Friday, January 15, 2010

Book Review of M.C. Beaton's Death of a Valentine

Hamish Macbeth had been promoted to sergeant. Having been promoted before and then reduced to the ranks, he had not even had to sit the necessary exams. Many a constable would have welcomed the promotion and the extra money that came with it, but Hamish was dismayed for two reasons. He was not an ambitious man and saw every rise up the ranks as a move to get him transferred to the city of Strathbane. All he wanted was to be left peaceably alone in his village police station.
- Death of A Valentine by M.C. Beaton

Death of a Valentine
The blurb:
Amazing news has spread across the Scottish countryside. The most famous of highland bachelors, police sergeant Hamish Macbeth, will be married at last. Everyone in the village of Lochdubh adores Josie McSween, Macbeth's newest constable and blushing bride-to-be.

While locals think Josie is quite a catch, Hamish has a case of prenuptial jitters. After all, if it weren't for the recent murder of a beautiful woman in a neighboring village, there wouldn't be a wedding at all. For it was a mysterious Valentine's Day package-delivered to the victim before her death-that initially drew Hamish and Josie together on the investigation. As they work side by side, Hamish and Josie soon discover that the woman's list of admirers was endless, confirming Hamish's suspicion that love can be blind, deaf...and deadly.

Death of a Valentine, the 25th Hamish Macbeth mystery, M.C. Beaton gives us a detective cozy with a romantic comedic subplot set in Lochdubh, a picturesque Scottish village. The tone, pace, and setting take you to a fictional village where everyone knows each other and each other's business quite well. Even if you're new to M.C. Beaton's Hamish Macbeth series as I am, you'll easily figure out Lochdubh's characters, from Angela Brody, the doctor's wife and good friend of Hamish Macbeth, to crotchety Mrs. Wellington, who rents out rooms to the new constable Josie McSween, to Sir Andrew Etherington who lends out the diamond tiara for the annual fair day parade.

Hamish Macbeth, our lead character and a perpetual bachelor, is clearly set in his ways. Hamish wants to keep his pets, his police station/home, his village and his personal life just the way it is. But the sudden murder of a young beauty queen, Annie Fleming, disrupts Hamish's routine. The murder draws Hamish and Josie into a complex investigation, full of twists and turns, and unexpected discoveries. Things are never as they seem, even in this small Scottish village.

A mystery cozy of the best sort, M.C. Beaton's
Death of a Valentine, is a fun, entertaining read. If you're looking for a mystery of the Agatha Christie sort with the quirks of Scotland, I recommend Death of a Valentine!

ISBN-10: 0446547387
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing (January 12, 2010), 256 pages.
Review copy provided by the publisher.

About the Author, courtesy of Amazon:
M.C. Beaton has won international acclaim for her bestselling Hamish Macbeth mysteries, and the BBC has aired twenty-four episodes based on the series. Also the author of the Agatha Raisin series, M. C. Beaton lives in a Cotswold cottage with her husband.

Thanks so much, Miriam and Hatchette Book Group for this review opportunity!

1 comment:

  1. I haven't read a Hamish MacBeth book in a few months. I miss that big red-head!