who seem to be up to no good and this makes it hard to guess the identity of the killer. The solution to the murder and the treasure hunt is logical, but not as interesting as the puzzle itself. I enjoyed the book, but not as much as the prior installments. Those who follow the series will enjoy the book, especially for some possible developments in Liss’s life, as will fans of Vicki Delany or Sheila Connolly.