A Shetland Winter Mystery – Marsali Taylor

A Shetland Winter Mystery is a gripping read. It actually kept me turning pages till the very last paragraph. Even though the book tidies up nicely, suspense stays in every word till the end. I thoroughly enjoyed that!

A Shetland Winter Mystery has several storylines. There is a family drama line, with a first wife and son living near the second wife, husband and son. It would be dramatic enough like that, but when sons go missing, the drama was incredible.

Marsali Taylor, the author, did a brilliant job of describing the family. The tension throughout, the suspense and the way they deal with each other was brilliant. You’re made to feel for each character in turn, wondering at the same time who is guilty. And guilty of what? Murder, hiding away, being hidden? And has it anything to do with the two Heavies, confronting Cass and others?

The main character, Cass, and her sailing adventures was another interesting line, as is her boyfriend, Gavin. Gavin’s job as a high-up policeman brings you right into the action whilst Cass’s connection with the people around her allows her in on the excitement as well.

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

Then there is the Windfarm being built. That leads to an interesting line in itself. I love the balance Marsali gives, the pros and cons carefully weighed up. Is sabotage wrong? Of course, but what if you’re desperate? Cass’ father is the project leader but Cass agrees with the people standing against the wind farm. So more tension, and all that around Christmas time.

Marsali has done the chapter headings in such an interesting way. There is the day’s name, but also the wind and weather forecast. I loved that detail. Then there are Shetlan words explained. Shetland’s language is a mix of Old Norse and Scots, so she gives the meaning and etymology of a new phrase that will appear in the chapter. I particularly enjoyed that.

The story in A Shetland Winter Mystery builds up nicely, making you wonder what the mystery is. It took me by surprise when things really went south! The book has a lovely calm pace to it, ideal for winter evenings by the fire. Nothing is rushed, although the tension keeps you turning pages, wondering what will happen next. Set in December, it makes an ideal winter read.

A Shetland Winter Mystery makes you want to read others in the series, although I found it wasn’t hard to pick up the story, there are plenty of hints to what happened before, but it’s great as a standalone as well. I loved the cover, the list with words at the back as well as the explanation about the background to the story.

I received a review copy via Reading Between the Lines but was under no pressure or obligation to write a favourable review.

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