Come Shell or High Water (A Haunted Shell Shop Mystery #1) (Hardcover)

Come Shell or High Water (A Haunted Shell Shop Mystery #1) By Molly MacRae Cover Image
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From Molly MacRae, acclaimed author of the Highland Bookshop Mysteries, the first in a charming new series set on a beautiful barrier island off the coast of North Carolina and featuring a widowed folklorist, a seashell shop, and the ghost of an 18th century pirate…

As a professional storyteller, Maureen Nash can’t help but see the narrative cues woven through her life. Like the series of letters addressed to her late husband from a stranger—the proprietor of The Moon Shell, a shop on Ocracoke Island, off the coast of North Carolina. The store is famous with shell collectors, but it’s the cryptic letters from Allen Withrow, the shop’s owner, that convince Maureen to travel to the small coastal town in the middle of hurricane season. At the very least, she expects she’ll get a good story out of the experience, never anticipating it could end up a murder mystery . . .

In Maureen’s first hours on the storm-lashed island, she averts several life-threatening accidents, stumbles over the body of a controversial Ocracoke local, and meets the ghost of an eighteenth-century Welsh pirate, Emrys Lloyd. To the untrained eye, all these unusual occurrences would seem to be random misfortunes, but Maureen senses there may be something connecting these stories. With Emrys’s supernatural assistance, and the support of a few new friends, Maureen sets out unravel the truth, find a killer, and hopefully give this tale a satisfying ending . . . while also rewriting her own.

About the Author

Molly MacRae is the award-winning author of the Haunted Yarn Shop Mysteries, the Highland Bookshop Mysteries, and the new Haunted Shell Shop Mysteries. Born and raised in Illinois, MacRae spent twenty years in the foothills of Tennessee’s Blue Ridge Mountains, where she was the director of the history museum for Jonesborough, the state’s oldest town. During that time, MacRae and her family started taking vacations to North Carolina’s Outer Banks, where she fell in love with Ocracoke Island, the setting for her Haunted Shell Shop Mysteries. MacRae, a member of Sisters in Crime and Mystery Writers of America, has won the Sherwood Anderson Award for short fiction, and several of her short stories have appeared in Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine. She currently lives in Champaign, IL with her family. For more information on Molly and her books, please visit

Praise For…

Praise for Come Shell or High Water

"Molly Macrae's delightful pirate ghost story and cozy mystery mashup is not to be missed. Cozy readers will be enthralled with this trip to North Carolina's Outer Banks." Amanda Flower, USA Today bestselling author of Blueberry Blunder

“Molly MacRae delights in her new Haunted Shell Shop series debut. Come Shell or High Water is a fun and twisty tale set on a North Carolina island. Nobody does ghosts like MacRae, with gentle eighteenth-century pirate Emrys keeping widowed shell expert Maureen Nash company as she untangles the salty facts of more than one murder along with mysteries from the past." Maddie Day, author of Deep Fried Death

“Molly MacRae’s Carolina coastal island in Come Shell or High Water is a treasure chest of atmosphere and island history with a unique cast of characters, including a pun-cracking 18th century pirate-ghost and two quirky octogenarian siblings, who may be the best sidekicks since Fred and Ethel Mertz. Her malacologist protagonist (when I said unique characters, I meant it) is sympathetic and interesting, making this layered Haunted Shell Shop mystery one you’ll be happily digging into." Korina Moss, author of Fondue or Die
“Ahoy, matey! Come Shell or High Water, first in the new Haunted Shell Shop series by Molly MacRae, introduces Maureen Nash, an intriguing sleuth with a most delightful sidekick, the ghost of an accidental pirate. Explore North Carolina’s Outer Banks without leaving home, go shelling without getting your feet wet, and savor a fun mystery filled with history and word play, as newly-widowed Maureen gets to know a fascinating place and its proudly quirky residents, all while discovering more about herself and her family.” Leslie Budewitz, three-time Agatha Award-winning author of the Spice Shop Mysteries

“With its likable protagonist and irresistible island setting, Come Shell or High Water will charm readers with an imaginative mashup of cozy mystery and ghost story.” Lucy Burdette, USA Today best selling author of A Clue in the Crumbs

Praise for Molly MacRae:

“A new cozy mystery series in which the drama is tempered with humor. ” The New York Times  on Plaid and Plagarism

“MacRae revels in clever wordplay and banter. Cozy lovers who come for the atmosphere and the camaraderie will enjoy themselves. What’s not to like about a knitting competition, Scottish scenery, books, and scones?” —Publishers Weekly on Argyles and Arsenic
"Cozy fans will enjoy the quirky characters and charming, small-town setting." —Publishers Weekly on The Highland Bookshop Mystery Series
"Though the series as a whole is great fun, combining needlework, a cat, a ghost, and food, this super cozy mystery can easily stand on its own. It's practically guaranteed that those who like this entry will want to read the entire series." —Library Journal on The Highland Bookshop Mystery Series
"MacRae develops her characters, even the ghost, slowly and completely. Reading about Blue Plum is a joy in itself; the setting is stunning and MacRae captures the beauty and serenity very well. By book six, Blue Plum is a character all by itself; this makes reading about the inhabitants all the more fun." Reviewing the Evidence

"MacRae writes with familiarity, wit, and charm." —Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine on the Haunted Yarn Shop Mystery Series
"Murder with a dose of drollery." —Boston Globe on the Haunted Yarn Shop Mystery Series
Product Details
ISBN: 9781496744272
ISBN-10: 1496744276
Publisher: Kensington Cozies
Publication Date: June 25th, 2024
Pages: 304
Language: English
Series: A Haunted Shell Shop Mystery