My name is Liss MacCrimmon. Well, no. It’s Liss Ruskin now. And Liss is short for Amaryllis, but you can see why I never use it.
This is not a good start. I’m usually much better organized than this. I make lists. Lots of lists. Some of them are more helpful than others. For instance, I have a checklist for opening the shop. That’s Moosetookalook Scottish Emporium in Moosetookalook, Maine, population 1007. It’s a family business started by my grandfather, then run jointly by my father and my Aunt Margaret, and now entirely my responsibility. I sell Scottish imports and Scottish-themed items, everything from canned haggis to kilts to books on the ghosts in Scottish castles. You wouldn’t think I could make a living with a store like that in a village the size of Moosetookalook, but during the last few years our little town has turned itself into a tourist mecca. All kinds of small quirky shops are open for business around a quaint New England town square and our historic hotel is newly renovated and open for business. Why not too long ago, it was the site of Maine’s first mystery fan convention (Scotched). Except for the murders, it went very well.
I never go looking for crimes to solve, but lately I seem to have developed a bad habit of stumbling over dead bodies. I don’t mean to make light of it, but really . . . how ridiculous is it that murders keep happening in my vicinity? I guess life really is stranger than fiction. At least they haven’t all happened in our one small town.
The first time (Kilt Dead) a neighbor I’d known all my life was murdered right in the back room of Moosetookalook Scottish Emporium. It was just after I returned to town to recover from a career-ending knee injury. I used to be a professional Scottish dancer. I spent eight years on the road with a touring company (think Riverdance, only Scottish). It would never have crossed my mind to get involved in investigating her death if I hadn’t been the prime suspect in the case, but since I was, what choice did I have? I’ve never had much choice any of the other times, either. It’s not as if I’m some meddling old biddy from Cabot Cove.
Don’t get me started on that subject! I’ll just say that Cabot Cove isn’t a real place. And the TV show wasn’t even shot in Maine. Those cliffs are somewhere in northern California.
But I was asked to describe a typical day in my life. I have a good many of those, although they certainly aren’t very exciting. Still, since you asked, here goes. I open the shop, boot up the computer, pack and ship any online or mail orders that have come in, wait on customers—although some days there are none—make a quick trip to the post office, which is just around the corner, and go back to the shop for more of the same. It’s a one-woman operation, so I also do the dusting and other cleaning, order supplies and stock, handle the bookkeeping, and pay the bills. At the end of the day I go home to my husband, Dan Ruskin. We live just a short distance away. I can see my house from the shop window, since both buildings face the town square.
Summer is a busy time. So is leaf-peeper season. And then, because both Dan and I are involved in the Moosetookalook Small Business Association, we’ll be spending all our spare time setting up Moosetookalook’s Halloween festival and fundraiser. I’m thinking of featuring a haunted house . . .
Kathy is giving away one (1) copy of VAMPIRES, BONES, AND TREACLE SCONES. Leave a comment to be included in the giveaway. Contest ends July 30 and US entries only.
Kaitlyn Dunnett writes the Liss MacCrimmon Scottish-American Heritage Mysteries featuring former professional Scottish dancer turned shopkeeper Liss MacCrimmon. In the newest entry in the series, Vampires, Bones, and Treacle Scones, Liss is charged with organizing Moosetookalook Maine’s Halloween festival and fundraiser. But when she tries to turn an old abandoned mansion into a haunted house, strange things begin to happen. Liss is sure someone is just playing tricks on her . . . until she goes looking for bones—the skeleton they’ve rented for the occasion—and finds a body instead.
Meet the author
Kaitlyn Dunnett is a pseudonym from Kathy Lynn Emerson, author of two historical mystery series and numerous other books and short stories. As Kate Emerson she writes non-mystery historical novels. She lives in the mountains of Western Maine, quite near the fictional village of Moosetookalook.
Visit Kaitlyn at www.kaitlyndunnett.com
Books are available at retail and online booksellers.