Death of a Policeman is M. C. Beatons 30th trip in to the world of Hamish MacBeth and the Highlands village of Lochdubh. (29 Death of titled books, plus A Highland Christmas) The newer books in the series, including this one, no longer have that delightful cozy charm (read: 5 star) that drew me to the early books. The unique characters of the village rarely make anything other than a token cameo these days (See, I havent forgotten them, the author seems to whisper.) New characters are typically introduced in each book, but then are rarely brought back to give us the opportunity to learn more about them. The crimes that used to be isolated to Hamishs village both in setting and in victim / suspects now involve outsiders who traffic in drugs and prostitutes and other such matters.
Still, unlike other authors of long-running series, Ms. Beaton manages to keep enough of the charm of her earlier works as the series continues on. Death of a Policeman centers around the investigation of a murdered Strathbane policeman, sent by a rival to spy on MacBeth. What could he have been mixed up in that resulted in someone shooting him on a lonely beach? In general, this novel maintains the darker tone that Beaton has taken the series in recent books, BUT there are enough glimpses into small-town life to provide a softer light through much of the book.
In my opinion, this is one her better additions to the series in the past 10 years. The series has been around for almost 30 years. Ill let the reader finish that thought to its conclusion.
RATING: 3.5 stars, rounded down to 3 stars.