Off Kilter (Scottish Highlands Mystery #1) by Hannah Reed (Berkley Prime Crime mass market, 7 October 2014).
Following a year which included the death of her mother and the end of her marriage, Eden Elliott's best friend Ami gifts her with an open-ended ticket to Scotland. Eden reluctantly agrees, mostly to stop Ami from bugging her.
But she admits to herself that it will be a wonderful opportunity to get some fresh ideas for the novel she's working on. Seated next to her on the flight from London to Inverness is a woman who happens to be headed to the same village as Eden. It turns out that Vicki MacBride, now living in London, is going to Glenkillen for her father's funeral. Although she hadn't seen him for years, he'd left her everything: house, business and property.
Her first evening, there, Eden sees the funeral procession from her room at Glenkillen's only inn. Despite being exhausted, she convinces herself that this would be a good way to experience some true Scottish culture as fodder for her book. Later in the evening, she accompanies Vicki to visit one of her father's old friends, Gavin Mitchell, who had notified Vicki of her father's death. But there's no answer to their knock, and when they go into his cottage, they find him lying on the floor in a pool of blood with a metal object sticking out of his chest.
Of course, being the only outsider with any connection to Gavin, Vicki is the prime suspect. But although Eden hasn't known her very long, she's certain that her new friend is innocent, and decides to stay in Glenkillen at least long enough to make sure Vicki isn't unjustly accused and/or arrested.
Eden soon discovers that she feels very comfortable in the Scottish highlands, and begins to make friends with some of the locals. Despite the murder and its attending drama, she also finds ideas for her book beginning to flow.
Eden finds adventuresome depths she didn't know she had, and her innate loyalty and intelligence make her the perfect friend and champion for Vicki.
If you've never been to Scotland, reading this book takes you there vicariously, and provides good company and an adventure as well.
FTC Full Disclosure; Many thanks to the publisher for providing me with a review copy of the book.