Plaid and Plagiarism by Molly MacRae features four women who have relocated from Iowa to purchase and run a bookstore in Inversgail, Scotland. Upon arriving, Janet goes to move into the house she has owned there for 30 years, only to find the kitchen filled with disgusting, rotting garbage and the estate agent standing in the middle. With the house uninhabitable until it can be thoroughly cleaned, Janet and her daughter Tallie return a few days later with Janet’s best friend, Christine, who grew up in Inversgail, and Tallie’s best friend, Summer, only to discover the body of Una, the locally famous agony columnist whom the estate agent has suspected of trashing Janet’s house.
The four partners get adjusted to life in Scotland, complete with its unique language (one woman mistakes the term for a croft house for a brothel) and local customs, while also learning to run their new bookshop and preparing the tea house and bed and breakfast they plan to open. But the mystery of who killed Una, as well as who vandalized Janet’s house, keeps intruding. The ladies use their unique skills to look into the case, working with the local constable.
I really loved the interaction of the four different, unique women in this book. Their methods of teaming up together blends well, and I like the way the various threads of the plot get woven together. It often jumps back and forth between threads without getting them lost in the midst.
I also really enjoyed the exposure to Scottish culture and thought that showing it from the angle of newcomers to the region not only was very creative but enabled MacRae to expose us to lessons on Scotland without seeming to lecture the readers or leave us guessing about the regional issues.
While I enjoy most narrators of audio books, I was really blown away by the work of Elaine Claxton. As a native Californian, I often find that British narrators have difficulty creating a believable American accent. When they do, they tend to use a Texan accent. Claxton does a tremendous job of creating the accents of the American women, but she also creates a very believable Scottish accent in different voices. She uses what I think is a very mild Scottish accent for the narration and a London accent for one of the characters. This woman is a greatly gifted narrator!
I greatly enjoyed the experience of listening to Plaid and Plagiarism and sincerely hope that MacRae uses this as but the first of many more books in a new series. I give this book five stars!
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