Dec 2, 2007

Book Review: Death of a Maid by M.C. Beaton


Death of A Maid by M. C. Beaton, another in the Hamish McBeth "Cozy"series that features the adventures of a quirky Scottish policeman in a small Highland village. A light mystery novel? I recommend it.

The mystery of a maid "done in" is the latest that Hamish the policeman must solve, looking for anyone with "means, motive, and opportunity." And the motive for murder is a popular one in British cozies - blackmail. But which of the ones being blackmailed did the dirty deed. The popularity of the series lies as much in the plots, I think, as with the pictureque Highland setting and the character of the policeman himself.

In every book in the series, Hamish sidesteps being drawn into marriage by a girlfriend or pushed into the arms of someone by the villagers who want to see him happily married. He also avoids notoriety, letting his boss take the credit for all the crimes he solves, and avoiding promotion and being sent from the quiet of his beloved village.

Hamish's quirkiness endears him to his readers. He likes living alone with his wild lynx-like cat, his dog, and the sheep and hens he raises in his backyard. He has a perfect view of the ocean and the rough landscape from his living quarters in the police station. And he is known and liked by just about everyone in the village and the nearby towns. Thr maid in question is not missed by many, even by those she works for. But Hamish solves the crime, once again removes an offender from the village scene, and sends the perpetrator off to prison elsewhere. At the end of each novel, peace descends again on the village, thanks to Hamish. As it should, in a Cozy mystery.

Finished reading Beaton's Death of a Gentle Lady, again with Constable Hamish Macbeth of the Scottish highland village of Lochdubh (fictional). Hamish tries to help save his police station and a Russian maid by proposing marriage, with grave consequences. Marriage eludes the policeman once again, though he does solve two or three murders.

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