Kate Rice


(I reviewed this when it was originally released and only available in the U.S. as an eBook. Now that it’s available in physical form, here’s a reminder of what you’ve been missing…)

One day, as the pandemic raged on and I was playing another rousing hand of quarantine solitaire, a friend asked if I would offer an opinion about the story she was working on during lockdown. 

Seizing the chance to feel productive, I read over that brilliant script. Much like watching a home built from scratch, watching this story progress from idea to published work was extremely satisfying. And the cherry on top is that she’s a former Wyoming woman 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. And she’s created a story that’s as fresh as it is familiar. 

In reading other Loch Down Abbey reviews, I’ve seen the adjectives “fun,” “humorous,” “clever” and “witty” — all great descriptions of what lies within.

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 clan 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 these selfish aristocrats are concerned, of course. The depth of their narcissistic behavior is fascinating, shocking, and wildly entertaining. Thankfully (and luckily) the servants of Loch Down Abbey (in particular the intelligent, level-headed Mrs. MacBain) are all capable of keeping this family in line — the servants who don’t fall ill, that is!  

Loch Down Abbey contains a lot of characters, but there’s a list at the beginning of the book for your referencing pleasure. Along the way these characters snipe, snort, fight and sneer, and all sorts of secrets are laid bare. Love ‘em or hate ‘em, this family’s never a bore! 

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. 

Get this fun, humorous, clever and witty masterpiece through downtown Casper’s Wind City Books. Wind City offers books for every age and every interest. Wanna know what’s new? When and where your next favorite author will be signing books? Freaking out because you’ve just gotta have a new book for the weekend and you’re not sure when they close? Visit windcitybooks.com or check ‘em out on Facebook, the ‘Gram or Twitter. And though it’s hard to believe, the holidays are creeping up — let Wind City Books order Loch Down Abbey and pat yourself on the back for getting a head start buying gifts — even if the gift is for yourself!

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