I’ve always wanted to visit Scotland, so visiting the land of kilts through a cozy mystery was a welcome option that fit the pocketbook a little easier. I listened to the audio version (which was excellent) but the only drawback is that it was a little difficult to fully wrap my head around the cast of suspects as a listener. With a whodunit, it is important to be able to follow all the who’s. This is no fault of the writing (which is excellent), it is merely the reality of my listening capacity. When I read a book it is easier to reread and go back and confirm my comprehension. Midway through my listen, I decided to stop and write out the characters so that I could more easily keep track. And it did help. There are a LOT of suspects. I did work out the who before the end, but there were lots of surprise twists that still made the book hard to put down (er click stop). It was a fun read. So, if your ARE listening, I created a list of all the characters that I’ll post below.
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From award-winning male/male author Josh Lanyon: a librarian finds himself in a plot right out of one of his favorite mystery novels
Librarian Carter Matheson is determined to enjoy himself on a Scottish bus tour for fans of mystery author Dame Vanessa Rayburn. Sure, his ex, Trevor, will also be on the trip with his new boyfriend, leaving Carter to share a room with a stranger, but he can’t pass up a chance to meet his favorite author.
Carter’s roommate turns out to be John Knight, a figure as mysterious as any character from Vanessa’s books. His strange affect and nighttime wanderings make Carter suspicious. When a fellow traveler’s death sparks rumors of foul play, Carter is left wondering if there’s anyone on the tour he can trust.
Drawn into the intrigue, Carter searches for answers, trying to fend off his growing attraction toward John. But as unexplained tragedies continue, the whole tour must face the fact that there may be a murderer in their midst—but who?
The Purple Fantastic Steam Meter gives this a 3. It gets a little sexy at times but always in context of story and character development.
More about The Purple Fantastic Steam Meter on the About page.
Cast of Characters with a few random identifying features.
Alison Barnes – Tour Operator, 30s? Small perky redhead.
Hamish MacLaren – bus driver. spectacles, likes bagpipes. Appears to be in his 80s.
Carter Matheson – (MC) Librarian, late 30s, from Los Angeles. Bought the expensive tickets for tour as present for his boyfriend 2 years prior. Big fan of Vanessa.
Trevor Temple – Carter’s ex-boyfriend of 3 years. Older than Carter. Short and stocky (5’ 6”). Unemployed. Angry that Carter would not give his ticket to new BF, Vance. Had to purchase another ticket for Vance.
Vance Stafford – 40s? The new boyfriend who’d had an affair with Trevor behind Carter’s back. Model/Actor/Dental Hygienist, tall, dark skinned with increasingly out-of-control Afro, extremely handsome. Strung very tightly with jealousy.
John Night – mysterious insurance salesman, prone to wandering at night. Late 30s, Brown hair, brown eyes, quite fit, nondescript, but handsome once one focuses on him. From San Diego. Seems overly interested in the Scherfs and the Rices.
Rose Lane – 70’s, fashionable, long page-boy haircut reaching her shoulders. Possibly a bit dramatic.
Sally Daly – Older Divorcee from New Mexico, bookseller – brown straight hair that gets curly when wet. Possibly a cat lady.
Edie and Bertie Poe – sisters, small, prone to gossip.
Ben Iams – about 50, tall big-boned guy who never quite grew into his large hands and feet. Business Systems Analyst, traveling with his mother but does not live with her. They are both from Seattle. Not in particularly great shape, but big.
Yvonne Iams – Old. Ben’s mother. Opinionated, annoying, controlling. Was a veterinarian before she retired.
Roddy & Daya BiddyWiddy – 70s. Only folks on tour who are UK nationals. From Oxford.
Wally & Netta Kramer – from New York. Netta is a retired doctor.
Jim & Laurel Matzukado – never picked up much info about them
Nelson & Wilma Scherf – tall, older germanic looking couple from US, both teachers and close to the Rice’s.
Joel & Gerta Rice – shorter, darker in complexion, both school teachers, close to the Scherfs.
Ms Eckles – proprietress at hotel
Elizabeth Ogilvie – Vanessa’s assistant – lives on island with Vanessa.
Dame Vanessa Rayburn- 70s, reclusive successful mystery author who committed murder in her teens, and spent time in prison before she became an author. Owns castle on remote island.