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Saturday 10 January 2015

‘Acting Suspiciously’ by the Mulgray Twins

Published by Matador,
28 November 2014.
ISBN: 978-1-78462-053-0

Act It Out is a company that specialises in tours of historical landmarks with dramatic re-enactments of scenes from the life of Mary, Queen of Scots. However the Revenue & Customs Agency suspect that Act It Out is the cover for drug distribution in Scotland and are determined to infiltrate the company. When one of the agents dealing with the case dies, in what seems to be a freak accident, the Revenue Agency decides to send in DJ Smith and her sniffer cat, Gorgonzola.

DJ takes the cover name of Shelagh Macbeth and Gorgonzola's tag bears the name 'Lady.'
DJ is suspicious of the cast of Act It Out and of her fellow travellers, most of the latter are very strange indeed, especially the woman who claims to be a reincarnation of Mary Queen of Scots and the fanatical (and incessant) bagpipe player. To make DJ's job even trickier, Gorgonzola complicates matters by maintaining a feud with the small dog that belongs to another traveller. Another death occurs and, in order to continue the tour, and her investigation, DJ has to take part in the performance as the narrator. This brings home the importance of thinking through one's undercover name, as the name of Macbeth reduces most of the superstitious actors to hysterical panic. As the performances and tour of historical sites continue more people die and DJ and her heroic cat are in extreme danger.

Acting Suspiciously is a lively black comedy, peopled by some very eccentric characters, but it also has some beautiful descriptions of Scotland's great historical landmarks. DJ and Gorgonzola are likeable protagonists and I loved the idea of a sniffer cat. I found this great fun and an enjoyable read.
Reviewer: Carol Westron

Helen and Morna Mulgray were born in 1939 in Joppa, Edinburgh. They are identical twins who took up writing after they retired from teaching English at two neighbouring secondary schools in Edinburgh.

Carol Westron is a successful short story writer and a Creative Writing teacher.  She is the moderator for the cosy/historical crime panel, The Deadly Dames.  Her crime novels are set both in contemporary and Victorian times.  The Terminal Velocity of Cats is the first in her Scene of Crimes novels, was published July 2013. Her second book About the Children was published in May 2014.

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