Mediocre. I am new to Hamish MacBeth, and received this book in a swap which is several books ahead in the series from where I currently am. The first books are incredible and I have enjoyed them- keepers even. They have a great cozy feel, and Hamish is so amiable that we can forgive any of his romantic flaws. But, the editing on this one is really sloppy. I had just read "Death of a Dentist", and was surprised to read in 'Poison Pen' Hamish wonder aloud if "Fred Sutherland" (the 'old man') still lived in the top story apartment above the dentist he recalled who was brutally murdered. Hamish even mistakes Fred's cousin for Fred. How could Hamish have forgotten that Fred was beaten to death in "Death of a Dentist" and that it was he who discovers the body? Hamish blamed himself for the incident- going so far as to apologize to Fred's best friend and girlfriend and arranging at the end of the story for the departed Fred to receive credit for his solving the case. It would seem like if the author had time to refer to her Braike notes from previous books to get names of characters, she would also make sure she knew their history! Either that, or our dear Hamish is absent minded?
Aside from this big blunder which I admit ruined the first half of the book for me, the rest of the book is full of characters I did not like. Elspeth is as manipulative and deceitful as Jenny. Made me miss Priscilla.
If you read this as a stand alone book, its fairly good. If you read it within the series, you might be disappointed as the characters you have grown to love aren't big players in this one (even Blair is absent most of the book), and there are some errors in history.