Thou Shalt Not Kilt by Liam Ashe review: A cozy mystery perfect for the pandemic

CARDIFF, UNITED KINGDOM - NOVEMBER 13: A selection of multi-coloured books on a library bookshelf on November 13, 2018 in Cardiff, United Kingdom. (Photo by Matthew Horwood/Getty Images)
CARDIFF, UNITED KINGDOM - NOVEMBER 13: A selection of multi-coloured books on a library bookshelf on November 13, 2018 in Cardiff, United Kingdom. (Photo by Matthew Horwood/Getty Images) /

If you’re struggling with the pandemic or looking for something light to read, look no further than Liam Ashe’s Thou Shalt Not Kilt.

Full disclosure, I got the novel via Voracious Readers Only in return for an honest review.

Thou Shalt Not Kilt is one of those cozy mysteries that you’ll find yourself hooked on from the very beginning. It follows Elle Cunningham MacKay, a researcher who finds herself in the middle of a murder mystery. She works with the local detective to figure out who the murderer is among a family while making potential friends along the way.

What is Thou Shalt Not Kilt about?

The novel starts with what seems to be a small family gathering. It turns into a shocking turn of events for many with the owner of the estate kicking everyone out and making it clear that he’s divorcing his wife. It shouldn’t be too surprising that he’s the one that ends up dead at the start of the novel, forcing everyone on this small island to figure out who did it.

Of course, the wife is the first suspect, but Elle is sure it wasn’t her. And we know it wasn’t Elle, getting the story through her eyes only. Even the detective is sure that Elle didn’t do it. So, we’re left with various other members of the family who all have some sort of motive to kill the victim.

I do think the ending is a little obvious, but then this is an Agatha Christie-style book. Don’t some of them end up with a bit of an obvious turn, especially when you read more of them?

Is the novel good?

Personally, I thoroughly enjoyed it. While the ending was on the predictable side, that didn’t mean I didn’t enjoy going through the story. It became one of those that I read from start to finish within the space of a few days. Had I started it at the weekend, I’d have read through more of it faster!

It offers plenty of character development for Elle. We get to see her relationship with various other characters shift, although I did feel the need to learn a little more about some of the other characters, especially the victim’s wife.

The story is also full of Scottish traditions and culture. It’s probably not as much as I’d like coming off the Outlander books, but it’s enough to set the tone for the story. It’s the culture and traditions that make the location so important and is the reason for Elle being at the family dinner in the first place.

Elle is a likable character, which certainly helps the story move forward. She’s not perfect, with a very checkered past, and that makes her all the more likable. She feels grounded and relatable, although I do still have to question how everyone is just so sure that Elle had nothing to do with the murder, especially considering she found the body!

One of the things I adored the most about it is that it is an easy, cozy murder mystery. I’ve got into a rough spot with the pandemic and what it’s caused for life, and some of the novels that I’ve ended up with have just raised my anxiety or reminded me of the bad. Thou Shalt Not Kilt is one of those novels that I was able to fully escape into, and I appreciated that.

Next. The Woman in the Woods by J.E. Rowney review. dark

What do you think of Thou Shalt Not Kilt by Liam Ashe? What are you looking to read next? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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