My Rating: 3 stars
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Age Category: Adult
Type of romance: MF
When English tearoom owner, Gemma Rose, finds herself on an unexpected trip to Scotland, she is delighted by the chance to stay in a beautiful Scottish castle—complete with mounted stag heads, cosy fireplaces, and misty mountain views. She’s looking forward to a relaxing weekend in the Highlands, sampling traditional Scottish baking, trying her hand at fly fishing, and learning to enjoy a “wee dram” of whisky.
But when she stumbles on a dead body in the castle library, Gemma quickly becomes steeped in a country-house murder with a distinctly tartan feel! Luckily, the nosy “Old Biddies” are on hand to help with the sleuthing, and even her cheeky tabby cat, Muesli, is keen to lend a paw. But with a castle full of quirky guests, the list of suspects is long, and everyone has something to hide. Can Gemma untangle the web of lies and motives, and reel in the killer before it’s too late?
I received a free copy of this book from the author and voluntarily reviewed it.
A High Whisk Situation is the twelfth book already in this series. Tearoom owner Gemma goes on a vacation to Scotland in this book and then stumbles upon a dead body in the castle they’re staying. This book had a change of scenery with the characters visiting Scotland, I often feel a bit conflicted about scenery changes in cozy mysteries. On the one hand I like seeing a different place and how it can make the story feel fresh and on the other hand I miss the familiar surroundings. I thought it worked rather well here, but most of the story takes place in the castle and I would’ve liked to see Gemma experience a bit more of the country and try more of the baking as she had planned, but that didn’t really work with the mystery being so focused on the castle.
The mystery had a slight locked room vibe, but as there were so many guests and staff involved it didn’t really felt like that limited the pool of suspects very much. It did add an interesting twist to the mystery with Gemma having to figure out who was downstairs at the time and who could’ve killed the victim. The victim is the hotel manager who was pretty unlikable, so plenty of people had a plausible motive. There were plenty of red herrings and secrets that come to light during the book, which is one of my favorite things about this author’s books.
Unfortunately I struggled a bit with this book as well as the few recent books by this author. I feel like I read simply too many of her books in the last few years and they have become a bit stale to me. I’ve grown to expect certain things happening or can guess who has a real chance of being the murderer and who not. I settled on two suspects here and one of them was indeed the murderer. There are a lot of scenes which are supposed to be funny, but started to rub me wrong. There are so many coincidences with how Gemma stumbles upon clues and patterns in how she talks or acts. Like with Muesli escaping and her accidentally finding a clue or her trying to get the biddies out of trouble and joining them. It adds a sense of familiarity, but it also makes me feel like a lot of the same things happen in these books. I plan to read her next paranormal cozy mystery when it releases as that wraps up the series, but maybe take a break from her books then for a while, so that when/ if I come back to them they hopefully feel more fresh.
To summarize: A High Whisk Situation is a chance of pace for Gemma as she goes on a vacation to Scotland. I kinda like and don’t like the change of scenery, it’s nice to have a different location, but I also miss the familiar location. The mystery had plenty suspects with a slight locked room feel as it’s clear someone in the castle did it. There are red herrings and secrets that come to light during the mystery, which I liked. I didn’t always like how Gemma acted or handled things. I didn’t like how Gemma finds so many of the clues by coincidence instead of going after them. And I’ve been struggling a bit with how the latest books by this author have started to feel a bit stale to me as they feel quite similar in style. I can predict certain twists or have read certain situation so often they just start to rub me wrong. I managed to predict who the murderer was toward the later part of the book.