Tuesday, January 23, 2018

It's Not All Scotties, Scones, and Purple Heather

by Janet Marsh
from the Highland Bookshop Mysteries
by Molly MacRae

On Monday nights, the four of us from Yon Bonnie Books—Christine, Tallie, Summer, and I—go to Nev’s for what I call our quality of life check. Christine calls it our weekly wind-down with occasional whisky. Nev’s is a pub that isn’t on the High Street, and doesn’t look like much on the outside. It’s tucked between Smith Funerals and the Inversgail Guardian. It doesn’t advertise itself to tourists, but it welcomes anyone who discovers it, along with their dogs.

“It’s an honest place,” Christine said when she’d proposed the meetings. “We can be honest at Nev’s and admit that not every moment of our new lives is Scotties, scones, and purple heather.”

“Meetings at Nev’s will provide the antidote to the dreich that’s bound to creep up on us from time to time,” Tallie said, using her favorite Scottish weather word.

Summer and I had easily agreed. Nev’s gives us greetings from locals and occasional smiles, a chance to unwind or unburden, a game of darts if anyone likes, and neutral ground. Nev’s provides ale and whisky, too, and comforting pub food to go with them. We’ve been going to Nev’s on Mondays long enough, now, to have a “usual” table near the door to the darts room. Summer occasionally joins the players, and Tallie usually goes along to cheer her on.

“Do you realize our daftie author has only been here a week?” Christine asked this Monday night. She was referring to the acclaimed environmentalist, Daphne Wood, visiting Inversgail as an author in the schools for a term. “Only a week and look at all she’s stirred up.”

As though taking Christine literally, I looked around the pub—at the tables of twos and threes and a few solitary patrons. A hand on a shoulder there, heads close together in a booth, laughter at the next table, a snatch of song from Christine’s dad and her mum gazing at him with her chin in her hand as though she’d just fallen in love again. Danny orchestrated drinks behind the bar. I picked out the smells of good ale, greasy chips, and wool wet from the smirr coming down outside. The one week since Daphne had arrived hadn’t stirred the essential picture of Nev’s. I could snap a photo in black and white, and except for minor details and no haze of cigarette smoke, it might be any decade for the past hundred years.

“Only a week,” Summer said. “On the one hand, that’s hardly a blip. On the other, that means it’s been a whole week since someone killed Sam Smith.”

“Not all crimes are solved quickly,” Tallie reminded her.

“No, and they aren’t all solved.” Summer raised her glass. “In memory of Sam.”

As we raised our glasses, James Haviland, from the paper, arrived and made his way over to our table. “Evening, all,” he said. “Celebrating?”

“Remembering,” I said.

Do you have a favorite place you go to unwind? Or someone you’d just as soon forget?

 Scones and Scoundrels, book 2 in the Highland Bookshop Mysteries, is available in print, ebook, and audio wherever books are sold. For a couple of delicious scone recipes from the series, visit KillerCrafts and Crafty Killers and MysteryLovers Kitchen.  

Molly MacRae writes the Highland Bookshop Mystery series and the award-winning, national bestselling Haunted Yarn Shop Mysteries.  Connect with her on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter @mysteryMacRae



10 comments:

  1. Looking forward to reading this one! I moved a few years back and am still looking for that comfort zone.

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    1. Thank you, Dee! Isn't it nice that we can find comfort in reading when reality isn't everything we'd wish? Thanks for stopping by today.

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  2. My place to unwind is at home in front of the fireplace with a good book. To me, there really is no place like home. :) Definitely have someone I'd rather forget (wipe completely out of my brain in fact) and thankfully this last years move at least means I won't be running into them which is a VERY good thing.

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    1. Congratulations on the move, Kay. Getting away by book works well, too, thank goodness. Thanks for stopping by today!

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  3. I totally agree that it's wonderful to have books to use as a get-away! I "travel" to Scotland when reading the Yon Bonnie Books series and I thoroughly enjoy the trip. I unwind in front of the computer at home when I "travel" to other countries and places here in the U.S. that I've either yet to visit or have visited and enjoyed.

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    1. Comfy chair and book or computer are a great way to travel! Thanks for stopping by today, Linda.

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  4. My cozy place to unwind is at home reading in my comfy chair or in my bedroom with my computer. Usually with my pup snuggle up next to me.

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    1. Cozy at home with books and best furry friends is what it's all about. Thanks for stopping by, Eileen. Happy reading!

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  5. Thank you for the delightful setting. :) If I could live anywhere on earth it would be in the Highlands. I promised myself someday I would return as during my only visit there I was so overwhelmed with the beauty I cried the entire time. Blurry vision! The folks were so kind and fed me all the haggis I could eat. :) So... my cozy place would be a stone cottage high on a ben overlooking a loch.

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  6. My comfortable place is with several of my retired teacher friends. We have Ladies Night Out once a month. Wherever we meet, we have a relaxing visit with each other. Politics. Local scandals. Personal stories. Family celebrations. Comfortable friends. There is one person I’d like to forget...but I’ve already forgotten the name....

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