While other genres come and go, one that has always stuck with me is the cozy mystery. Fun and light-hearted (with terrifically punny titles!) these mysteries are a great way to spend a lazy weekend, a trip to the beach, a rainy afternoon. Basically, cozies are perfect for every season, suitable in every weather. Hannah Reed first appeared on my radar with her Queen Bee series (for those of you who aren’t aware, I’ve been taking beekeeping classes) but it wasn’t until I came across her Scottish Highlands novels that I decided to discover what Ms. Reed is all about.
Eden Elliott isn’t exactly in the best mindset. Newly-divorced and still grieving over the death of her mother, Eden’s struggling to move on, so when her bestie, bestselling author Ami Pederson, surprises her with a ticket bound for Scotland, she naturally balks at the idea. She couldn’t possibly leave Chicago now! It takes some urging on Ami’s part, but Eden eventually agrees to take this trip – not necessarily for the entire six months her visa allows, but enough to get a fresh start and hopefully work on her own novel.
What Eden hadn’t counted on, however, is to be utterly charmed by the gorgeous countryside, the enchanting village of Glenkillen, and the locals (one in particular..) What she also hadn’t expected is to start this trip with a dead body. Suddenly all thoughts of romance novels are put on hold and Eden finds herself digging deeper and deeper into solving the crime.
Once loose ends are tied and the killer has confessed, it seems Glenkillen is back to being its usual sleepy self. Until, just a few months later, another body is found (Eden has the worst luck!) and, once more, Eden finds herself in the middle of the investigation – this time in an official capacity. She’s been taken on as a Special Constable, a volunteer, and she’s determined to get to the bottom of the case, even if it means putting her second novel, Hooked on You, on the back burner.
These books are so much fun! Although I initially had issues with the Scottish accent being written phonetically, I realized it didn’t take long for me to get past the constant use of tae, nae, and aboot and, to be honest, after a while I no longer thought about it – though some unfamiliar terms and slang caught me off guard!
Off Kilter sets the series up very nicely, introducing the reader to this village and its inhabitants and Hooked on Ewe (I love how it’s a play on the title of Eden’s own novel, Hooked on You) jumps right back into things with a short recap to catch readers up to speed. Because I read these two novels relatively close together, there wasn’t much I had forgotten about or enough time for me to miss any of the characters, but I was thrilled to see my favorites were back once more in the sequel.
Hooked on Ewe introduces several new characters as well as a new murder to investigate and although I still enjoyed it (especially since it took me a while to figure out Who Did It) I noticed a distinct imbalance of time (or, rather, pages and scenes) devoted to the other aspects of this series, namely Eden’s novels and potential romance with Leith. Any reference to her work is largely mentioned in passing (for example, she talks about a table at the local pub where she goes to write) and a possible romance was, once more, merely hinted at. I thought for sure Off Kilter was setting the scene for Eden’s romance to come around in Hooked on Ewe, but still nothing. Talk about a slow burn!
Between the fantastic setting, fun characters, and quick pace, I relished in these two novels and look forward to the third! Fans of quirky charm and mysteries that aren’t focused on gore will be right at home here and I’d definitely recommend Reed’s Scottish Highland series to cozy lovers!