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==Synopsis of the book:==
PC Hamish Macbeth has been moved from the quiet town of Lochdubh to Strathbane in the Highlands of Scotland by his seniors within the force. He is very unhappy about this but has no choice as there is so little crime there. However the locals decide they need a police presence even though the majority think Hamish is a lazy man!! So they manufacture a list of crimes and keep calling Strathbane Police Station wasting their time, until they decide it would be easier, quieter and simpler to return Hamish to his former home, much to his delight.
One of the key ladies that formed the committee that created these vicious crimes is Maggie Baird. She is a lady with a very colourful past but through forming relationships with wealthy men then fleasing them is also now very wealthy. However she decides now rather than be rich and lonely she needs a man to keep her amused and happy. So she sets about bringing all the men that have loved her in the past and picking a suitable husband from them. However when she dies suspicion falls upon these men and her Niece Alison who is set to inherit her fortune as long as she doesn't marry beforehand and change her will.
==My thoughts on this novel:==
I thought this was an enjoyable piece of crime fiction. What I particularly like about this series is the stories never take themselves too seriously. As well as a interesting crime story you have humour and wit within the story. And while this is certainly not a pre-requisite for a thriller I do find this adds to the story. Although at the same time I do think if the story was more complex and longer the humour would be out of place, as this for me is a light hearted crime story.
Having read several stories within the Hamish Macbeth series I have a good idea of what to expect. Indeed before I read any of these stories I was lucky enough to see a few on television as they were transferred to the small screen a number of years ago. This is the fifth book in a series of 28 so far by novelist M.C.Beaton. Who in addition to these has published 23 stories in the successful Agatha Raisin crime series.
The reason I selected this book was I was looking for a well thought of crime thriller that would not tax me too much. And that has always been my experience in the 8 stories I have read in this series.
The stories are never to long, never to complex just well written mysteries. And that in a nutshell is what I got with this book. It was an entertaining story that always had me involved in it and because I know and like the lead character I always find his antics enjoyable.
The first thing that struck me about the book was the unusual title. I found myself wanting to know what made this women a hussy as I am sure it is open to interpretation. So I flipped the book over to read the good sized summary of the story. This set the scene well although in hindsight it did give away quite a lot of the story although it failed to mention what happened at the start of the story with Hamish being away in Strathbane.
As soon as I started reading the story I felt comfortable with the style and the information within it. These stories are very easy to read and for someone like me who has read several of them it is always good to catch up with what is happening to Hamish Macbeth. However I was a bit disappointed as little seemed to be happening involving murder as the author spent a long time setting in scene as a result for me it was a little slow to start with.
It was only around half way through the story that things started to happen involving murder. Had I not known the series I think I might have struggled a little with this, but because I know and like Hamish I found it entertaining and funny. Some of the situations he finds himself involved in because they are well described you can picture them and this makes them come to life and very amusing. Added to this there were a few new and interesting characters to learn about and I must admit I found this Hussies background and previous history entertaining.
That said when the investigation did start it was very enjoyable. The pace of the story increased and I liked the way it was conducted. True, there were not the twists and turns you get in some well thought out stories. And the direction the story took while not new or different did take some working out and I must admit on this occasion I never had a clue until Hamish revealed all the answers.
The conclusion to the story as a result of the above took me by surprise. It was not the most exciting ending but once it was all explained it did make sense. In truth I would have preferred a longer more drawn out affair which could have brought more suspense to the story as I felt there was little within this story. And as always with a Macbeth story the book does not end with the end of the mystery it finishes advising what happened next to Hamish and the main characters within the story so trying up all the loose ends properly.
PC Hamish Macbeth is the star of this series. He is a likeable Policeman who unlike most is not interested in promotion and would rather a quiet life. I like the way he does about his work and there is always humorous situations involving him that make me laugh. He seems to without trying get the backs up of people in authority which again is often funny. I like his good Police brain and the way he pieces mysteries together.
These are quite short mysteries and I found I got through this one within two days. Two things however I struggle with the first is the few lines of verse that appear at the start of each chapter. I find these totally useless and to be honest I don't usually understand there significance to the story. The second is because it is set in the Highland of Scotland sometimes I struggle to understand what a character is saying and I have to re-read it or guess because of their strong accent. This slows me down and reduces my enjoyment of the scene.
I enjoyed this story and like all the series I would recommend them as light reads ideal for holidays. Without doubt I will be reading another in this series within the coming months as for me they tick all the boxes as to what a murder mystery should involve.
This is another very enjoyable murder mystery involving Hamish Macbeth. These are not the most complex or in-depth stories ever, just a well thought out mystery. The humour within the story is always entertaining and I love to learn more about the books leading character developments in his private and personal life.
Year first published: 1990
Thanks for reading my review.
This review is published under my user name on both Ciao and Dooyoo
© CPTDANIELS June 2013