FATEFUL WORDS is the eighth book in the Scottish Bookshop Mysteries by Paige Shelton. Filled with the wondrous sights of Edinburgh and its famous authors (with a focus on Sir Walter Scott) while puzzling over mysteries to solve, the armchair detective and traveler are in for a treat with this newest release. Kansas transplant to Scotland, protagonist Delaney works at the Cracked Spine bookstore. While this can easily be read as a standalone, it’s been a joy watching as Delaney has grown and changed over the course of the series, which makes me recommend starting at the beginning. The author’s keen descriptive voice brings the charming bookstore and the characters who inhabit the pages to life. With Delaney stepping in to lead her boss’s annual literary tour of Edinburgh—after he mysteriously disappeared—this book contains more of the city than we’ve previously seen… which I adored. I especially enjoyed seeing more of Delaney’s husband, Tom (an Edinburgh native), as he assists her both with the tour and the investigations. The couple are delightful together and their respect and love for each other adds to the charm of the story.
Ms. Shelton creates a multi-faceted mystery, with twists and turns at every corner. First her boss disappears, then a murder takes place at the hotel the tour group is staying at. It doesn’t take long for one of the tour members to disappear and from there, the danger escalates. Weaving in tension amongst the literary tour spots around the city, the story is evenly paced and kept my attention glued to each page. As mysteries mount and clues are hunted down, the list of suspects grew. One of the unique things I like about this series is that Delaney hears bookish voices which throw out quotes from books. Sometimes the quotes help guide her in the investigation or point her in a different direction. The suspenseful conclusion brings even more danger before the reveal, and the author expertly connects the threads together into satisfying, cohesive answers.
While there aren’t any recipes in the book, the author brings the delightful tastes of Scotland to the pages. Shortbread is a popular teatime treat and Ms. Shelton is kind enough to share her favorite recipe with us! Here is her note on her recipe: I love shortbread – the flavor, the texture, the whole “got milk?” sensation because it’s so dry. However, my husband used to not be a fan, until I made one small change to my favorite shortbread recipe. Honestly, I like it better now too. I’m late to the party on this one, and I know most everyone else figured it out, but sprinkling sugar on top of shortbread is a game-changer. Yum. Here’s my favorite shortbread recipe with the recent addition.
And my taste testers gave this yummy shortbread recipe high marks! I even made it gluten-free and vegan the second time around by substituting a cup-for-cup gluten-free flour for all-purpose flour and used vegan margarine instead of the butter. It did require an extra ten minutes of baking and wasn’t quite as flaky as the “real” recipe, but my dietary-sensitive friends thought the shortbread was amazingly delicious.
When Edwin, Delaney’s boss at the Cracked Spine bookstore, leaves town on secret business, Delaney is called upon to guide his yearly literary tour around Edinburgh. But on the first night of the tour, at the inn where the tour group is staying, the inn manager falls—or is pushed—off the roof of the inn, and killed. Then, one of the tour members disappears, leaving a trail of puzzles in her wake.
In a race against the clock, Delaney sets out on the expedition of her life, following clues around Edinburgh to get to the bottom of this mystery. Exploring sights from Greyfriars Bobby to the Royal Mile to the Sir Walter Scott Monument, she’ll have to put the pieces together quickly, or the bookstore’s survival could be on the line…as well as her own.
A special thanks to Paige Shelton for providing a print copy of FATEFUL WORDS! Contest ends April 16, 2023 at 11:59 pm PST and is limited to U.S. residents only. Please use the Rafflecopter box located below to enter. The winner will be announced on this page and on Cinnamon & Sugar’s Facebook page, as well as notified by email (so check your spam folder!)
I love shortbread – the flavor, the texture, the whole “got milk?” sensation because it’s so dry. However, my husband used to not be a fan, until I made one small change to my favorite shortbread recipe. Honestly, I like it better now too. I’m late to the party on this one, and I know most everyone else figured it out, but sprinkling sugar on top of shortbread is a game-changer. Yum. Here's my favorite shortbread recipe with the recent addition.
- 2 sticks salted butter, softened (very important)
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla
- 2/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 cups flour
No mixer needed, but a strong silicone spatula/ is perfect.
Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees (F).
Spray 8 x 8 pan with non-stick cooking spray, then line with parchment. You’ll want to spray the top of the parchment too, but I do that right before I pour in the batter.
With the spatula, or even just a big spoon, stir the butter until it’s like mayonnaise. You stir and you press and then you stir again. If the butter is soft, it will work.
Add salt, stir again to combine.
Add vanilla and 2/3 cup sugar. Stir again.
Add flour, stir until combined. Batter will move past crumbly to solid enough to make a ball. I combine with my hands too.
Spray Pam on top of parchment.
Press batter evenly into pan. If you have a small roller, you can roll a flat surface or use the bottom of a glass to press it as flat and evenly as possible.
Cook for 35 minutes.
Remove pan from oven and set on top of a cooling rack. Sprinkle the top with 2 tablespoons of sugar.
Let cool in pan for 30 more minutes.
With parchment, lift from pan and then cut into small bars – I do three cuts one way and seven or eight the other.
Once all the way cool, store in airtight container.
Don’t forget the milk!
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I was provided with an advance copy. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Shortbread is such a treat when homemade! Yum!
Love this series!
Yummy, yummy. Goes best with a cup of tea.
I love the book description, sounds like a fun read!
The book sounds like a great read! I LOVE shortbread! Thanks for the recipe!
I’m reading the book right now and it is fascinating.
It would be nice to have some shortbread with tea while I read.
While shortbread is a tasty treat, this series is a take me away treat! I feel like I have been to Edinburgh with every book. So looking forward to reading it!
This cozy mystery sounds interesting, would love to read it! Thank you for sharing this yummy shortbread recipe!
I love shortbread so much it is so good and it is one of my favorite treats Hope hubby makes it when I get home from going on an emergency in Ca I will be there for 3 weeks with my son…..