Murder at a Scottish Castle



Murder at a Scottish Castle: A Scottish Cozy Mystery
(A Scottish Shire Mystery) by Traci Hall

About Murder at a Scottish Castle


Murder at a Scottish Castle: A Scottish Cozy Mystery (A Scottish Shire Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
5th in Series
Setting – Nairn, Scotland
Kensington Cozies (January 23, 2024)
Paperback ‏ : ‎ 304 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1496744373
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1496744371
Digital ASIN ‏ : ‎ B0C3WTZYGT


USA Today bestselling author returns with the latest novel in a Scottish seaside cozy knitting mystery series featuring busy single mom Paislee Shaw, owner of a specialty sweater shop, knitting enthusiast, and reluctant sleuth who must untangle another murderous yarn!

With the summer days getting shorter in the seaside village of Nairn, the annual bagpiping competition at Ramsey Castle promises to be quite the end-of-season blowout. Paisley has snagged a special invitation from the Dowager Countess, who wants to showcase her cashmere goods in the castle gift shop, and she’s brought her son Brody, Grandpa, and their black Scottish terrier Wallace.

There’s a fierce rivalry between Robert Grant, the Earl of Lyon, and last year’s winner Jory Baxter, with Grant loudly vowing to show up the blowhard Baxter and claim clan bragging rights. But the reigning champion has barely put the reed to his lips when he turns red and collapses, soon to take his dying breath. DI Zeffer confirms foul play, suspecting the reed may have been poisoned.

With a murderer in their midst, the rest of Nairn won’t breathe easy until Paisley applies her sleuthing skills to make sure justice is served and the killer pays the piper . . .


Enjoy an Excerpt from Murder at a Scottish Castle


Paislee, Grandpa and Brody followed the last of the band members to a large open-air covered area perfect for outdoor parties. It could easily seat two hundred or more with wooden tables for eating, and higher serving tables with platters of food and kegs of drinks.

Brody flicked his fingers toward his mates, all clustered together at a table. “Can I eat with them, Mum?”

Paislee checked out the situation, seeing them supervised, loosely, by other parents. “Aye. Be good. I’ll keep Wallace for you.”

“Why cannae he come?”

“After you finish. Wallace has a special diet that can’t be ruined by fatty meat.” It was bad enough that the terrier was better than a broom when it came to catching crumbs beneath the table.

“The dog has a diet,” Grandpa scoffed. “Nothing wrong with sturdy animal bones. It’s guid for him.”

“They can splinter and catch in his throat,” Paislee cautioned. 

Brody scowled, but then nodded and joined his mates. Wallace whined. Paislee patted the pup’s head. “I’ll make sure you get some lean pieces of venison.”

Wallace lay down on the stone slab of the dining area with a whine.

“Dinnae blame ye boy,” Grandpa said. He looked at Paislee. “You’re making the dog a sissy.”

“Keeping the dog healthy,” Paislee countered. She eyed the lines for food. “Why don’t you go first, Grandpa? I can wait here. Unless you want me tae get both our plates?”

“I’m no bairn you need tae coddle, lass.” Grandpa straightened his tam over his silver-gray hair. “Want me tae get you a plate? Mibbe something soft, like porridge?”

Oh! That’s what she got for just trying to be nice. Paislee exhaled. “No, thank you.” 

Grandpa returned with a paper plate piled high with meat, not a single vegetable to be seen. He sat opposite her and smacked his lips, daring her to say a word.

She kept her mouth shut. “Can you watch Wallace?”

“Aye.” The dog lead was tied to the wooden bench and the pup watched her actions with a legitimate canine pout.

“Thanks.” Paislee joined the end of the queue, and it was as if there hadn’t been a dent in the massive platters of roasted beef or venison. 

She chose several ribs and then a leaner selection with no bones for Wallace. Next, she added roasted potatoes, mushrooms, and corn. A fresh salad of tomato and herbs, and last, a bannock. She took two, knowing that Grandpa would enjoy a piece of the flat bread to sop up the juices from his carnivore feast.

On her way back to the table, she saw Brody and a group of kids all telling jokes as they ate. It made her happy to be part of this community, as he was too.

Upon her return, Paislee noted that a woman from Clan MacTavish had joined them and brought two mugs of whisky for Paislee and Grandpa.

“How sweet!” Paislee sat opposite Grandpa. Clan MacTavish took up the rest of the table. Most of the instruments had been put along the back partition wall made of lattice. Bagpipes had different kinds of cases, hard to soft, and same for the drums.

“My pleasure,” the lass next to Paislee said. “I’m Nettie. Thanks for sharing your table!” Her eyes were the exact hue of her sky-blue jacket, her hair a soft brown styled to her chin.

“Paislee. Nice tae meet you.” Paislee handed Grandpa a bannock. He accepted with a grin, already happy with the whisky and the company.

She bit into the tender meat feeling Wallace’s eyes on her as if he’d never had a meal in his life. She shredded the cooled leaner cuts and put them aside on an extra plate she’d grabbed for the purpose.

“Slowly! Taste it!” she said. Wallace waited until her hands were free and then dove in. It was gone in seconds, and he looked at her for more.

“He didnae savor a bite,” Grandpa laughed.

“He didn’t. I’m lucky tae have my fingers.” When she’d bought the adorable puppy to fill the hole left by Gran’s death, he’d stolen her heart with his dark eyes and soft wiry fur. She hadn’t cared about the terrier’s temperament. Like many human Scots, the Scottish terrier was fierce, loyal, willful, and loving. Dr. Kathleen McHenry, the veterinarian, had suggested a trainer when Wallace was at the pet clinic for eating socks the first week they’d had him.

Now, six years later, Wallace was much better behaved than many dogs and she credited that to Dr. McHenry. The lifespan for the breed was twelve to fifteen years, so long as he didn’t eat any more clothes. He had a special diet to keep from gaining weight which would hurt his short legs. Wallace was a loved member of her family.

“More whisky?” Nettie asked Grandpa and Paislee. “I’m going for a refill. I’m not driving, and the earl brews his own. Cannae get it anywhere else.”

“None for me,” Paislee said. She’d been so busy eating that she’d barely touched her drink. “Thanks though.”

“I’ll help you,” Grandpa said, getting up.

“You’re a dear,” Nettie said.

Her grandfather blushed.

Paislee hid her smile behind a bite of roasted mushroom. The herbs were grown in the wild as well as in the greenhouse. Maybe one day when she wasn’t so busy, she could put a few pots in the back garden for some container vegetables. 

When Grandpa returned, Paislee went for just a few more of the roasted veg and another bannock, perusing the tables for Brody.

Ah, he was done eating and playing a game of catch with the other kids by the barn. 

It was good that he was having fun and independent. It hurt a wee bit as she realized he was loosening his attachment to her. As it should be. Her heart ached. Trying to hold onto time was as impossible as catching rain in a sieve.

Paislee shifted with her plate. There was Lissia and Cinda, in conversation about how Patrick had excelled with the roasted meat. Cinda’s eyes sparkled as she watched Patrick. At the far end of the long table, Sorcha and Robert appeared to be having heated words. 

Clan Cunningham members sat at their own table, the director often checking his phone. Clyde was no doubt waiting for word about Jory. Was he finally worried? She didn’t have a high opinion of the pipe major.

She checked her watch. It was seven in the evening. It had been three hours since Jory had collapsed to the grass.

Jerry and the other Campbell clan members were not as joyful as some of the others. Did they feel that they’d lost today by not forcing a forfeit?

Jerry saw her looking and waved, no usual smile for her as he dug into his food.

She was going to ask him what was wrong but then decided against it. A room of competitors wasn’t the place for a private conversation. She trusted that he would take care of Jory’s bagpipes, knowing the importance of the instrument, even if they were competitors. 

Clyde’s phone rang and the director answered with a loud, “Hello?”

Clyde turned very pale. His next words were murmurs as he frowned and asked more questions. “Are ye okay?”

Clyde gulped and jumped up to the table, knees visible in his red and black kilt as he cleared his team’s plates with an angry foot. His longish hair in the front flopped over his eye.

“What’s wrong?” his bass drummer asked. The big man scowled at the meat on his shirt from Clyde, then brushed it off. “It better be guid.”

“Jory Baxter is dead.” Clyde pointed with fury toward Robert. “You have some explaining tae do.”

About Traci Hall

From cozy mysteries to seaside romance, USA Today bestselling author Traci Hall writes stories that captivate her readers. As a hybrid author with over sixty published works, Ms. Hall has a favorite tale for everyone.

Mystery lovers, check out her Scottish Shire series, set in the seaside town of Nairn, or the Salem B&B Mystery series, co-written as Traci Wilton. Her latest project is an Irish Castle cozy as Ellie Brannigan. Whether it’s her ever-popular By the Sea romances, an Appletree Cove sweet romance, or a fun who-done-it, Traci finds her inspiration in sunny South Florida, living right near the ocean.

Murder at a Scottish Castle

Traci Hall Author Interview 

Five Fast Favorites:

Q. Favorite genre of movie

A. Horror

Q. Favorite food

A. Shrimp

Q. Favorite genre of books

A. Historical fiction

Q. Favorite color

A. Periwinkle 

And last favorite….

Q. Favorite hobby

A. Walking outside in nature

Traci wants to hear from you!

Author Links







Purchase Links

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  1. always love reading the accents in books set in Scotland and Ireland...

    1. The narrator for this book, Beverley A Crick, does an amazing job bringing this series to life!


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