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.
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 . . .
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.
To help you get even more out of this series than just the sheer pleasure of reading it:
- Create a wall-chart to check off which kilt Gavin is wearing in each scene.
- Take a tot of your favourite alcoholic beverage whenever you read the words Cat or Kitten. (I had a Cat called Kitten once…)
- 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.
- Learn all the vocab for any sailing-related activity.
- Learn all the different types on knot and practice them in case you ever need to use them ‘in real life’, whatever that is.
- Learn all the Shetland words contained in the glossaries or at the beginning of chapters.
- 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.
And don’t forget to follow the author on these social media:
SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS: