Wednesday, May 28, 2014
Death of an Outsider by M. C. Beaton
Published October 2008 by St. Martin's Press
Source: purchased my copy at my local library book sale
The most hated man in the most dour town in Scotland is sleeping with the fishes, or-more accurately-dumped into a tank filled with crustaceans. All that remain of the murdered victim are his bones. But after the lobsters are shipped off to Britain's best restaurants, the whole affair quickly lands on the plate of Constable Hamish Macbeth. Exiled with his dog, Towser, to the dreary outpost of Cnothan, Macbeth sorely misses his beloved Lochdubh, his formerly beloved Priscilla Halburton-Smythe, and his days of doing nothing but staring at the sheep grazing in a nearby croft. Now the lawman has to contend with a detective chief inspector who wants the modus operandi hushed up, a dark-haired lass who has an ulterior motive to seduce him, and a killer who has made mincemeat of his victim-and without doubt will strike again . . .
Highlanders are not known for being friendly to strangers, but even Hamish Macbeth is shocked by the suspicion and downright hostility he encounters in the village of Cnothan. His popularity does not increase when he must upset the status quo during a murder investigation!
This is my fourth Hamish McBeth novel, actually the third in the series. I've said it before and I'll say it again, I have a bit of a crush on Hamish. Maybe, though, I have a bit more of a crush on him when I'm listening to the book and it's read with a Scottish brogue. Perhaps then I'm a bit more willing to accept Hamish's often curmudgeonly ways and his James Bondish way with the ladies. Although, in Hamish's defense, when he fell into bed with a woman he hardly knew, he was all a flutter about whether or not he should propose to her. How quaint.
As always, it takes Hamish to solve a case his higher up has tried to keep him off. And, as always, he does it surrounded by a quirky cast of characters, in this case an entire village. Beaton throws her readers plenty of red herrings and doesn't give readers all of the clues that might allow them to solve the mystery on their own. But she give readers enough hints along the way that the solution always seems perfectly plausible. As ever, M. C. Beaton and Hamish McBeth provided a satisfying read with everything I was expecting to find.