Saturday, November 23, 2019

A Mystery on Our Doorstep and a #Giveaway

by Janet Marsh
from the Highland Bookshop Mysteries, by Molly MacRae

On top of everything else that’s happened recently, we found a whisky carton on our doorstep at Yon Bonnie Books this morning. Everything else, of course, includes yesterday morning when I found Malcolm Murray dead along the burn below the Beaton Bridge. Please don’t get me wrong; I don’t mean to suggest the mystery of the box is in any way equivalent to the tragedy of Malcolm’s death. Have you heard the latest news about that? The police say it wasn’t an accident. 

The box, though, is one more thing to deal with, one more frustrating thing. We don’t know who left it, you see, and it isn’t full of bottles of whisky. It’s full of old books. Some of them quiet old. Some of them quite nice. As a rule, we don’t trade in used books, but we make occasional exceptions. Here, I’ll show you a few of them we found in the box. 

The Little Minister by James M. Barrie - you might be more familiar with his Peter Pan.
Have you ever heard of the Bell Rock Lighthouse? It's the world's oldest surviving sea-washed lighthouse. Robert Louis Stevenson's grandfather built it.
Quite fragile, but still a sweet copy of this 1895 book by Ian Maclaren - a wonderful example of the Kailyard School of Scottish Fiction, extremely popular around the turn of the last century.

An adorable little edition of Kidnapped. Smaller than a modern mass market paperback, leather bound with gilt embellishments—thistles all down the spine.  Constable Hobbs has his eye on this one, but I might want it myself.

I did find a note taped to the box. But it isn’t signed and all it says is, “Please look after these books. Thank you.” Whoever left them might be a fan of the children’s book by Michael Bond—A Bear Called Paddington. Paddington was found in the railway station with a similar note. In fact, quite a few of the books in the box are children’s books. But bears and books aren’t the same, and what does “look after these books” even mean? Keep them safe? For how long? To quote another bear, “Bother.” 

I’ll look through the books more carefully and see if I can find any clues about where they came from – names, a stray piece of paper used as a serendipitous bookmark, notes. The oldest book in the box, The Complete Herbal by Nicholas Culpeper, M.D., offers some hope along those lines. It’s an 1850 edition, and judging from the number of stained pages and notes scribbled in the margins, it’s passed through generations of grateful hands searching for relief from troubling symptoms. The book has troubles of its own, though. It looks like someone kept something tucked between some of the pages. Something thick enough to leave an impression, thick enough to split the text block. I wonder what that was?  

Does it matter where the books came from? Maybe not. Especially if we don’t end up hip-deep in more anonymous boxes of books. Even so, there’s something not quite right about the books in this box and I can’t help thinking we might be sorry they landed on our doorstep. 

Season's Readings Giveaway!

Our author found her own box of fun on the doorstep yesterday - audio editions of Plaid and Plagiarism and Scones and Scoundrels (books 1 and 2 in the Highland Bookshop Mystery series) and Crewel and Unusual (book six in the Haunted Yarn Shop Mystery series). 

Would you like one? Then comment here for your chance to win! 

With your comment, tell me which audio book you'd like, your first name, and remember to include an email address.

Contest open until midnight 11/25. Winners will be notified on 11/26.

The women of Yon Bonnie Books return in the latest Highland Bookshop Mystery, now embroiled in the death of a local doctor, which sets off a chain of other curious—and deadly—events.

Publishers Weekly calls the book enjoyable and says "Well-drawn characters enhance the story line. Armchair travelers will have fun." 

Thistles and Thieves comes out January 7, 2020, and is available for pre-order now. 

Molly MacRae writes the award-winning, national bestselling Haunted Yarn Shop Mysteries and the Highland Bookshop Mysteries. Visit Molly on Facebook and Pinterest, on her website, or connect with her on Twitter  or Instagram.


  1. I would love one. I like seeing the old books. They are treasures.
    debby236 at gmail dot com

  2. Plaid & Plagirism. Thanks for the chance.

  3. I actually would love any of them, but if forced to pick just one I'd say "Plaid and Plagiarism" because it's the first of a series.

    Shared everywhere and fingers crossed to be the very fortunate one selected. Thank you for the chance! <3
    2clowns at arkansas dot net

  4. Scones and Scoundrels sounds wonderful...thank you for the contest.


  5. Thank you for this opportunity. Either of the Bookshop series books would make me very happy. Such beautiful covers by the way. Sharon Zibbby at gmail dot com

  6. Great post, great photos. I was mesmerized. I would love to win an audio edition of Plaid and Plagiarism. Thanks for the chance.

  7. Thanks for the great giveaway! I would really love to listen to "Plaid and Plagairism". Happy Holidays!
    Dianne. diannekc8(at)gmail(dot)com

  8. Scones and Scoundrels is great just for the title.
    libbydodd at comcast dot net

  9. I love all of them thanks for the chance.

  10. I would like SCONES AND SCOUNDRELS

  11. I would love Crewel and Unusual. Thank you for the chance. kittygirl15401(at)yahoo(dot)com

  12. I'd love an audio version of Plaid and Plagiarism - audiobooks are great for knitting and spinning! Thanks for the contest!

  13. I'd also love an audio copy of plaid and plagiarism. It's on my Christmas wish list b..but I seem little hope from that direction! My family seems to think I have too many as if,that is possible! Audiobooks are great for travel and recovering from yet another major all of those, no one figured out how to make my body twenty years old again....but can't complain, I'm alive, healthy, and able,to,walk,again...was hit by a car in 2015.... 4years, 20 some surgeries and this old lady is gearingnuo for another forty years. Lol

  14. I would love to read Plaid and Plagiarism. Kaye

  15. It's hard to pick just one, but I'd take Crewel and Unusual. I actually don't have any of these three books, so I'd be happy with any of them. I love audios.

  16. I have read Crewel and Unusual, and loved it! The specter was intriguing to me. I have not red Plaid and Plagiarism, I would love to read it. Thank you for the chance to enter.

  17. I would love to read Plaid and Plagiarism. I have read Crewel and Unusual and loved it! The specter was very intriguing to me!

  18. Crewl and Unusual would be my pick!

  19. I just recently discovered the Scottish series, finishing Plaid and Plagiarism about a week ago. Thus, I would love the chance to win "Scones and Scoundrels". Books, old books, bookstores and libraries are a few of my favorite things!

  20. I would like Crewel and Unusual. Linda lkish77123 at gmail dot com

  21. I would love to win Scones and Scoundrels . Happy Holiday.
    xzjh04(at) gmail(dot)com

  22. Happy Thanksgiving! I would love to win Scones and Scoundrels. I have not had the opportunity to read it yet. I love listening to audiobooks while driving. It helps me to concentrate. Thank you for a chance to win. Kris--Doodlesink@hotmail(dot)com

  23. Scones and Scoundrels thank you for the chance