“Death of a Policeman” by M.C. Beaton

deathpolicemanFor sheer escape, here is another delightful Hamish MacBeth mystery, set in the little town of Lochdubh in the Scottish Highlands.

This tall, modest police sergeant is now well-known through some thirty stories by Beaton. MacBeth loves his posting, where he keeps a small number of farm animals, as well as a dog and cat who follow him everywhere. He has avoided promotion, in spite of a fine record of successful arrests. In this book, however, there is word that his own police station, along with many others, may be closed for economic reasons. When murders turn up this time, MacBeth is more keen to take the credit he deserves in solving them.

In an area where he is widely loved, MacBeth does have an enemy in Detective Chief Inspector Blair who resents MacBeth’s success in solving crimes and would like to have him moved. He gets a keen young officer to visit the town of Lochdubh and follow MacBeth. When this officer is suddenly found murdered, there are complications all round.

M.C. Beaton knows and loves Scotland and particularly this northern area. The characters are vividly drawn and the story completely absorbing. This author has written another series, the Agatha Raisin books. She has been called a master of outrageous black comedy.

Reviewed by Anne McDougall