I’m back with another review today, this time it’s for Love Potions and Other Calamities by Charlie Laidlaw . Huge thanks to Shannon at R&R Book Tours for the invite.
About the book
Welcome to the strange world of Rosie McLeod, an amateur detective with a big difference. Her deductive powers are based solely on the careful preparation and use of plants and herbs.
Love Potions and Other Calamities is pure comedy, with a bit of drama thrown in, as Rosie sets out to discover whether her husband is having an affair and, as the story unfolds, to solve a murder – before she becomes the next victim.
Rosie McLeod, pub proprietor and a gifted herbalist of some renown, is thirty-nine and holding, but only just. The talons of her fortieth birthday are in her back and her bloody, bloody husband hasn’t laid a lustful hand on her for months.
She has the fortune, or misfortune, to live in one of Scotland’s most famous places – the East Lothian village of Holy Cross, which takes its name from the legendary Glastonbury Cross that was spirited away – and subsequently lost – when Henry VIII purged the English monasteries. The cross of pale Welsh gold, reputedly buried within the village, had at its centre a fragment of emerald from the Holy Grail. The story is, of course, complete baloney.
But the association with the Holy Grail and the later witch persecutions of James VI mean that the village is as well known around the world as Edinburgh Castle, haggis or Loch Ness. It has been described as “the heartbeat of Scotland” and is a major tourist destination – many of whom visit the village with metal detectors, hoping to discover the elusive cross.
However, a sighting of a large, black cat by the local Church of Scotland minister sets off a chain of events that lead back twenty years and, although the villagers are blissfully unaware of it, to a woman’s murder. The black cat had last been sighted near the village some two decades before, and the minister’s predecessor was sure that it had triggered something evil. The villagers, of course, think otherwise.
Nothing ever happens in Holy Cross.
Love Potions and Other Calamities is available to buy now – Amazon
This is the third book I’ve had the pleasure of reading by Charlie Laidlaw, The Things We Learn When We’re Dead and The Space Between Time being the first two which I absolutely adored, I knew I was in for a real treat with this one and I wasn’t wrong.
I’m not sure how but Charlie Laidlaw has a way of writing that I’ve never experienced before, I don’t even think I can explain it properly to be honest, he has a way of drawing the reader in from page one, making the characters so real you almost feel like you could walk out your front door and bump into one of them. And although this book is quite different to his others I still had that same feeling, it’s quite magical really.
It’s very clear there has been a lot of research done for this book, the history and legends of Holy Cross really set the tone for this story which I loved.
The characters are so well described that they come to life, I love a story with relatable characters, some quite eccentric but all so real feeling.
I really don’t want to go into the plot and give anything away but what I will say is you are in for a real treat with this story. It has some real laugh out loud moments, the mystery is well done (I didn’t guess) and it’s just a fabulous book and i was really sad to finish the last page.
So if you’re looking for a book that is well written, that will give you a good laugh with a brilliant setting, characters that come to life and keeps you hooked from beginning to end then Love Potions and Other Calamities is definitely the one for you.
I can’t wait to read more from Charlie Laidlaw, hopefully I won’t have long to wait.
For your chance to win a signed copy of Love Potions and Other Calamities, click the link below!
About the author
I was born in Paisley, central Scotland, which wasn’t my fault. That week, Eddie Calvert with Norrie Paramor and his Orchestra were Top of the Pops, with Oh, Mein Papa, as sung by a young German woman remembering her once-famous clown father. That gives a clue to my age, not my musical taste.
I was brought up in the west of Scotland and graduated from the University of Edinburgh. I still have the scroll, but it’s in Latin, so it could say anything.
I then worked briefly as a street actor, baby photographer, puppeteer and restaurant dogsbody before becoming a journalist. I started in Glasgow and ended up in London, covering news, features and politics. I interviewed motorbike ace Barry Sheene, Noel Edmonds threatened me with legal action and, because of a bureaucratic muddle, I was ordered out of Greece.
I then took a year to travel round the world, visiting 19 countries. Highlights included being threatened by a man with a gun in Dubai, being given an armed bodyguard by the PLO in Beirut (not the same person with a gun), and visiting Robert Louis Stevenson’s grave in Samoa. What I did for the rest of the year I can’t quite remember
Surprisingly, I was approached by a government agency to work in intelligence, which just shows how shoddy government recruitment was back then. However, it turned out to be very boring and I don’t like vodka martini.
Craving excitement and adventure, I ended up as a PR consultant, which is the fate of all journalists who haven’t won a Pulitzer Prize, and I’ve still to listen to Oh, Mein Papa.
I am married with two grown-up children and live in central Scotland. And that’s about it.
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