The Glenvarroch Gathering by Susan Pleydell

‘The advertisement in The Times,

“Glenvarroch. Scottish family with large house on West Highland sea loch welcomes paying guests for summer holidays”

attracted an oddly assorted group: a schoolboy, an American couple, a schoolmistress from the Midlands, a young man writing a novel and an exotic brother and sister from London. but after a while the charm of the visitors begins to pall, and the C.I.D. warn Professor McKechnie that his daughter Fiona may be in danger.’

This book was originally published in 1960 and The Greyladies republished it in 2013. I was lucky enough to find my Greyladies copy on Paperbackswap!

Jo Carey, a young man away at school, decided he wanted adventure for his vacation. His parents were abroad and he would be stuck at home with his aunt. So he decided to answer an ad for lodging at a Scottish estate. Turns out it is the home of another young man, Pat McKechnie, from school who he knew casually. Jo and Pat became fast friends and Pat’s family take Jo in as one of the family.

The other lodgers turn out to be an odd assortment. A lonely young girl looking for adventure and companionship, an middle aged American couple on vacation, the mysterious, sulky, would be writer, Frank, and Lee and June Antony the dazzling brother and sister duo. They seem to take the McKechnie’s home by surprise and charm everyone. But are they all that they seem? Are they too friendly and too pushy? And what about Frank, he seems friendly one minute and distant the next. There seems to be something going on with him and Audrey. Did they know each other before?

The nearby estate Ruach is home to Rory Mackinnon the Laird, Maisie his half sister and Lady Strang their grandmother. They have been close friends with the Mckechnie’s for years. Fiona has had a crush on Rory since she was young and only hope’s that someday he may notice her as more than just the little Fiona down the road. And Maisie is in love with Fiona’s brother Neil. But will Lee and June upset the applecart?

As the sweet idyllic tale of summer progresses we discover that there is a criminal in their midst. A tale of jewel theft and murder is uncovered. Throw in a wicked storm, a kidnapping, and a chase on the rain swept hills and this is a tale to keep you turning pages. And we can’t forget poor little Cigar, the donkey who pulls Lady Strang around in cart! He’s a sweetie!

Peggy Ann

 

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