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‘It’s a mystery’: Scottish book author visits Four Seasons Books

By Staff | Aug 9, 2019

Josh Miller, of Shenandoah Junction, talks with mystery book author Wendy H. Jones, right, during Jones' book signing at Four Seasons Books on Saturday afternoon. Tabitha Johnston

SHEPHERDSTOWN — The first stop of her first tour in the United States led mystery book author Wendy H. Jones to Four Seasons Books on Saturday afternoon, for a book discussion and signing event.

After leaving her home in Dundee, Scotland for the six-week book tour, Jones said she was eager to get back, because she finds a lot of inspiration from her home country.

“I’ve been twice to the states this year, but I need to stay in Scotland to write some books,” Jones said, before pointing out the tartan sash she was wearing. “My last name ‘Jones’ is from Wales, but my clan is ‘McLaren.’ ‘Lawson’ is my mother’s maiden name. There are a number of tartan patterns for each clan — this is the ancient McLaren tartan pattern.”

While Jones said this was her first book tour in the U.S., she has visited the country many times before. In January, she was in Miami, Florida. However, her stop in Shepherdstown checked off another box on her world travel checklist.

“I’ve never been to West Virginia before,” Jones said, mentioning she enjoys visiting the U.S. because of its weather. “I love the states — you don’t get much sun in Scotland.”

Jones has written books for children through adults. However, she primarily talked about the first book in her DI Shona McKenzie Mysteries series, “Killer’s Countdown,” during her book signing, since all of her other books were still crossing the Atlantic Ocean to catch up with her at a later tour destination.

“This series is part of the tartan noir genre,” Jones said, mentioning her careers as a nurse, an educator, an editor and a member of the Royal Navy and British Army inform her writing. “Crime writing is the second biggest Scottish export– we’ve got a lot of Scottish crime writers who are huge abroad. We’re very down-to-earth in Scotland, and just like a good mystery.”

As she manned her booth in the bookshop, Jones’ charisma and charming brogue attracted many people to chat with her — and often ended in them buying an autographed copy of her book.

“Typically I don’t read murder mysteries, but this looks like a good one,” said Josh Miller, of Shenandoah Junction, who bonded with Jones over their shared Scottish heritage. “I read books in a couple of days, so in about a week, [my book’s] going to have a crease down the front from reading.”