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    Review of DEATH OF A VILLAGE by M. C. Beaton


    Mysterious Press, February 2003

    Scottish police constable Hamish Macbeth likes his life and dreads the idea of a promotion. If only he could get his love-life under control, he thinks things would be about perfect. But Hamish can't help offending pretty reporter Elspeth Grant and can't get over being abandoned by his ex-fiance. Besides, his dog can't stand the idea of a woman moving in with him. Instead, Hamish solves mysteries. Even in the Scottish Highlands, crime does take place--including insurance fraud and spousal abuse. But Hamish's police instincts are most intrigued by a small village which seems to have no crime at all--and be suffering from a religious revival. Something odd is happening and the always taciturn residents are being even more closed-mouthed than usual.

    The rest of the police force is hopeless and Hamish ends up being a one-man crime buster, assisted by the beautiful Elspeth and a pair of aging sleuths.

    Author M. C. Beaton (see more reviews of novels by Beaton) creates a charming character in Hamish Macbeth and a properly cozy world of small crimes and mostly cheery people with deep Scottish accents and deep Scottish accents. Hamish can be annoying--both to Elspeth and the reader--by his judgemental attitude and his thoughtlessness to Elspeth's feelings, but Beaton's stories are strongly written and intriguing.

    In DEATH OF A VILLAGE, more than in some of the other Macbeth stories, Hamish seems to be going through the motions--his emotions don't feel quite real. Still, while this may not be the best of the series, it is a well written and enjoyable story.

    Three Stars

    Reviewed 9/30/03

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