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(Column) Kate Rice: Just Another Gal from Casper; Loch Down Abbey

Kate Rice

Let’s face it — 2020 really sucked for most of us.

One day, as I was playing another rousing hand of quarantine solitaire and feeling sorry for myself, a friend of mine asked if I would read over the manuscript for a story she was working on during lockdown “across the pond,” as they say.

Seizing the chance to feel productive for a minute, I read over that brilliant script — and several revisions later, she had a winner!

Much like watching a home built from scratch, watching this story progress from idea to published work was extremely satisfying. However, reading it for enjoyment is an entirely different experience. And the cherry on top is that the author is a former Wyoming gal who’s also lived in Casper! 

Beth Cowan-Erskine’s Loch Down Abbey is a period piece, a mystery, a romance, comedy and farce — think Agatha Christie meets Downton Abbey with a dash of Knives Out.

Still, she manages to create a story that’s as fresh as it is familiar.

It’s 1930s Scotland, and Lord Inverkillen — head of the most selfish, self-serving family ever — winds up dead under mysterious circumstances.

Seriously, most of the members of this colorful family should have, as my grandma might have said, been drowned at birth. Instead, they’re alive and well (minus Lord Inverkillen) and worried about, well, themselves. And did I mention that there’s a highly contagious illness creeping over the land?

Not that this family is concerned, of course. The depth of their narcissistic behavior is fascinating, shocking, witty and wildly entertaining. Along the way, all sorts of family secrets are laid bare, so love ‘em or hate ‘em, this clan is never a bore! 

Loch Down Abbey contains a lot of characters, which can be a little confusing. However, there’s a character list at the beginning of the book for your referencing pleasure.

You can say I’m biased — and you’d be right — but come on, a book that actually mines some humor out of a mysterious illness? Vanity never amused so well. And after the last year and a half, being able to chuckle isn’t a bad thing.

Currently, the book is only available in the states in a downloadable or audio book format through Amazon, Audible, Barnes and Noble, etc. Enjoy it now electronically or put it on your must-read list for 2022!

Columnist Kate Rice holds a copy of “Loch Down Abbey” written by Wyoming’s Beth Cowan-Erskine. (Courtesy)