This series contains good examples of the British cozy murder mystery--good plotting, (very) quirky characters, relaxed pacing, and humorous predicaments for the main character. I have enjoyed every one of the books I have read.
Jo M. (msmarple) reviewed Death of an Outsider (Hamish MacBeth, Bk 3) on
Helpful Score: 1
M. C. Beaton never disappoints. Well-constructed mystery with every line relative to the story (i.e., without a lot of "padding" as found in so many books). Just wish she could write as fast as I can read; once started, her books are hard to put down.
Death of an Outsider is a good reason to watch what you drink or eat
In this episode of the long-running serial, policeman Hamish Macbeth is called away from his beloved Lochdubh to relieve another officer in Cnothan. (all towns are in northern Scotland)
Hamish doesn't want to go to Cnothan, where nothing ever happens anyway. It will take him away from his croft, from his sheep, and further from the sight of the perfect Priscilla, the love of his life, even thought she does show suspicious signs of wanting to improve him.
In Cnothan, nobody tells incomers (strangers) anything if the residents can help it. It is bad enough he has to ask directions to the local police station that he is supposed to report to.
The house at least has a functional kitchen, but no television. The parsimonious regular policeman and his wife have set the central heating on a timer for two hours in the morning and two in the evening, and that's enough for anyone.
Fortunately for Macbeth, the town is united against a really nasty incomer an ENGLISHMAN!
Now that we have gotten identification of the victim out of the way, we can move on to means. But there's the sticking point we haven't got a body and in fact Hamish never turns up a body, due to the strange method used to kill and dispose of him. Could it be those witches that the widow claims attacked her earlier, or more earthly enemies?
But there's other strange goings-on. Why did Sandy leave his post at the lobster farm and go drinking late Saturday night? And what secret did Sandy discover at the farm the next day that he thought he could get paid good money to keep his mouth shut about? AND why does Hamish have to suppress news about how the victim died?
A skeleton is found in a field but ID-ing it is iffy no teeth! Ergo no dental records to match. There's a good one for ya.
Suspects: Could it be the widow, who had been forced to sign over all her money to him years ago? Ah, but she was out of town that night airtight alibi. Could it be the minister's wife, who have been so humiliated when he lectured her on using a microwave in front of everybody. Or maybe Sandy who was so pixilated he could have done it and not remembered a thing but he turns up dead, too. There's few more suspects but you'll have to read the book to find out which one dunnit.
Also along the way, Hamish helps a widower return to the living and pay attention to a young grandson, falls in love with a tousled lady artist named Jenny, and cooks steak for his beloved dog Towser. The local papers blare headlines about a POLICE COVERUP.
Another interesting Hamish MacBeth mystery. You see a lot of development in him and his thoughts on life and love with different books. He's a little immature here but it was still enjoyable! I recommend it!
An Englishman who settled in a Scottish town a long while ago is much hated and gets himself murdered. Hamish is on temporary duty there and as usual has to solve the case, sorting thru illicit romance, secret vices and real-estate wheeling and dealing.
I love all of these books -- great relaxing but engrossing reads.
Fun read in the best tradition of British mysteries. Hamish Macbeth is a local bobby in the Highlands of Scotland who has a knack of observing his surroundings and the people who inhabit them, and then solving crimes using his common sense skills. This is the third book in the seies.