Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Tripping Across Scotland in "The Tartan Shroud"

My review today is for one book, but as a disclosure I wanted to let you know that I chose to read the previous three published in this series.  That may have a coloring to my assessment of this latest offering.  Needless to say, I enjoyed reading all four.  Now, let's buckle up and strap down for a trip to Scotland in "The Tartan Shroud".

The Tartan Shroud Book Summary:
A bulldozer unearths a young girl’s body on a golf course in Scotland but for some reason, Fergus Murray, the top crime officer in Tayside seems unwilling to pursue the case. Fergus contacts Willow Stone, his American cousin and pleads for help. Willow, Pinky’s favorite ex-wife, calls in all her chips and convinces Pinky, Bear, Flo, and Ettamae to go to the small Scottish town of Pitlochry to help her cousin find the killer. Along the way the American’s come across a forester with a wonky eye—haggis—the occasional bad weather spring day—various Scottish policeman all named McSomething—mutton pie—a near new, sixty-year-old Austin Taxi—a bathroom that could double for a freezer—the nearly indecipherable Scottish accent—many glasses of whiskey and beer—ancient records—a broadsword—and a real Duke! Ride with Bear, Flo, and Henry during their final mad dash across Scotland to try to stop the murderer before he kills again inside the hallowed halls of Blair Castle.

My Review:
I gotta say that I really enjoyed reading all four of the Pinky and Bear Mysteries and was very glad that option was provided to tour reviewers.  This series has mystery, suspense, and plenty of tongue-in-cheek humor to tickle your funny bone.

Pincus Delmont, or Pinky to his acquaintances, is the defense lawyer you'd want on your side if you were ever accused of murder - that is, IF you could afford him and IF he could keep a qualified legal secretary on staff.  With his virtually untarnished acquittal record, Pinky's ego makes up for his lack of stature.

The brawn is where the Bear comes in.  Bear Zabarte is descended from a Basque sheep-herding family, a simple man who likes nothing better than tossing back a few while watching his Boston Red Sox on television.  Well, and oogling his live-in girlfriend, Flo.  Several years back, his path crossed Pinky's when someone else's face got in the way of Bear's fist.  It took Pinky's expertise to get Bear a "get out of jail free" card.  Very quickly Bear learned aint nothing free where Pinky is involved.

As payment for this debt, Pinky required Bear to do some investigating for him to avoid getting his own manicured fingers dirty.  Pinky and Bear both soon discover a working relationship works out pretty well for both of them - and when Flo steps in to secure regular payment from Pinky's clenched fists for Bear's expertise, Bear finds himself under the full-time employ of one irritating attorney.

So when Willow Stone, DA for Carson City, Nevada and sometimes not-so-ex-wife of Pinky's, turns to him for a favor, our crew is off to Scotland to assist in the investigation of the recovered body of a long-missing girl.  And she may not be the only one.

I don't really want to tell you much more except to say this has been a real hoot to read.  Sometimes you want to smack some manhood into Pinky, tell Flo to wear a sturdier bra, and tell young Ettamae not to go into the dark tunnel.  But overall I thoroughly enjoyed most everything about this series.  There are occasional grammar, punctuation, and formatting errors, but they are not so plentiful as to disturb reading too much.  The characters are lively, fun, and stay true to themselves while still growing as people.  They are not flat or one-dimensional in any way - and I soooo appreciate that, especially reading all four books straight through.  Occasionally you want to shake Bear and tell him that there's more to life than just staring at Flo's boobs - but he IS a man.  At least he's true to himself that way. :-)

So if you like a fun mystery with interesting characters, pick up a copy of The Tartan Shroud or any of the Pinky and Bear Mysteries.  Thumbs up from this reviewer!

Ken Dalton's Bio:
Ken Dalton was born in 1938 at Hollywood Hospital. He grew up with his parents, his older sister, Pat, and younger brother, Richard in Los Angeles. The year 1938 informs the quick reader that Ken’s older than a lot of people, but younger than some.

In a turn of bad luck, the dreaded Polio virus found Ken.

At the end of World War ll, Ken’s family moved to Cheyenne, Wyoming for a year where he learned how to live through snow blizzards, avoid walking through the large pile of coal in the basement, and how to survive life as an Army Officer’s brat on a base called Fort Warren.

By the age of sixteen, after eleven years of operations, therapy, and braces, Ken’s luck changed dramatically when he met the girl of his dreams at a party. A few years later they married, produced three wonderful children, and settled into a happy life in Southern California.

In 1966, Ken, who worked as a technician for Pacific Bell, and his family left Southern California for the green hills of Sonoma County where they bought a home in Sebastopol surrounded with apple trees. A few years later, Ken and Arlene built a new home on three and a half acres. They raised cows, pigs, and learned how to build outstanding fences. While their children grew, they hosted two exchange students, Eva Reimers from Sweden, and Tanja Wuttke from Germany, both of whom are still loved members of the Dalton clan. Also during those years, Ken was promoted to management at Pacific Bell. He eventually ended up responsible for all the central offices, sixty-three, in an area that covered five counties.

In 1977, Ken, Arlene, Bob Wiltermood, and his wife Norma, designed, built, and operated a 2000 case winery named Pommeraie Vineyards. They produced award winning Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay. However, after Bob died, the winery was sold. Ken and Arlene moved to a hilltop in Healdsburg.

With the winery gone, and time on their hands, Ken and Arlene started to perform with the Camp Rose Players. Twenty years and forty productions later, both are still acting and singing.

Life was good. All Ken had to do was learn some lines and bow when the audience applauded.

Then, ten years ago, Ken started to write. His first article was published in Golf Illustrated in August 1996. More golf articles followed in national and regional magazines including Golf Magazine and Fairways and Greens.

After a two-year stint on the County Grand Jury, Ken felt the need to begin his first novel.

Now, after a decade of struggle to learn the craft of writing, Ken has become the publishing world’s latest overnight sensation.

Follow the Tribute Books blog tour at:
Prices/Formats: $14.95 paperback, $4.99 ebook
Pages: 320
ISBN: 9780578113258
Publisher: Different Drummer Press
Release: October 1, 2012

Amazon paperback buy link ($14.95):

Barnes and Noble paperback buy link ($14.95): paperback buy link ($14.95):

Kindle buy link ($4.99):


  1. D A, thanks for taking the time to read Ken's entire series. I'm so glad you enjoyed it, and thanks for the review on the latest installment.

  2. This was truly a pleasure! It didn't take long to whiz through all four of them, since they were so enjoyable. And big thank you for making the whole series available.

  3. This sounds like a series worth looking into. By the way, Ken Dalton's bio reads like an adventure as well!

    1. Isn't that the truth! I think this would be a great read you would likely enjoy with all of the humor attached to the storyline. Thanks for stopping by.