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Thistles and Thieves

(Highland Bookshop Mystery #3)

3.60  ·  Rating details ·  328 ratings  ·  42 reviews
Out for a bicycle ride in the hills beyond Inversgail, Janet Marsh discovers the body of Dr. Malcolm Murray. The elderly Murray and his own bicycle went off the road and down a steep slope—he’s sprawled in the burn at the bottom, his damaged bike in a patch of thistles on the bank. Janet calls the Police Scotland emergency number. Tire tracks at the side of the narrow road ...more
Hardcover, 279 pages
Published January 7th 2020 by Pegasus Books
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Average rating 3.60  · 
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 ·  328 ratings  ·  42 reviews

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Feb 02, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley-books
Thistles and Thieves by Molly MacRae is a Scottish cozy mystery and is third in the Highland Bookshop Mystery series. Although cozies are not usually my favorite genre of fiction, this one hooked me from the onset. This is a murder mystery but, more importantly, this is a story about Janet Marsh and the friendship between women who together, run and own a bookstore and tea room. Yon Bonnie Books in Inversgail is where the women work and also where they discuss and investigate local murders, much ...more
Kate Baxter
After having enjoyed the early installments in this cozy mystery series, I so wanted to enjoy this third book as well. Sadly, it left me wanting. There is a tremendous amount of dialogue among the sleuthing bookstore and café staff yet perhaps not enough action throughout. These women somehow always seem to get involved in the murder du jour, yet are always warned off by the local constabulary. They can't keep well enough alone and insinuate themselves into the investigation which frankly, was a ...more
Bonnye Reed
I received a free electronic copy of this novel from Netgalley, Molly MacRae, and publisher Pegasus Books. Thank you all for sharing your hard work with me. I have read this cozy mystery of my own volition, and this review reflects my honest opinion of this work. I am pleased to refer this author to friends and family. Her work is delightful.

Taking place in Inversgail, a small town on the northwestern coast of Scotland, Thistles and Thieves is the third book of the Highland Bookshop Mysteries,
Feb 01, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I am really enjoying this series by Ms. MacRae. I read the first two books in the series but decided to try this book in audio. The narrator, Lucy Paterson, did a wonderful job of representing each character with their own "voice". The mystery was complex and the characters are well on the way of being fully developed. The Scotland setting described by Ms. MacRae adds to the story and I love hearing the Gaelic words spoken as I would have never guessed how they were pronounced if I had read them ...more
Feb 01, 2020 rated it it was ok
I really hope I’m not losing my taste for cozy mysteries and that it’s just this series that’s not ringing my bell.

The plot kind of plods along, find a, talk, talk...find another, talk, talk...find another, talk, talk... the ladies bumble into solving it again.

Seriously, this series checks off all my boxes - cozy, bookstore, Scottish highlands. It should be pure comfort reading for me, but it really misses the mark. I’ll probably only give it one more shot.
Dec 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I'm so glad I stuck with this series. It has gotten better with each book as the characters have grown. The pace continues to be the perfect slower pace found in a cozy. The perfect reading getaway.
Janet and her daughter, Tallie, along with Janet's long time friend, Christine and her daughter, Summer, run a combination book store and tea room. Janet and Tallie are American transplants and Christine and her daughter have returned to their roots in Scotland. Together they make quite a team. They d
Nancy Bradford
Feb 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Another great book by Ms. MacRae
Donamae Clausen kutska
Sep 30, 2019 marked it as to-read
Marked want to read
Feb 08, 2020 rated it liked it
I enjoyed the first two books in this series, but I started to get annoyed while reading this one. The main characters keep proposing motives, clues, contradicting each other, and in general dragging out the whole process. The fun in reading a mystery is trying to figure out "who done it" before the author spells it out. The book does all this speculating over and over and we have to wade through it to get to the prize. In the first books, maybe because she was introducing the characters it made ...more
Apr 18, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: mystery, read-in-2020
A cozy mystery with a Scottish bookstore setting. What’s not to like? Well, in this 3rd entry in the series, unfortunately quite a lot. The story just kept plodding along in a scattered kind of way. Most of the main characters really kept getting on my nerves and seemed just plain annoying. Calling one of their set Boadicea quickly lost its charm after the fifteenth time and seemed like forced humor. Christine’s “Queen” aspect of her personality just seemed plain weird. The repeated calling of t ...more
Feb 29, 2020 rated it liked it
I expected to like this more - it has pretty much everything I like in a cozy, Scottish setting, likeable police, body found in an idyllic setting, questions about the true character of the victim. However, I feel that the author missed the mark on this one. The interesting storyline was just not well put together.

Our 4 heroines seem rather grumpy and unlikeable in this book. They display superior attitudes and condescend towards the "plodding" police. They treat author Ian unkindly for attempt
Kim Lockhart
May 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this lighthearted book, not so much for the mystery or plot, which are fine, but not scintillating, but for the delightful dialogue. I want to be friends with this group of women, hang out at the bookshop, and eat fish 'n' chips and drink ale at the local pub. It's the friendship which is the strength of the story. ...more
Janice Chan
Jan 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
When Janet, one of the owners of Yon Bonnie Books and part time sleuth in the village of Inversgail, Scotland decides to take up bicycle riding, the last thing she expects to find on her first ride is the body of a fellow cyclist by the side of the road. But was the death another tragic road accident, or was it murder?

The mysteries (and bodies) soon begin to pile up in this engaging read, while at the same time, readers get to know a few more of the villagers.
Patricia Romero
Dec 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: cozy-mystery, series
The Highland Bookshop Mystery Series Book 3

Back to Scotland at Yon Bonnie Books with Janet and friends.

Janet is out for a bike ride by Inversgail when she sees tracks and finds Dr. Murray and his bike down a very steep slope. Calling the Police Scotland emergency number, she is struck by what look like tire tracks. If this was an accident why in the world didn't they stop? And if it wasn't an accident who in the world would want to kill a much loved and already retired doctor?

In the next few day
Dec 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
“We are amateurs and we know it. We bumble and muddle and we’re certainly led astray by red herrings.”
“Although, let’s not sell ourselves short.”

A third outing for Molly MacRae’s cast of characters running the Yon Bonnie Books in the quaint Scottish town of Inversgail. The SCONES (Shadowy Constabulary of Nosy Eavesdropping Snoops), as they were once called by a character in a previous book – Janet Marsh and her daughter Tallie, and friends Christine and Summer – have only just moved on a few wee
Dec 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is the 3rd installment of the Highland Bookshop series. The ladies (Janet, Christine, Tallie and Summer) of Yon Bonnie Books (love the name of this bookshop) are back at in again when Janet is out for a bike ride when she finds the body of Dr. Murray at the bottom of a burn and she calls Scotland Yard. There are also tire tracks nearby so was this an accident or what is on purpose. A box of books gets left at the bookshop a few days later and the ladies suspect they are Dr. Murray’s. They b ...more
Oct 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
Excellent mystery with several twists. Lots of characters and a highland background keeps it suspenseful. the ladies of Yon Bonnie Books, Janet, Christine, Tallie, and Summer, are confused when a sealed box of used books is left on the steps of the shop. Are they a clue left behind by the local retired doctor that Janet found dead after a bicycling accident?And then travelling nurse, Lachy is found murdered. When the doctor's hermit brother is also found murdered the ladies realize they must all ...more
Nov 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
Thistles and Thieves is the third book in the Highland Bookshop, it does work as a standalone but I recommend reading them in series order. Molly MacRae has created wonderful characters and as always the story is well plotted. This is one of my favorite series set in Scotland, the setting is is so well written I feel like I'm there. ...more
Rima Aiello
Nov 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful setting, engaging characters, and a head scratcher of a mystery. Not only is there a murder, but also the appearance of mystery books which keeps the ladies and authorities guessing. A strong addition to a fantastic series.
Feb 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
#3 in the Highland Bookshop mystery series. This 2020 series entry by author Molly MacRae has the series getting even better. Four women own and operate a bookstore, Yon Bonnie Books, and an adjoining tearoom, Cakes and Tales, in Inversgail, Scotland. Three are American ex-pats. including a mother and daughter who used to summer in Inversgail and the fourth is an Inversgail re-pat, returned from a lengthy residence in the States to aid her aging parents. MacRae has done a fine job of bringing th ...more
Susan Van Kirk
Feb 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Each time I read one of Molly MacRae's books in the Highland Bookshop Mystery series, I laugh a lot and picture the crazy and eccentric characters of the village of Inversgail, Scotland.

Janet March and her friend, Christine Richardson, have started a book shop, Yon Bonnie Books, along with their daughters, Tallie and Summer, in the small village of Inversgail. They are forever falling over or running across dead bodies, much to the consternation of the local constabulary.
When a beloved local d
Bonnie Mandel
Feb 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
So loving this interesting series set in a Scottish Book and Tea Shop run by 3 Americans and 1 Scottish returnee. Characters are fully fleshed and very relatable along with several animals
especially the quirky little dog named Ranger and his owner Rab.
This is the 3rd entry in the series and each mystery has been a big part of the story.
A few Scottish and Gaelic phrases throw in along with very descriptive passages on the countryside and the village setting. Yon Bonnie Books along with the tea
Jane Irish Nelson
Aug 10, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery, contemporary
3.5 stars. This is a very enjoyable series, featuring an interesting, yet sometimes quirky, cast of characters — though I think I could do without Ian. When Janet decides to start cycling again, on her very first ride she makes an unwelcome discovery: a body in a stream below the bridge she stopped on to appreciate "a view to die for". Although she doesn't know if the death was accidental or not, she and her colleagues become involved in the investigation. And then a mysterious box of books appe ...more
Mar 26, 2020 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
Challenges: RRRCs February 2020 - Celestial body on cover (9); and, Steeped in Books/Stacking the Series - Level 1e/Book 3. A mystery set in a cozy Scottish town; four friends and joint business owners solve more crimes while offering charming banter filled with Scottish sayings and Gaelic expressions. Colorful characters that impart life lessons regarding how things are often turned upside down (tapsalteerie). And, questions are asked of whether anyone is who others think they are and are peopl ...more
May 04, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020
I like this series and I liked this book. I love the setting, and I love their little bookshop and tearoom set up. I really like the characters too. This was a pretty good mystery. That said, I do wish that there was more about Summer in these books, because I feel like she isn't really involved in solving the mystery ever, and she kind of just feels like an extra character, but she seems interesting. A good cozy mystery series though. ...more
Becky Tatar
Feb 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
While out biking, Janet finds a body by a bridge, next to the river. After calling the police, it appears that the victim is a well regarded doctor in the area. A puzzle, since he was with a bike, but was not wearing biking kit. With her friend/ Christine, Summer, and Janet's daughter, Tallie, they work on solving the mystery. There are many suspects, as well as two more bodies. ...more
Feb 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Awesome mystery with many varied mysteries. There is a old family with two brothers and a half sister. Malcolm who is a doctor and bike rider. Malcolm has an accident with his bike and is killed. Janet March co owner is You Bonnie Books stumbled upon accident it soon becomes clear it might not be accident. There will be a total of three murders the person responsible is not who I expected.
Feb 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is a great series. I kind of have a hard time understanding the Gaelic and Scottish words, but love the characters and setting. The plots are believable. I never guessed who did the murders. I hope the next one comes soon!
Feb 23, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: cozy-mysteries
Janet is getting healthier while training for an event of bicycle riders. She discovers a body on one of her rides. Soon, the entire Murray family are the highlights of the gossip and murder investigations.
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Molly MacRae spent twenty years in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains of Upper East Tennessee, where she managed The Book Place, an independent bookstore; may it rest in peace.

Before the lure of books hooked her, she was curator of the history museum in Jonesborough, Tennessee’s oldest town.

MacRae lives with her family in Champaign, Illinois, where she connects children with books at the

Other books in the series

Highland Bookshop Mystery (4 books)
  • Plaid and Plagiarism (Highland Bookshop Mystery #1)
  • Scones and Scoundrels (Highland Bookshop Mystery #2)
  • Heather and Homicide: The Highland Bookshop Mystery Series: Book 4

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