Monday, May 1, 2023

The Scottish Ladies' Detective Agency - The Scottish Ladies Detective Agency #1

The Scottish Ladies' Detective Agency is the first in a new historical cozy series by Lydia Travers. Released 27th April 2023, it's 306 pages and is available in paperback, audio, and ebook formats. . It's worth noting that the ebook format has a handy interactive table of contents as well as interactive links and references throughout. I've really become enamored of ebooks with interactive formats lately. For Kindle Unlimited subscribers, this book is currently included in the KU subscription library to borrow and read for free.

This is a fun and well written historical cozy with an appealing cast of female private investigators (a well born young woman and her assistant, who was also her former lady's maid) during the early 1900s, set in Scotland. Protagonist Maud has set up as a private enquiry agent, despite strongly sexist discouragement, and is overjoyed when a real case comes her way. She and her sidekick, Daisy, are off to a country house weekend to try to prevent, or solve, a spate of jewel thefts at other stately homes in the area. 

The plot is well organized and the characters are rendered (mostly) believably. It's a historical cozy, so there are some period appropriate bits of dialogue and commentary which give the book a historical feel, but not so much as to be awkward or yank readers out of their suspension of disbelief. It's a light read; there's no graphic violence or rough language. Well written and civilized, readers who enjoy early golden age country house mysteries will likely find it an appealing read.

The unabridged audiobook has a run time of 9 hours 37 minutes and is narrated by Helen McAlpine. She has a light alto voice with a warm Scottish accent, but does an impressive job of a range of Scots regional accents -as well as- Irish and English without making it a wince-fest; quite an achievement. Ms. McAlpine's voice is relaxing and well rounded and easy to listen to. Sound and production quality are high throughout the read. 

Four stars. It works perfectly well as a standalone read, but readers who enjoy series cozies will be happy to hear that there won't be a long wait; book 2 is due out in May '23, and the third volume is slated to release in July '23. All are currently listed on Kindle Unlimited to borrow with a subscription to KU. 

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.

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