Hey Guys! Today I’m reviewing The Corpse Wore Tartan by Kaitlyn Dunnett. It is the fourth in the Liss MacCrimmon Scottish Mystery Series!
We start our story only a couple of days after Christmas on the night of the Burns Festival. Apparently a Scottish tradition where people drink and eat Haggis. Liss’ aunt is working the event but decides to go home early when there is news of a storm. The first in a line of bad events that happens is two of the Scottish Heritage Appreciation Society are fighting over a bagpipe. Liss stops their fight and asks Dan’s pregnant sister (the reception desk attendant) to throw the bagpipe out on her way home. Then Phil MacMillan and his wife Eunice greet Liss with a complaint that they forgot toothpaste at home and don’t want to buy any from the gift shop. Liss tells them they have to buy a new one if they want toothpaste as there is nowhere nearby to buy some. After their complaining they head back to their room.
Then we go into the kitchen where one of the SHAS members is complaining to the chef that the meal isn’t traditional without sheep stomach lining for the Haggis. The chef reminds him that outside of Europe it is considered a hazard to import. Then we get a call to Liss and Dan as Phil and Eunice tell them their room had been torn apart and the brooch of the family crest missing. The police are called in. Sherri Willett is investigating the brooch, and no one is allowed to leave the premises while questioning is going on. The employees are particularly upset about this. However a storm comes while the Burns Night Dinner is happening and knocks out the power, so everyone will have to stay anyways. They are snowed in! There are zero suspects for the missing brooch as most everyone has an alibi. Phineas MacMillan (twin to Phil) says a lot of upsetting things in his toast and riles people up.
After the power goes out Dan and Liss tell people where to get flashlights and such, and to not run too much hot water or there won’t be any since no one knows how long they will be snowed in for. Also food will be on the house since this is an inconvenience. This makes Dan worry about his father Joe, due to him putting all his life savings into this hotel and it still hasn’t paid off. Liss is in the gift shop with Russ Tandy and his wife (brother to Gordon Tandy Liss’ ex-lover) when Phineas shows up. Russ starts fighting with him only to be told that he is actually Phil. Phil then asks Liss the layout of the hotel so he can go explore.
Later on in the night one of the housekeeping staff, Sadie, rushes up to Dan and freaks out. She states there is a dead man in a supply closet in the basement. Dan confirms that one of the twins has been killed. He calls Sherri and Pete (works as a police officer and is Sherri’s fiance) down. They quarantine the scene. Liss is upset for the hotel and that this event has turned deadly. All of them travel upstairs to see which twin had been killed. They find Phineas in his room, meaning that it must have been Phil who was killed. They go to Phil and Eunice’s room since Phineas doesn’t believe that Phil could be dead. Eunice opens the door and refuses to believe it as well until she sees the body. However there is a lack of remorse on both Phineas and Eunice’s faces, which sets me and Liss both off on a track of suspicion.
Everyone is questioned once again as there is now a murderer on the loose. Sherri tries to keep the news of murder from the public, but people are gossips and it leaks out that one of the twins has been killed. Most people wish it had been Phineas that died, since he was a jerk at the supper. Will MacHenry collapses at one point due to his heart condition, and Liss and Dan must head out into the snow with snowshoes to the nearest doctor. They reach him before night and ask him to head to the hotel on snowmobile. Dan tells Liss he intends to propose to her at some point, which kind of ruins a surprise moment. But maybe with Liss that’s necessary since she isn’t a big fan of surprises in the love department. She tells him she will have to think on it. Liss spends the night at her house and looks at old photos and newspaper clippings from the SHAS. That’s where she believes she finds a break in the case. One of the housekeeping staff, Dilys, used to be engaged to Phineas MacMillan.
Liss goes over to where Dilys is staying with her cousin and goes through her stuff. She finds an article that tells of the SHAS having their annual Burns Night Supper at the hotel in Dilys’ room. This seals the deal for Liss and I think to myself perhaps, but it doesn’t make much sense to kill Phil if you’re upset about losing the engagement. She asks Eunice about Dilys and Eunice supplies info that Phil had given Phineas perhaps false information about Dilys cheating on him that lead to the engagement being called off due to the fact that if he got married he would get more from the trust fund and Phil would get less. That sets me on thinking that maybe Phil isn’t dead. He and Eunice were in financial trouble, what better way to fix that then to get the trust from Phineas? And if the insurance company thought it was murder they would get their payout there too. Liss and several other people keep commenting though that Eunice would know the difference between the twins, and that they have different mannerisms.
Dilys and Phineas disappear at some point, and Liss, Sherri, Pete, Joe, Sam (Dan’s brother) and Dan go on a search of the premises for them. Liss and Sherri accidentally find Phineas walking about on the third floor, and tell him to go to the main room for questioning later. They ask him if he’s seen Dilys, and he replies he didn’t know she was here but that he had seen someone walk on snowshoes earlier outside. But Liss has a hunch and instead they go into the closed off section of the hotel. In a closet Liss finds Dilys and they take her for questioning.
As I suspected Dilys was tied up by Phineas, who actually turns out to be Phil. The reason he killed Phineas and decided to take his identity was for money! I love when my twists turn out to be true :)) Phil takes Dan hostage at the end, but Liss remembers a secret passage that will lead to where he is going to go out of the hotel so she bangs him over the head with a frying pan. Phil is arrested by state police and then Liss accepts Dan’s proposal. Yay!!
Alright so what was great about this book?
-Well Liss and Dan, and Sherri and Pete. Well truthfully all the characters. They were a fun read. This author always writes characters in depth, even small characters that leave halfway through the book or are only mentioned once. Everyone has a great backstory!
-This one had more of a mystery! There was actually some crime solving going on. Liss still stumbled upon the answer, so I’ll have to deduct points for that. But she did question people and tried to figure out who killed Phineas, so yay! Good job!
-Liss finally gets engaged to Dan and Gordon Tandy is finito!
What didn’t I like?
-Liss still stumbles upon the answer.
-There is more exposition than mystery solving. I liked learning about Burns Night and the goings on in the hotel, but it can make the mystery seem rushed when there’s not much put into solving the crime.
-The fact that Liss was still unsure of Dan and thought about Tandy a couple of times, when she knew that she wasn’t even sad he was leaving last book…….
Overall I’d give this book a 4/5 or an 8/10. Marked improvements from the first 3!