Marsali Taylor’s A Shetland Winter Mystery blog tour

Author Marsali Taylor photographed onboard her yacht in Aith Marina, Shetland, Sep 2005

Welcome to Marsali Taylor’s A Shetland Winter Mystery blog tour! this is to celebrate the release of Marsali’s new book which comes out next week on the 9th December, published by Headline Accent.

This is the second time I’ve participated in one of Marsali Taylor’s blog tours. To read the previous one, please click HERE.

About Marsali Taylor

Marsali Taylor grew up near Edinburgh, and came to Shetland as a newly-qualified teacher. She is currently a part-time teacher on Shetland’s scenic west side, living with her husband and two Shetland ponies. Marsali is a qualified STGA tourist-guide who is fascinated by history, and has published plays in Shetland’s distinctive dialect, as well as a history of women’s suffrage in Shetland. She’s also a keen sailor who enjoys exploring in her own 8m yacht, and an active member of her local drama group.

Don’t forget to check out these other sites for more info!

About A Shetland Winter Mystery

It’s the dark nights in the run up to Christmas, and sailing sleuth Cass Lynch’s first night on dry land is disturbed by strange noises outside her isolated cottage. Tiny footprints in the moonlit snow trail from her front door before mysteriously disappearing. Soon Cass learns others were visited by the same tiny feet in the night.

It looks like ingenious local teenagers playing tricks – but what happens when festive games turn deadly?

Cass soon finds out as a schoolboy disappears, leaving only a trail of footprints into the middle of a snowy field. She’s determined to investigate, but uncovering the truth will also put her in danger . . .

Review

I hadn’t heard of trows before, but I kind of get what they are: little people, pixies, sprites or maybe leprechauns. They are–surely–mythical–but it is fascinating to read about them because I think we all know someone who genuinely believes in this kind of thing. and the rest of us kind of want to believe, especially during the long winter evenings when we snuggle up with a book, ready to leave this world for one that happens in our imagination.

So I really enjoyed the opening part of the book where the trows were visiting houses, capering about, using their magic to play tricks, to create spectacles and generally mess with everyone’s heads. It’s exactly the kind of thing you can imagine getting completely out of control very quickly, like a trick or treat at Hallowe’en, with each new escapade attempting to outdo the one before.

Imagine one big amazing trick or event–and it’s more or less an open secret who was really behind it–not the trows after all, but local kids out for a bit of cheeky fun. And then one lad doesn’t come home… Where can he get to on a small island?

How long do you wait before calling in the police? It was clear only the boy’s mother thought there was anything amiss, and yet… and yet… It’s all too clear that something else is going on–two somethings actually, and both malicious, threatening. Pretty soon everyone is in a panic trying to find the teenager.

And then news comes in of a dead body, pulled out of the water…

There is a sense of claustrophobia, in spite of the wide open spaces here. I feel like everyone is looking at their neighbours and wondering, ‘Was it you?’ It’s tense, it’s slow-moving but finely tuned, you almost feel like holding your breath in case someone knows you’re watching. A sheer joy to read, and definitely one for a winter’s evening or two.

Highly recommended!

To help you get even more out of this series than just the sheer pleasure of reading it:

  1. Create a wall-chart to check off which kilt Gavin is wearing in each scene.
  2. Take a tot of your favourite alcoholic beverage whenever you read the words Cat or Kitten. (I had a Cat called Kitten once…)
  3. Create another wall-chart, this time of all the people mentioned in the books and all their familial and social connections. I think you will find, as I have, that these characters feel like people you actually know.
  4. Learn all the vocab for any sailing-related activity.
  5. Learn all the different types on knot and practice them in case you ever need to use them ‘in real life’, whatever that is.
  6. Learn all the Shetland words contained in the glossaries or at the beginning of chapters.
  7. Consider pestering Marsali (but in a nice way, don’t make her miserable or you will be her next victim, nor do we want her to put Gavin in jeans/business suit) to write the next book.

You can buy A Shetland Winter Mystery here.

And don’t forget to follow the author on these social media:

AUTHOR WEBSITE

SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS:

FACEBOOK https://www.facebook.com/MarsaliTaylorAuthor 

TWITTER @marsalitaylor 

#ASHETLANDWINTERMYSTERY

Marsali Taylor’s The Shetland Sea Murders blog tour

This week, I want to share with you the third in a series of three mystery/crime-genre blog tours to celebrate new books. This week I was honoured to be asked to take part in the blog tour for Marsali Taylor’s new novel The Shetland Sea Murders. This worked very well for me as I’d been planning to read some of Marsali’s work for quite some  time.

Here’s a little bit of what her book is about:

Marsali Taylor returns with the ninth gripping mystery in her Shetland Sailing Mystery series.

While onboard her last chartered sailing trip of the season, Cass Lynch is awoken in the middle of the night by a Mayday call to the Shetland coastguard. A fishing vessel has become trapped on the rocks off the coast of one of the islands.

In the days that follow, there’s both a shocking murder and a baffling death. On the surface there’s no link, but when Cass becomes involved it is soon clear that her life is also in danger.

Convinced that someone sinister is at work in these Shetland waters, Cass is determined to find and stop them. But uncovering the truth could prove to be deadly…

Other reviewers said:

‘Definitely the best of the Cass Lynch series yet!’ 5* Reader Review

‘The beautiful descriptions of Shetland life, traditions, it’s landscape and even language bring everything to life.’ 5* Reader Review

‘This series gets better and better’ 5* Reader Review

‘A beautifully written story, with descriptions so vivid you can smell the sea and beautiful countryside.’ 5* Reader Review

The perfect lockdown read for anyone who longs to be back on the sea.’ 5* Reader Review

My Review

As I said, I’ve been aware of Marsali’s books and planning to read them for some time now. So this was my first experience of this series, and I wasn’t too sure what to expect.

I was a bit worried to begin with because of the boating stuff. A lot of the story takes place or a boat, or has information to do with boats or things like weather and tides etc. I’m a confirmed landlubber. I like to be on a boat, on a nice sunny day, when all I have to do is stand on the deck and daydream, I’m not a ‘storm’s a-coming, haul in the mainsheet’ kind of boater… So I was concerned I would either find the references to boating or shipping or whatever it is (please excuse my ignorance) too complicated or well, boring, actually. But I’m happy to report that when the boating bits became ‘hardcore’ – towards the end of the book – I was gripping my lines and staring into the mist like a true-born shipping type person. It was tense, let me tell you. And I was right there in the midst of it with the spray on my face, hanging on to every word.

This is an absorbing mystery, and chock full of a sense of place. The story is set, as the series title and this book’s title suggest, in and around the Shetland Isles. Everything is described with affection and an attention to detail that just brings it to life. It also helps that there is a glossary of Shetland linguistic phrases at the back of the book.  There is also history, and Girl Power.

The story is also an immersive experience. As the events of the story unfold, you as the reader are drawn into not just the minds of the characters but their lives and relationships too. When you’ve finished, there is that time lapse sense of unreality when you look up and realise you’re not out on the ocean or on a Shetland isle, but in your sitting room snug at home.

I give this book an unhesitating five stars. Highly recommended.

You can find out more about Marsali Taylor and her work on her website:

www.marsalitaylor.co.uk

Or follow her on social media at:

FACEBOOK https://www.facebook.com/MarsaliTaylorAuthor

TWITTER @marsalitaylor

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#THESHETLANDSEAMURDERS

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