B&B owner Judith McMonigle Flynn leaves Hillside Manor for a much-needed rest in the Scottish Highlands, but her fling is flung a bit too far when a dead body is discovered outside the ancient stone walls of her medieval retreat.  When Judith and Cousin Renie hunt for the killer, they discover that they've become fair game for several of the strange and dangerous suspects, including ruthless oil execs, an heiress with a fatal attraction, a mistress of the occult, and maybe a ghastly ghost that haunts their not-so-comfy castle.
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Feeling as though his wife, Judith, is in need of a relaxing vacation from their bed and breakfast, Joe Flynn plans out a perfect vacation, which of course, included her cousin Renie and husband Bill. Determined to keep the location a secret, Joe finally agrees to answer three questions, giving her an idea of what to pack. Question one – is there a beach “yes”, question two and three – great stores and restaurants “yes”. Elated, Judith called her cousin with the assurance that they are heading to “Dana Point”.

It was only after they arrived at the airport and heading to their plane when they discovered they were flying on British Airlines, not too disappointing at all for Judith..Her mind soon wandered to all sites she’ll be visiting in London. After boarding their second flight, Judith and Renie found themselves heading to Aberdeen, Scotland with their journey ending in St. Fergna. Definitely not the right time of year for fun and sun, only cold and wet to look forward too.

Their destination ended at Grimloch Castle and it wasn’t long before Judith and Renie discovered their husband’s real motive for the trip. A friend of Joe’s and Bill’s, Scotland Yard Dectective Hugh MaGowan, extended an invitation for them to stay plus arranged fishing for the men. Judith and Renie were not thrilled to say the least.

Soon after their arrival, an explosion at the castle took the life of a young man married to a local heiress. This was her second husband and the second to die tragically. With Joe and Bill constantly fishing, and not much else to do, Judith and Renie once again found themselves investigating a questionable death which eventually turned into more than one. Tight tongued locals were no match for determined Judith and Renie, letting a murderer go was not going to happen as far these two sleuths were concerned..

The only thing I would have liked to have seen is more of Joe and Bill. As a romantic at heart, I enjoy Joe and Judith’s relationship. “Scots On The Rocks” is an enjoyable cozy mystery with colorful characters and vivid settings. Anyone who enjoys Mary Daheim or a good cozy mystery will not be disappointed with this book.

Skye Lindborg

Judith McMonigle Flynn has the late winter blues. Desperately needing a vacation, she makes a bet with her husband Joe and promptly loses the bet, of course this means that Joe may pick the destination of his choice for their vacation spot. Joe and his brother-in-law Bill decide that Judith and her favorite cousin Renie can be surprised. They are hush hush and are not telling which makes packing for a trip very hard.

Matters become worse as Renie doesn't like to fly, then finally after the longest flight in history the women find out that they are in Scotland. This isn't so bad except that Judith doesn't have any winter clothes packed as she really thought they would be going to a warmer climate. It turns out that they get to stay at a real Scottish castle, and it also turns out that Bill and Joe will not be staying with them. Bill and Joe are going on a fishing trip with the local Police Chief, and this leaves the women stranded at the castle complete with sounds that go bump in the night.

It's when the explosion happens at Grimloch Castle leaving a dead body on the rocks that Judith decides she might as well satisfy her curiosity as to why someone would want to murder Harry Gibbs, and worse, he left behind a child, a beautiful wife, and loving parents. There are more than a few good suspects, hidden rooms, ghostly encounters, plus Renie getting into a fight in the wool shop is just the beginning of Judith's vacation.

When a second murder happens and Judith finds some interesting facts at the local cemetery along with a very secretive bunch of pub dwellers, their Highland Vacation seems more like a Scottish nightmare.

Mary Daheim once again penned the perfect mystery. Quirky, loveable and delightful is what SCOTS ON THE ROCKS is, and much more.  The Scottish setting is filled with folklore, and family plots, some going back a century or two, make this book a must-read for any mystery lover.

Pamela James