Tag Archives: Kaitlyn Dunnett

A Bad Day in the Life of Liss MacCrimmon Ruskin by Kaitlyn Dunnett

Kilt at the Highland GamesMy 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.

A Day in the Life of Dandy the Scottish Terrier by Kaitlyn Dunnett

The Scottie Barked at MidnightHello. My name is Dandy. I’m one third of an act called “Deidre and her Dancing Doggies.” I’m the cute one. My brother Dondi and I are Scottish terriers, otherwise known as Scotties. Deidre is our human.

When we were puppies, Deidre chose us to be her pupils. She taught us to dance to all kinds of music. We’re quite famous. We’ve even been on television. We won a competition on a show called Variety Live and now we’ve been invited back for their “champion of champions” season. So far we’re miles ahead of the competition, or so the MC keeps saying.

For the duration of the taping, we’re staying in a condominium at a luxury ski resort in Maine. It’s a pretty neat place, complete with a fireplace and big picture windows that look out on the ski slopes. I don’t think dogs can learn to ski, but I’d like to get outside more than we do. Deidre doesn’t like to take us for walkies. She puts down something she calls pee pads instead. They feel funny under my paws—not like the ground at all. Still, they’ll do in a pinch.

As a rule, our days don’t vary much. Dondi and I sleep a lot. We don’t curl up together the way cats do, but we do like to touch paws. We have regular feeding times and regular rehearsal times, too. Right now we’re rehearsing in the condo, but Deidre says that next week we’ll be going over the hotel ballroom every day for rehearsals and recording sessions.

We already know all the other acts. The first half of the season was recorded at another location. Some of our competitors are very nice. Others are mean. One or two have something “wrong” about them. The person we like best is the lady who took pictures of us for this year’s Fabulous Dogs calendar. She’s photographing another calendar featuring acts from Variety Live. Her name is Valentine and she lives in something called an RV. When Deidre has to go somewhere and can’t take us along, Valentine takes care of us. She doesn’t make us stay in our carriers or on our leashes. We like her a lot.

So that’s pretty much what a typical day is like—sleep, eat, pee, poop, rehearse, play with Dondi, and visit Valentine. Today was different.

Someone came into the condo while we were all taking an afternoon nap. Whoever it was wrapped me up in a blanket and carried me outside. The next thing I knew, I had a seatbelt holding me in place and an engine was revving. We drove for what seemed like hours. I tried to chew my way out, but all I got for my trouble was a mouthful of wool. Finally we stopped. The driver hauled me out of the passenger seat and dumped me on the ground. I heard a door slam and then the sound of my dognapper driving away. By the time I fought my way out from under the blanket, I was all alone in the middle of nowhere in the middle of winter.

I walked for what seemed like miles over snow and slush. My paws felt like icicles. Then I almost got run over by a car, but that turned out to be a lucky break. The driver, a very nice woman named Liss, rescued me and promised to find my owner. I really like her a lot. Although I’d miss Dondi, I wouldn’t mind staying with her forever. There’s a problem with that, though—I don’t think her cats like me much and the one named Lumpkin is bigger than I am.

You can read more about Dandy’s adventures in The Scottie Barked at Midnight, the 9th book in the “Liss MacCrimmon” mystery series, published by Kensington. The first book in the series is Kilt Dead.

GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 12 a.m. eastern on Thursday, November 5 for your chance to win a signed copy of The Scottie Barked at Midnight. (US entries only, please.) Good luck everyone!

About the author
Kathy Lynn Emerson/Kaitlyn Dunnett is the author of over fifty Liss MacCrimmon books written under several names. She won the Agatha Award in 2008 for best mystery nonfiction for How to Write Killer Historical Mysteries and was an Agatha Award finalist in 2014 in the best mystery short story category for “The Blessing Witch.” Currently she writes the contemporary Liss MacCrimmon Mysteries (The Scottie Barked at Midnight) as Kaitlyn and the historical Mistress Jaffrey Mysteries as Kathy (Murder in the Merchant’s Hall). 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

Time on a Christmas Tree Farm with Liss MacCrimmon by Kaitlyn Dunnett

Ho Ho HomicideMy name is Liss MacCrimmon Ruskin and in November in an ordinary year I’m busy getting my shop, Moosetookalook Scottish Emporium in Moosetookalook, Maine, ready for the Christmas season. This year, though, my husband and I were offered the chance to get away for a week before the rush. “A little vacation,” my old friend Gina said.


Murders. Mysterious “accidents.” Way too many secrets. But there is one bright spot. The house we’re staying in is located on what was once a commercial Christmas tree farm and I’m helping a new friend re-open it as a cut-your-own operation.

There’s lots to do. Publicity, including signs along the road so folks can find the place. Digging out the hand saws and tarps (to use to drag cut trees back in from the fields) and netters—the two the police didn’t confiscate. A netter puts a net around a tree so it’s easier to tie onto the roof of a car for the trip home from the Christmas tree farm.

Once the tree farm opens on the day after Thanksgiving, business should be brisk. Little kids, in particular, like to pick out their own tree and help cut it down. I can remember doing that myself when I was small. Since there are no lights out in the fields, it will be strictly a daytime operation. Weekends will be the busiest.

There’s no controlling the weather, so we’ll offer a heated office/gift shop with free hot chocolate to warm folks up. Christmas music? Of course. And among the items for sale in the gift shop, there might even be copies of two Christmas mysteries written by that Maine author whose name I can never remember. You know—the one who lives on a Christmas tree farm all year round.

You can read more about Character in Ho-Ho Homicide, the 8th book in the “Liss MacCrimmon” mystery series, published by Kensington. The first book in the series is Kilt Dead.

GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 6 p.m. eastern on October 30 for the chance to win a copy of HO-HO HOMICIDE. The giveaway is open to U.S. residents only.

About the author
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, Ho-Ho-Homicide, Liss and her husband, Dan Ruskin are looking forward to a peaceful getaway on a friend’s Christmas tree farm. Some vacation! There’s nothing restful about an unsolved murder, a missing person, or a mysterious maze.

Kaitlyn Dunnett really does live on a Christmas tree farm in the mountains of Western Maine. She also writes as Kathy Lynn Emerson (three historical mystery series and numerous other books and short stories) and as Kate Emerson (non-mystery historical novels).

Visit Kaitlyn on her website.

A Day in the Life of Liss MacCrimmon by Kaitlyn Dunnett

Vampire BonesMy 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.

Scone Cold Dead by Kaitlyn Dunnet

Scone Cold Dead by Kaitlyn Dunnett is the second book in the “Liss MacCrimmon” cozy mystery series. Publisher: Kensington, July 2008

After a knee injury forces professional Scottish dancer, Liss MacCrimmon to give up her life of performing strathspreys, reels, jigs and Highland flings, she returns to her hometown of Moosetookalook, Maine, where she runs a Scottish Emporium. With one solved murder case under her dance belt, Liss has no idea she’s about to spiral into another…

Liss still misses the life of a professional dancer with Strathspey, the Scottish dance company she belonged to. So she arranges a reception for the troupe when they’re on tour, complete with a Scottish theme that includes a new spin on the classic Scottish Scone.

Liss soon realizes that life in the group isn’t all happy jigs and fancy stepping. Victor Owens, the company manager, has been making life miserable for everyone. But she has no idea how miserable until Victor bites into one of Liss’ prized cocktail scones, collapses and dies. When the police set their sights on Liss and her best friends, it’s up to Liss to find out whodunit before this culinary killer makes an encore…

Liss’ former troupe is in town and when the manager dies suddenly, Liss is asked for her assistance in solving this case.  My rating: 2.5 stars

Kilt Dead by Kaitlyn Dunnett

Kilt Dead by Kaitlyn Dunnett is the first book in the “Liss MacCrimmon” cozy mystery series. Publisher: Kensington, August 2007

As a professional Scottish dancer, Liss MacCrimmon has performed strathsprays and reels, jigs and Highland flings until a knee injury cuts her career short. Returning to her hometown of Moosetookalook, Maine, she decides to help her aunt run her Scottish emporium.

Liss hasn’t been in Moosetookalook in over ten years, but the quaint little town, nestled in the hilly terrain of western Maine, looks exactly as she remembers it. But then her bliss soon turns to dread when she finds the dead boy of her aunt’s nosy neighbor, Amanda Norris, under a bolt of Flower of Scotland fabric in the stock room. And if things weren’t bad enough, the state police hone in on Liss as the prime suspect.

With the help of Dan Ruskin, a neighbor and former high school classmate, Liss begins her own investigation that uncovers secrets about the residents of Moosetookalook-secrets she wished had stayed buried. Now Liss will have to do some fancy footwork to prove she’s innocent while avoiding becoming the killer’s next victim…

Having a career-ending injury, Amaryliss Rosalie MacCrimmon, Liss to her friends, heads home to Moosetookalook to help her aunt run her store. Little did she know that she would find her neighbor’s body, gain an inheritance and have her life in jeopardy by the killer. When she becomes a suspect and the cop shows no interest in finding the real killer, Liss dances around the clues and finds it hit a little closer to home than she realizes. This was a very good story and look forward to reading the next two books in the series. My rating: 3 stars

*new-to-me author