by Paige Shelton
Series: Scottish Bookshop Mystery #4
Publication Date: April 2, 2019
Delaney Nichols is delighted with her life in Edinburgh, working at The Cracked Spine—a shop that specializes in hard-to-find books and artifacts. With a job she loves, and her fast approaching marriage to devastatingly handsome Scottish pub-owner Tom Shannon, Delaney's life could be straight out of a fairy tale—at least it would be, if the pastor meant to perform the wedding ceremony hadn't recently passed away. Outside the church where Delaney is searching for another reverend, she stumbles across Norval Fraser: an elderly man obsessed with the Loch Ness monster. Always attracted to the interesting and unusual, Delaney befriends Norval. But when his nephew is found dead, the police decide Norval's obsession has moved from monsters to murder.
With a wedding to plan, her family arriving soon from Kansas, and the arrival of an over-the-top Texan with a wildly valuable book, Delaney's plate is full to bursting, but she can't abandon her new friend. Determined to help Norval, she sets out to learn the truth. The Loch Ness buries its secrets deeply, but Delaney is determined to dig them up—whether Nessie likes it or not.
I’m a little annoyed that I read this book; if I’d waited a week or two, I could have used it for the upcoming Halloween Bingo; it’s a perfect fit for the “Monsters” square. But I didn’t know that when I began the book, though I probably should have suspected.
This series dances on the thin edge between normal cozy mystery and paranormal. It’s always maybe this or that happened, and always plausible through other explanations.
I should have enjoyed The Loch Ness Papers more than I did; I generally enjoy the author’s writing, and I love the Loch Ness theme. But either the writing or my attention was too scattered to really get lost in the mystery. I suspect a bit of both; my attention could have been more focused, but the disparate clues were too disparate, and made a connection between the mysteries obvious. The sympathy Shelton hoped to garner for certain characters fell flat and she tried to involve too many people as possible suspects, making it impossible to keep them all as active participants in the mystery. And on top of it all, Delaney’s family is in town for her wedding. The result was a scattered story that felt chaotic and I suspect even if I was totally focused on the story, it would still be scattered and chaotic.