Six books into Catriona McPherson’s Last Ditch Mystery series and the books just keep getting better—which is saying something, when Scot Free started as such a success. But it is true that Hop Scot is the best in the series to date.
One of the complete joys of this light-hearted cozy series has always been watching Lexy Campbell navigate adjusting to life in America—especially California, which can often seem like its own world even to natives. As a transplant herself, Catriona McPherson squeezes every drop of humor possible out of Lexy’s unique situation. By surrounding her with a ragtag and quirky friendship circle, readers find themselves right in on the jokes with Lexy, rather than feeling as though they are laughing at her.
However, this series has been going on for a while, so it is always a good idea to change things up now and then, so with Hop Scot, Lexy finds herself back in Scotland with her pals at her side. This time it is the California crew that feel out of place and out of sorts.
With Lexy and gang, plans never go as expected so they find themselves in the tiny town of Yule where they will spend the holiday in a castle turned into a not yet really open for business B&B. Readers know this is a mystery novel, so very quickly a centuries-old crime is mentioned, and our amateur sleuths’ ears perk up. But when a skeleton is discovered buried in the wall a vintage whodunit investigation commences.
The Last Ditch Mystery series is the epitome of fun reading, so a holiday-themed entry makes perfect sense. Catriona McPherson packs the plot with plenty of holiday cheer and seasonal accoutrements—along with some dreadful Scottish weather—making it a great novel for those who want a bit of crime but never want to lose the festive atmosphere this time of year is known for.
Fans of the series will delight in seeing their favorites out of their comfort zone, but there are enough new faces across the pond for both new and loyal readers to feel a sense of discovery. The mystery itself—which is never really the point of the books in this series—is satisfying without being too mentally taxing. Astute readers will be figuring things out along with Lexy, Todd, and Kathi—if they can stop laughing long enough to pay attention.
There is no telling what misadventures this group of characters will find themselves in next, but based on the quality of Hop Scot, it is clear that Catriona McPherson still has many depths to mine and jokes to share—and that is her gift to readers everywhere.
Disclaimer: A print copy of this title was provided to BOLO Books by the author. No promotion was promised and the above is an unbiased review of the novel.