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I live in Bedford, England. Having retired from teaching; I am now a research student at the University of Bedfordshire researching into Threshold Concepts in the context of A-level Physics. I love reading! I enjoy in particular fiction (mostly great and classic fiction although I also enjoy whodunnits), biography, history and smart thinking. I have also recently become a keen playgoer to London Fringe Theatre. I enjoy mostly classics and I read the playscripts and add those to the blog. I am a member of Bedford Writers' Circle. See their website here: http://bedford-writers.co.uk/ Follow me on twitter: @daja57

Monday, 26 June 2017

"Death of a Travelling Man" by M C Beaton

This is one of the about 30 (!) Hamish Macbeth murder mysteries by the author who also brought us Agatha Raisin.

Hamish Macbeth is a policeman in a very northerly Scottish lochside town (it is described as a "tiny Highland village" but it boasts a police station house where Hamish lives with his cleaning obsessed sidekick Willie, two hotels (one closed, although its bar is still doing a roaring trade), several kirks of different denominations, a village shop run stereotypically by a Patel, a doctor's surgery and a thriving Italian restaurant). He is kept busy rescuing a child from a flooding river and two climbers from a mountainside as well as dealing with theft of money, theft of morphine and murder.

The problem with the murder is that there is really only one possible culprit that isn't one of the villagers and this reader was pretty sure that the murderer wouldn't be one of the people Hamish had known all his life although it could be the Italian restaurant proprietor who has recently arrived in the village (and who, in another fit of the stereotypes, can instantly swap role from suave maitre d to evil mafia boss).

Nevertheless, the story is gentle and charming (which also makes the gruesome murder rather unreal). I read it in a few hours. I did want to get to the end.

I liked the cop who would much rather be a cleaning woman, though he was more caricature than character. He had a way with malapropisms. My favourite was "She lives in a condom in San Francisco" (p 18).

Another nice line, after Hamish had spent all night investigating, was his girlfriend suggesting "some normal people change their clothes from day to day." (p 160)

An easy-read murder mystery. June 2017, 232 pages


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