Publication: 10th June 2021 – Hodder & Stoughton
It’s the 1930s and a mysterious illness is spreading over Scotland. But the noble and ancient family of Inverkillen, residents of Loch Down Abbey, are much more concerned with dwindling toilet roll supplies and who will look after the children now that Nanny has regretfully (and most inconveniently) departed this life.
Then Lord Inverkillen, Earl and head of the family, is found dead in mysterious circumstances. The inspector declares it an accident but Mrs MacBain, the head housekeeper, isn’t so convinced. As no one is allowed in or out because of the illness, the residents of the house – both upstairs and downstairs – are the only suspects. With the Earl’s own family too busy doing what can only be described as nothing, she decides to do some digging – in between chores, of course – and in doing so uncovers a whole host of long-hidden secrets, lies and betrayals that will alter the dynamics of the household for ever.
Perfect for fans of Downton Abbey, Agatha Christie and Richard Osman’s The Thursday Murder Club, LOCH DOWN ABBEY is a playful, humorous mystery that will keep you glued to the page!
Loch Down Abbey was such a fun read. It is set in Scotland in the 1930s where a pandemic is making more and more people sick, many are dying, shops are closing, and people are staying inside. Everyone is scared, except the noble Inverkillen family, safe in the ancient home of Loch Down Abbey with its 125 rooms – not counting the servant rooms – of which only six are used. The entire Inverkillen family is in the Abbey, starting from the matriarch Lady Georgina to her children, her grandchildren, and her great grandchildren. Entitled and self-absorbed, when Nanny suddenly dies their only worry is: who is going to look after the children? The death of Hamish, the head of the family, only affects them regarding what he left them in their will, while Mrs. MacBain, the head housekeeper, wonders if his death was really an accident or if he was killed.
And as shortages force them to cut down from six to three cakes and to share toilet paper, they barely notice that their servants are also getting sick until they are asked to dress themselves and make their own beds.
After a slow start during which it took me a while to figure out who was who (despite the characters list at the beginning of the novel 😅), I found myself completely absorbed in this novel. Mysteries, secrets, and drama make for an entertaining and thrilling read and Loch Down Abbey is a fantastic setting with its many many rooms, its locked offices, and the secret tunnels in which the children keep disappearing.
The characters are very well-crafted and intriguing. Lady Georgina is a force to be reckoned with while Mrs. MacBain somehow manages to keep everyone in line, servants and family members alike.
If you are looking for a fun, gripping read full of wit, humor, and strong characters, then I highly recommend you give Loch Down Abbey a read… you won’t regret it!
A huge thank you to Hodder & Stoughton and NetGalley for providing me with a copy of the novel.
Beth Cowan Erskine is an American expat who married into a mad Scottish family with their own tartan and family tree older than her home country. Using them as inspiration, she wrote her first novel during the coronavirus lockdown, hoping it would be enough to get her dis-invited from the annual family walking holiday. Sadly, it backfired and led to long discussions of who will play whom in the film. When not writing features for The American Magazine, she owns an interior architecture and design studio in the Cotswolds.