Tuesday, March 17, 2009
DEATH OF A WITCH by M. C. Beaton (Grand Central Publishing)
This is the 24th Hamish Macbeth mystery so by this time, we know quite a bit about Hamish. In some of the earlier Macbeth mysteries, the problems and Hamish’s actions in solving them are somewhat predictable. I’m happy to note that this mystery is much more complex and therefore much more interesting.
While the usual sub-plots abound, they are all cleverly related to the main mystery. As in most Hamish Macbeth novels, we know who will be the major victim—simply by the title. In this one, we also follow the challenges to Hamish’s love life that are caused both by the assorted women involved and by Hamish himself.
Those of us who know Lochdubh will be happy to see that things are alive (at least some of the characters are) and well and Beaton’s description of life in the small Scottish village in the midst of winter takes us there with all the feelings of cold and isolation.
Since the “witch” in the novel has made enemies of almost everyone in Lochdubh, the number of suspects is many. Despite the challenges placed on Hamish by his immediate supervisor, in the end, Hamish succeeds.
For those who enjoy a light-hearted mystery, this is one of M.C. Beaton’s best.