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by M. C. Beaton
Mysterious Press, February 2006
256 pages
ISBN: 0892967897

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

In the latest in her long-running Hamish Macbeth series, MC Beaton brings a new character to the Scottish village of Lochdubh. However, like most of the new additions to the village, Effie Garrard's days are sadly numbered.

Effie is delusional and convinces herself that Jock Fleming, a local artist, is in love with her. After a big argument with Jock, Effie is found dead. Macbeth's superiors class it as suicide, but Macbeth is convinced that Effie was murdered and begins to investigate.

As always, this Hamish Macbeth story is a treat. Beaton combines her usual elements of humour and fun, but in this story, I noticed a darker side than ever before to the goings-on in Lochdubh. Murder is nothing unusual in this Highland village, but in this tale, there are extra-marital affairs, drugs, bank robberies and much more.

Macbeth even manages to get away from Lochdubh for a brief journey down to Glasgow, home of the seamier side of Scottish life. The book still fits into the cozy genre, but events are definitely taking a darker turn in Scotland.

Hamish Macbeth continues to have his traditional problems with the female sex, and his love for his animals makes him the butt of various jokes. In a way, Macbeth's inability to form a relationship is starting to become somewhat repetitive and it would be nice if, just for once, he could actually make a success of one of his abortive dalliances. It seems, however, that Macbeth is condemned to a life of perpetual bachelorhood.

The mystery element of the story works well and Beaton succeeds in sketching some very interesting characters. Any fan of this series will no doubt be very happy to read this latest instalment and I am certain that there are more adventures in store for the trusty village policeman and the intriguing personalities that make up the village of Lochdubh. Another success for M. C. Beaton.

Reviewed by Luke Croll, February 2006

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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