Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Lament for a Lady Laird: Review

Lament for a Lady Laird (1982) by Margot Arnold is part of the continuing adventures of PennySpring, anthropologist, and Sir Toby Glendower, archaeologist. Penny has received a letter from her old friend Heather Mcdonnell inviting her to visit her at the Scottish castle she has recently inherited. It's somewhat fortuitous because Penny has been trying to figure out what she will do with her summer vacation time--but she also wonders what she might be getting herself into as she picks up a strange sense of urgency from Heather when she calls to discuss the visit.

Upon arrival at Soruba House, she discovers that either Heather's new home is well and truly haunted or someone is determined to scare the new Lady Laird away. It's hard to figure out why, though. The castle had lain empty for some time while the attorneys tracked down the "lost" heir to the Mcdonnell seat, so surely if there was anything in the castle worth getting it would have been strategic for the "ghost" to get it before the new Laird's arrival. 

Things get even more mysterious when the Laird of the neighboring land, Amy McClintock, is found dead from an apparent drowning after she fails to arrive at a dinner meant to introduce Penny to the locals. Penny feels a bit lost without her partner in detection and asks Heather to invite Sir Toby to stay as well. Now Penny, Sir Toby, and Heather's niece (recently arrived as well) must search for clues to see if the McClintock was the true target or if she discovered something dangerous about Heather's "ghost." There's little archaeology going on in this one--but there are ties to the past that will explain the crimes of the present.

Another solid ★★ entry in this series. It's not an intricate puzzle, but a nice cozy little mystery with good characterization and an interesting detective duo with a fun relationship--full of banter, almost like an old married couple. The only draw-back on the mystery side is that while the reader might suspect who's behind the murder and the "haunting" and have a vague idea about the motive there really aren't enough clues to determine the actual, real live reason. I certainly wouldn't have guessed (and didn't) that [hidden by light font to prevent spoiling--highlight to read] plutonium that went down in the water with a crashed plane was the final objective of the culprit. There weren't exactly any clues pointing to that.

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