Death from a Shetland Cliff by Marsali Taylor is one of a series of Scottish cosy crime novels set around the coast of the country and with a main character who is a sailor. I hadn’t read any of the others and although this is the eighth in the series it made no difference to my understanding or enjoyment of the story. Cass Lynch is employed as a mate on a tall ship in Norway but she has some weeks to spare and travels to her home islands where she agrees to help out an elderly woman who has fallen and is recuperating at home. Only, Tamar is not your usual infirm older person and things are happening around her house which Cass needs to investigate – then a body is found.
Cass has connections with the police and so she has an insight into what is happening with the investigation but soon things start getting a little too close to where she is living – her boat is boarded, there are strange noises in a nearby shed, Tamar is threatened and all the relatives seem to be gathering, wanting control of Tamar’s properties. Cass has to elude the bad guys, find out who has committed the murder and keep herself and Tamar safe – if she can.
I enjoyed this book a lot. It is well written and nicely complex with plenty of red herrings. Tamar is an interesting character and Cass knows her own mind and makes sensible decisions. There are lots of hidden secrets and lies for Cass to uncover. The landscape of the Shetlands is very much part of the story and the author especially concentrates on the water and coastlines. The unique dialect of the islands is part of the speech of the characters but represented in such as way that it colour the narrative it without obscuring it for the reader not from Shetland.
An interesting introduction to this series – I would read another if I came across one.