I received a free ecopy of Death of a Nurse by M.C. Beaton courtesy of Hatchett Book Group via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This is the first book I’ve read by M. C. Beaton and is part of her Hamish Macbeth mystery series. I’m pleased to be able to offer one copy of this book, due to come out Feb. 23rd to someone from Canada or the U.S.A. only please. See raffle contest below.
Hamish Macbeth has become a well-loved figure thanks to more than 30 books by Beaton and a 3-season television series in the mid-1990s featuring the lanky, laid-back Highland policeman. Macbeth has his own way of going about the business of policing and despite his knack for solving murders that stump his superiors, he’s quite content to stay in Lochdubh in his two-man station, his familiar territory, and in the company of his unusual pets, his dog Lugs and his feral cat Sonsie.
Hamish’s previous partner, Dick, having left the force, Hamish now has Charlie Carter working with him and Charlie is “giving him claustrophobia”. The station house where they are expected to live together was just too small for two rather large men, especially when one was clumsy and breaking things every time he as much as looked at a piece of china or sat on a chair. Hamish’s ex-girlfriend, Priscilla, whose family turned their castle into a hotel, solves their problem by offering Charlie what used to be the butler’s digs in the castle basement. No longer being underfoot, Charlie and Hamish begin to work along together much better and before long, are a real team.
When Hamish meets a gorgeous nurse at Patel’s grocery in the village, he thinks he has seen “a vision”. Gloria Dainty is nursing crotchety old Percival Harrison up at the hunting lodge known to the locals as Dunlop’s Folly, and agrees to have dinner with Hamish on Sunday evening at the hotel. When she doesn’t show up, he thinks he’s been stood up — until he finds her body at the bottom of a cliff, and the meat of the story begins.
The investigation of the strangulation of Gloria Dainty brings out petty grievances, back-stabbing, and sexual harassment in the workplace. Macbeth’s nemesis Detective Inspector Blair ends up in hospital after trying to kick a police dog during a prison inspection, and so it is his replacement, DCI Fiona Herring, who is in charge when Hamish and Carter call for a forensics team and reinforcements which include Jimmy Anderson, a cop with a penchant for nipping from a pocket flask and taking credit for others’ successes when opportunity permits. Throw into the mix that Fiona, just visiting from Inverness but has already garnered the nickname Iron Knickers, takes a liking to tall, innocent Charlie Carter and keeps finagling ways to be alone with him.
Hamish soon learns that Nurse Gloria wasn’t all she seemed: drugs and a con game soon surface as more bodies pile up. When a low-life P.I. under the thumb of Blair goes up in flames with all his records, Blair and Superintendent Daviot take credit for wrapping up the case. But Hamish isn’t convinced and keeps digging until all the loose ends are tied together.
Full of interesting characters, beautiful Highland scenery, a smattering of Scottish dialect (not difficult to understand), lots of suspects, and diverting sub-plots make this a fast, cozy read. One of those diversions involves Priscilla and another revolves around Sonsie and whether wild animals should be kept as pets or left in the wild. A great read for one of those dull winter weekends. Available to preorder from Amazon and other fine booksellers; release date: February 23rd. * * * *
Click on this Rafflecopter link (Canadian & U.S. residents only, please) for a chance to win a free copy of Death of a Nurse.
It’s very easy to participate in my Mystery Monday meme. Just post a review of your latest mystery read on your own site as your Monday post, and then a comment on my post with a link to yours. Drag or copy my meme logo and add it to your post along with these few rules. Simplicity itself! I look forward to learning about more great mysteries to add to my ever-growing list of To Be Read.