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M.C. Beaton lives in the Cotswolds with her husband. She writes the Agatha Raisin mystery series as well as the Hamish Macbeth mystery series.
The Scottish village of Lochdubh has a problem: the beloved police constable, Hamish Macbeth ( Death of a Perfect Wife ), has been transferred to Strathbane because of a dearth of local crime. In a successful bid to get him back, the villagers, led by newcomer Maggie Baird, organize a crime wave. On his return, Hamish is confronted with a possible murder. Maggie, who in younger and slimmer years had amassed a fortune as a well-rewarded kept woman, dies, ostensibly of a heart attack during a car fire. Suspects include her niece and heir, Alison, who had been living with Maggie after recuperating from lung cancer, and four of Maggie's former lovers and present suitors, whom she had invited for a visit: an ad man, a car salesman, a manager of a gambling club and a fading pop singer, all of them in dire need of money. Hamish draws on his knowledge of the local people and of human nature to solve the case. Meanwhile he continues his off-again, on-again romance with a daughter of the local gentry and attempts to stay out of hot water with his superiors, who resent his unpredictable approach to life and policing. Beaton's newest continues one of the finest, and most offbeat, police procedural series around. (Dec.)
The Scottish village of Lochdubh successfully initiates a crime wave in order to get their one policeman, Hamish MacBeth, transferred back to town. Their harmless crime reports turn into something quite different when a wealthy, retired prostitute decides to write a tell-all biography, invite a few of her old lovers to town, and change her will. Lots of red herrings here, but Hamish finds the culprit and brings his little village back to relative peace, disturbed only by local bickering. It is this underlying grumbling as well as the ugly murders that ruin the beautiful setting and detract from the lightheartedness of Beaton's story. The cast of unpleasant people make it hard to care which one is guilty. Davina Porter offers a fine reading with her musical Scottish accent and flexible voice. Recommended for larger mystery collections. Juleigh Muirhead Clark, John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Lib., Colonial Williamsburg Fdn., VA Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.