My name is Liss MacCrimmon Ruskin and I own and operate Moosetookalook Scottish Emporium in Moosetookalook, Maine. The view through my shop window is of our pretty little town square with its winding paths lined with flowers, its lovely old shade trees, and its gazebo, playground, and monument to the Civil War dead. Unfortunately, I can also see beyond it to where Angie’s Books once stood. Yellow police tape surrounds the remains of the building because the fire that destroyed it was deliberately set. As if that wasn’t bad enough, Angie Hogencamp and her two children have been missing since the night of the fire.
They weren’t inside. We know that much. We just don’t have a clue where they are now.
The fire and the fact that three people are missing are the two worst things to happen in what is ordinarily a quiet little village in the Western mountains of Maine, but it looks as if our troubles aren’t yet over. Last night someone vandalized our local post office, breaking the windows and climbing inside to scatter letters and packages hither and yon. All the shopkeepers around the town square are nervous today, wondering if this was a one-time incident or if there are more troubles to come. The local chief of police, my good friend Sherri Campbell, says it was most likely teenagers on a spree, but I know most of the local kids, including my cousin Boxer and Angie’s daughter, Beth, and such behavior seems way out of character for them. Oh, yes, I know that kids that age tend to experiment with drugs and overindulge in alcohol, but why on earth would they vandalize the post office? That just doesn’t make sense.
The only upside to all these bad things happening is that it puts in perspective the petty annoyances that otherwise might prey on my mind. Case in point? Angus Grant. He’s a customer here at the Emporium, if I use that term in its broadest sense. His wife bought something the first time they came in. But today he was back, alone, and once again he seemed determined to find fault with everything in sight. He’s one of those sticklers who think there’s only one way to do things—his way. Or, in this case, the way they do it (in his opinion) in Scotland. I’m guilty of everything from misspelling skean dhu (the little knife Scots wear tucked into the top of their hose) to allowing women to buy kilts. Women, according to this old-fashioned sexist, should only wear tartan skirts and sashes, reserving kilts for the menfolk.
The customer is always right, right? I smiled my patented shopkeeper’s smile and kept my temper and eventually Mr. Grant of Clan Grant went away. Unfortunately, he’ll be back. You see, the annual Western Maine Highland Games is this coming weekend and I’ll have a booth at the festival. Since it will be held on the grounds of The Spruces, the hotel on the outskirts of Moosetookalook, and Mr. Grant is a guest there, it’s inevitable that I’m going to run into him again. I just hope I see him coming in time to brace myself and paste that smile on my face, because if Angie and the kids are still unaccounted for by the weekend, I’m not going to be in much of a mood to tolerate more rudeness.
On the other hand, perhaps by then the missing will have been found. I like to think I’m an optimist, even on a very bad day like this one, and Sherri has plenty of help looking for Angie and the kids. In addition to the state police and the county sheriff’s department, there’s Dolores Mayfield, our town librarian, who has resources you would not believe. There’s also Jake Murch, the P. I. I asked to give us a hand. And not to sound conceited or anything, but I’m not such a bad amateur detective myself.
Kilt at the Highland Games is the tenth book in the Liss MacCrimmon mystery series, published by Kensington, July 2016.
It’s July in Moosetookalook, Maine, and Scottish Emporium proprietress Liss MacCrimmon Ruskin is prepping her wares for the annual Celtic heritage festival. But as a sinister crime wave washes over the quiet town, this year’s celebration might prove a wee bit more eventful–and deadly–than tartan and bagpipes . . .
When a fire ravages the local bookstore late one evening, Liss immediately fears the worst for owner Angie Hogencamp and the two young children who live above the shop. After the terrible blaze dies down, however, the family is nowhere to be found among the ruins. It’s as if the three just vanished into smoke. Or even stranger–like they never existed at all.
Disturbed by Angie’s disappearance and suspecting arson, Liss counts on the weekend-long Western Maine Highland Games–complete with a parade and fireworks display–to offer a temporary distraction from the countless questions filling her head. But when the sound of a gunshot leads Liss to selectman Jason Graye’s dead body on opening day, she’s drawn into a full-blown homicide investigation like a moth to a flame.
Is Moosetookalook suffering from a streak of bad luck, or are the two grim incidents connected? Unable to shake the notion that new victims are being targeted around town–and despite her worried husband’s best protests–Liss races to nab the killer. And with her own life on the line, she’ll need to act swiftly. Because when it comes to this kind of game, somebody has to lose . . .
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About the author
Kaitlyn Dunnett (aka Kathy Lynn Emerson) is the author of over fifty books written under several names. She won the Agatha Award for best mystery nonfiction of 2008 for How to Write Killer Historical Mysteries and was an Agatha Award finalist in 2015 in the best mystery short story category for “The Blessing Witch.” Currently she writes the contemporary Liss MacCrimmon Mysteries (Kilt at the Highland Games ~ July 2016) as Kaitlyn and the historical Mistress Jaffrey Mysteries (Murder in the Merchant’s Hall) as Kathy. The latter series is a spin-off from her earlier “Face Down” series and is set in Elizabethan England. Her websites are www.KaitlynDunnett.com and www.KathyLynnEmerson.com
Giveaway: Leave a comment below for your chance to win an autographed copy of Kilt at the Highland Games. US entries only, please. The giveaway will end July 31, 2016 at 12 AM (midnight) EST. Good luck everyone!
All comments are welcomed.