Painter (and amateur sleuth) Iris Grey enters a world of buried secrets, village gossip, family feuds, and murder in the latest cosy mystery from New York Times bestselling author M. B. Shaw.
Portrait painter Iris Grey arrives at Pitfeldy Castle in the Scottish Highlands, at the request of Baron Jock MacKinnon.
Jock has commissioned Iris to paint a portrait of his fiancé, an American socialite Kathy Miller, ahead of their New Year wedding. Kathy invites Iris into her confidence, as she's received a series of threatening notes asking her to call off the wedding. Iris begins to investigate, and when a body is discovered in the grounds of the castle, she fears for Kathy's safety.
With the wedding fast approaching, Iris tries to solve a mystery that is caught up in a rarified world of family feuds, romantic intrigue, buried secrets, and murder.
Shaw's convoluted sequel to 2018's Murder at the Mill takes portrait painter Iris Grey from London to the wilds of Scotland, to paint beautiful, young, and twice divorced American socialite Kathy Miller, who's engaged to gruff, elderly, and immensely wealthy Jock MacKinnon, baron of Pitfeldy Castle. When Iris arrives, she finds the castle's vibe to be "less Downton Abbey and more Scooby Doo," and the loquacious intended bride to be an overflowing fount of gossip. While Iris and Kathy are on a walk, Kathy's two tiny, excitable dogs uncover the skeletal remains of two bodies. Det. Insp. Stuart Haley investigates, and soon the no-nonsense policeman is asking Iris to help him discover the victims' identities by using her social media platform, which she successfully used in a previous case of hers. A Facebook message from Italy has Iris heading for Venice, where she finds clues to long-buried crimes and corrosive family secrets. The uneven pacing dilutes the suspense, and readers will feel little sense of concern for Iris. Still, fans of lighter mysteries will be entertained.