It’s the oldest bookshop in a town full of bookshops; rambling and disordered, full of treasures if you look hard. Jude found one of the treasures when she visited last summer, the high point of a miserable vacation. Now, in the depths of winter, when she has to run away, Lowell’s chaotic bookshop in that backwater of a town is the safe place she runs to.
Jude needs a bolt-hole; Lowell needs an assistant and, when an affordable rental is thrown in too, life begins to look up. The gravedigger’s cottage isn’t perfect for a woman alone but at least she has quiet neighbors.
Quiet, but not silent. The long dead and the books they left behind both have tales to tell and the dusty rooms of the bookshop are not the haven they seem to be. Lowell’s past and Jude’s present are a dangerous cocktail of secrets and lies and someone is coming to light the taper that could destroy everything.
I was pleasantly surprised once I finished my first novel from Catriona McPherson. Not quite the edge-of-my-seat ghost story I expected, I didn’t care that it turned out not to be a traditional ghost story at all but instead a psychological mystery about past secrets in a tiny Scottish village. The layers of deceit are insane! Not only is the narrator unreliable, but every character is openly hiding something and the book plays out this intricate dance where all the characters are squared off, refusing to show each other their cards but ultimately getting caught-out because, in such a small village, there are only so many places to hide.
Quiet Neighbors is a cozy mystery with swearing. Most of the book takes place in Lowell’s used-books shop that is reminiscent of The Burrow in Harry Potter. The rest takes place either in Lowell’s dusty, old house with a view of the seaside, or in the little cottage by the cemetery. Both homes act like time machines, transporting the characters back about two decades once they cross the threshold, which really adds to the mystery of the town’s secrets. This was the perfect book to read just before bed—mysterious but relaxing at the same time. I can’t wait to read more of this author’s books!