The lackluster 35th mystery featuring Sgt. Hamish Macbeth (after 2018’s Death of an Honest Man), a collaboration between Beaton (1936–2019) and Green, opens with the arrival of Macbeth’s new constable, the stunning Dorothy McIver, who is as bright as she is beautiful, to the Scottish village of Lockdubh. Of course, Macbeth instantly falls head over heels for her and soon sees a wedding in their future. Dorothy proves to be the perfect professional partner, and her insight into the criminal mind comes in handy when a stranger to the area is found dead in his car with a bullet hole in his head. Gangsters from Glasgow, bent coppers, and some decorous courting keep Macbeth and Dorothy busy. But without humor to buoy the outlandish plot, the story becomes a tiresome muddle. In the foreword, in which Green shares his memories of assisting Beaton in her final years, he says she “wanted to provide her readers with some gentle escapism for a rainy afternoon read.” This entry doesn’t quite attain that modest goal. Agent: Barbara Lowenstein, Lowenstein Assoc. (Feb.)
In the 34th mystery starring Highlands bobby Hamish Macbeth (after Death of an Honest Man), Hamish is engaged to the lovely Dorothy McIverir, his new constable, and all eyes are on the impending nuptials. The celebratory mood vanishes when a man is found shot, execution style, in Hamish's bucolic village of Lochdubh. It quickly emerges that the victim had ties to the notorious Macgregor crime family in Glasgow. Just as Hamish and Dorothy begin their investigation, Hamish's bent and odious nemesis, Detective Chief Inspector Blair, returns to the village wreaking havoc. The tension escalates when Hamish realizes that Dorothy's vagaries about her past may well be connected to the murder inquiry causing him to question who exactly the future Mrs. Macbeth is. Beaton, the grand dame of the cozy mystery genre, passed away in late 2019. Beaton chose her friend and fellow writer Green to continue her Hamish Macbeth and Agatha Raisin mystery series (most recently, Green wrote the Agatha Raisin installment Down the Hatch), and he delivers the charge most admirably. This Hamish Macbeth novel maintains Beaton's distinctive voice and includes the usual village eccentrics, loads of Scottish lore, and the light humor that Beaton fans have loved through the years. Most important, the book ends with a teaser that seems to promise more and even wilder adventures for Hamish. VERDICT A definite purchase for all mystery collections.—Amy Nolan
Veteran storyteller Beaton may be gone, but her beloved Highlands policeman lives on in another tale of murder and thwarted romance, now written by Green.
Gifted crime solver Hamish Macbeth’s desire to stay in Lochdubh has kept him from advancing up the ranks. He can hardly believe his eyes when the new constable sent to work with him is stunningly beautiful Dorothy McIver. Hamish has been engaged twice before, but this time he falls head over heels for Dorothy, who he’s convinced is his soul mate even though his wild pet cat, Sonsie, doesn’t take to her. Dorothy, a Glasgow girl with expensive tastes, slowly warms to the beauty of the Highlands and charms the villagers who’ve thrown a protective cordon around Hamish. After a man is found shot dead in his car at the local petrol station, the crime team arrives within hours, with Hamish’s good friend DCI Jimmy Anderson in charge. The victim was a gangster involved with the infamous Macgregor crime family in Glasgow, a development that unfortunately involves Hamish’s nemesis, the nasty, inept DCI Blair, in the investigation. Jimmy wants Hamish to lie low and solve the crime without taking the credit. That’s fine with Hamish if it can be arranged. But can it? Soon more mayhem comes to Lochdubh, suggesting that Dorothy may be hiding secrets from her past. Can Hamish solve the crimes and get as far as the marital altar this time?
As usual in this venerable series, the appeal of the characters and the Highlands upstages the slight mystery.
"Some terrific comic moments (reminiscent of All Creatures Great and Small) . . . Long live Macbeth, Sergeant of Scotland!"—Booklist
"Beaton, the grand dame of the cozy mystery genre, passed away in late 2019. Beaton chose her friend and fellow writer Green to continue her Hamish Macbeth and Agatha Raisin mystery series . . . and he delivers the charge most admirably. This Hamish Macbeth novel maintains Beaton's distinctive voice and includes the usual village eccentrics, loads of Scottish lore, and the light humor that Beaton fans have loved through the years. Most important, the book ends with a teaser that seems to promise more and even wilder adventures for Hamish."—Library Journal
"This is R. W. Green’s first outings as the successor to Marion Beaton’s Hamish Macbeth series, and he captures [Macbeth's] charm . . . As in the previous Macbeth books, this novel deals with human failings. Thanks to the gentle touch of R. W. Green, readers will look forward to spending more time in the future with Hamish as he protects the land and people he loves dearly."—New York Journal of Books
"Veteran storyteller Beaton may be gone, but her beloved Highlands policeman lives on in another tale of murder and thwarted romance." —Kirkus Reviews
"Pays fine tribute to Beaton . . . Beaton and Green do a superb job keeping the red herrings coming and the plot twists jumping out at you until the finale. You’ll just have to strap on your favorite kilt and visit scenic Lochdubh to find out exactly what is going on."—Bookreporter
"Longing for escape? Tired of waiting for Brigadoon to materialize? Time for a trip to Lochdubh, the scenic, if somnolent, village in the Scottish Highlands where M. C. Beaton sets her beguiling whodunits featuring Constable Hamish Macbeth."—New York Times Book Review
"With residents and a constable so authentic, it won't be long before tourists will be seeking Lochdubh and believing in the reality of Hamish Macbeth as surely as they believed in Sherlock Holmes."—Denver Rocky Mountain News
"Macbeth is the sort of character who slyly grows on you."—Chicago Sun-Times
Narrator Graeme Maclolm returns to portray Hamish MacBeth and the residents of Lochdubh, Scotland, in the 34th addition to this beloved series. While M.C. Beaton passed away in 2019, fellow author R.W. Green worked with her on this installment. Malcolm performs with a light Scottish brogue, making the dialogue and action easy to follow. Using tone and accents, he differentiates characters, including an American visitor. MacBeth has found his true love (for the third time) in a female constable and plans to tie the knot. Malcom delivers this character-driven police procedural at a slow, relaxed pace that is in step with the overall atmosphere. Fans will be delighted to go along for the plot’s ups and downs and the descriptions of the Scottish Highlands. E.Q. © AudioFile 2022, Portland, Maine