“Surely I wasn’t caught up yet again in some crime or other. This couldn’t be happening. But I had a terribly sneaking suspicion that it was.”
That was the realisation which struck Alison Cameron, protagonist in the Isle of Bute Mystery series written by author Myra Duffy, after finding herself yet again at the centre of several deaths under questionable circumstances at an island hotel.
The sixth book in the series, ‘Death at the Kyles of Bute’ sees Alison return to Bute to take up a position with the Kyles of Bute hotel in Port Bannatyne as a guest speaker providing entertainment to the guests. The hotel, although grand in size and style, is reminiscent of Fawlty Towers in so far as the staff are concerned - the manager sees no wrong in participating in arguments with his staff in front of guests, the chef - whose culinary exploits leave a lot to be desired - isn’t particularly well liked, and the ‘handyman’ is anything but ‘handy’.
Soon after Alison arrives it is clear all is not well, and it’s not long before events manager, Hamish, is found dead in the hotel, the victim of an apparent poisoning - and he’s not to be the last.
Ghostly goings-on on the top floor of the hotel leave one guest feeling uneasy, while stories of the disappearance of a resident in the 1930s does little to reassure Alison.
Anyone who has worked in a hotel will identify with the intrigue generated by the many varied and eccentric guests who pass through the building’s doors. There’s always one ‘regular’ who keeps the manager occupied with their numerous complaints, with staff tripping over themselves to appease her (for the sake of a quiet life), and the guest who fancies himself as an authority on all matters (and isn’t shy about sharing his opinions with the other guests in as loud and intrusive a manner as possible).
While she insists that she doesn’t go seeking out crime and murder on Bute, it seems Alison has quite the nose for a good mystery, and isn’t afraid of getting her hands dirty to uncover the truth.
* Read the full review in this week’s Buteman - on sale now - and head to Print Point on Friday, November 28, from 11am to 1pm to get your copy of ‘Death at the Kyles of Bute’ signed by author Myra Duffy.