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Having reviewed over 1200 books on this blog, I have now written two myself. Motherdarling is a story about a search for a missing Will which reveals long-hidden family secrets. The Kids of God is a thriller set in a dystopia ruled by fascist paramilitaries. Both are available as paperbacks and on Kindle through Amazon. I live in Canterbury, England. I lived for more than thirty years in Bedford. Having retired from teaching; I became a research student at the University of Bedfordshire researching into Liminality. I achieved my PhD in 2019. I am now properly retired. I love reading! I enjoy in particular fiction (mostly great and classic fiction although I also enjoy whodunnits), biography, history and smart thinking. Follow me on twitter: @daja57

Tuesday, 27 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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