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Reviewed by Liz Konkel for Readers' Favorite
Death by Bagpipes: A Summer Murder in Edinburgh by Jennifer S. Alderson is the fourth book in the Travel Can Be Murder Cozy Mystery series. Lana has finally met a great guy and he even wants her to move in with him, but after divorcing her cheating ex, Lana isn't so sure she's ready to take that step. When her boss and landlord Dotty asks her to tag along on a trip to help train a new guide, Lana reluctantly agrees and attends the family's tour of Scotland. Presto is a well-known magician whose family drama stirs up more than just old agendas, including family secrets and murder. An unfortunate run-in with her ex-husband has all eyes in his direction as the likely culprit, but even though their marriage ended in disaster, Lana doesn't think he did it. Can she find the real killer before her ex goes down for murder?
Time for a grand tour of Scotland as Jennifer S. Alderson incorporates the country into the backdrop of the mystery, which makes you feel as if you're taking part in the tour along with the characters. The various places are lovely and different locations are woven into the characters' tour which shows off the region and landscapes. The story is character-driven and explores another aspect of Lana's life that takes the focus. This time, Lana is facing the lingering pain left from her ex-husband cheating on her. She's finally happy in a relationship with someone but she's afraid to take a chance, thanks to how it ended with her ex. This is at the root of her emotional journey as she must finally confront her ex and find some closure.
Each mystery in the series is personal to Lana and has her facing a certain part of her past that she needs to work through or confront. The mystery revolves entirely around this family and their dynamics with each other which are slowly uncovered through their various issues and grudges. Alderson weaves in an undertone of humor throughout which is drawn from Lana and how she reacts to the drama of her guests and to investigating a murder. Death by Bagpipes continues the character-driven charm that Alderson is noted for in this series which delivers humor, a dramatic flair, and a stunning location.