Sunday, May 23, 2010
Category: FICTION, SUSPENSE & THRILLERS
Format: HARDCOVER BOOK
Publish Date: 1/12/2010
Rating: 4.5 Crowns
Amazing news has spread across the Scottish countryside. The most famous of highland bachelors, police sergeant Hamish Macbeth, will be married at last. Everyone in the village of Lochdubh adores Josie McSween, Macbeth's newest constable and blushing bride-to-be.
While locals think Josie is quite a catch, Hamish has a case of prenuptial jitters. After all, if it weren't for the recent murder of a beautiful woman in a neighbouring village, there wouldn't be a wedding at all. For it was a mysterious Valentine's Day package--delivered to the victim before her death--that initially drew Hamish and Josie together on the investigation. As they work side by side, Hamish and Josie soon discover that the woman's list of admirers was endless, confirming Hamish's suspicion that love can be blind, deaf . . . and deadly.
The book opens with Hamish Macbeth standing at the alter waiting to marry Josie McSween, although instead of looking for a happily ever after, Hamish seems to be looking for a way out. From there we are transported to a year earlier. The lovable Scottish police sergeant has just discovered that he will receive a new constable, a new woman constable. Both of which he feels he does not need. Not only does his new constable, Josie, seem to be incompetent, she seems to be clingy, making Hamish wish that she will be transfer back to Strathbane.
Josie McSween has only one thing on her mind, Hamish Macbeth. He was the only reason she had ask to be transferred to the hole-in-the-wall town of Lochdubh. One look at the redheaded Highlander and thoughts of marriage flooded her mind. The only problem is that Hamish is determined to avoid her at all cost. Receiving her relationship advice romance books, Josie will stop at nothing to capture the man she wants.
When the town beauty is murdered by a Valentine, Josie has finally found her opportunity to get closer to Hamish. While investigating the murder of Annie Fleming, Hamish discovers more twists and turns than he could ever imagine both in his case and his own life.
From what I read in the prologue I do not expect the events that went before. I expected it be a bit different, but I have to say that I am glad it unfolded the way it did. While I enjoyed the character of Hamish, (think of a combination of Kevin McKidd, Colin Farrell and Gerard Butler) with him you have the perfectly formed Highlander, I found that Josie McSween could at time grate on your nerves. She seemed a bit too clingy for even the type she was wrote out to be. Also the background characters enhanced the story without taking focus off the main storyline, which I founded added a bit something extra.
I knew about the Hamish Macbeth series itself on BBC, but I was unaware that the television series was actually based on novels. So I decided to give it a go, and let me say that I was not disappointed. It sort of reminded me of an Agatha Christie novel with a more modern Scottish feel. I have to say that Death of a Valentine has to be my favorite mystery book, and normally I am not a mystery type of person. The author M.C. Beaton has a way of making her character’s believable, flaws and all, which I believe enhances the story. Not to mention she uses the Scottish Highlands as a character itself instead of just a backdrop. The fact it combines the perfect amount of Scottish culture without the feel of a text book was a plus in my book. Although some readers may have a bit of trouble with the Highland brogue that M.C. Beaton has incorporated into her book, but believe me it is well worth the reading.
Overall I would say that Death of a Valentine was a light mystery perfect for a weekend or a rainy day read, especially if you like a good Scottish mystery. For me the 246 pages flew by, and while this is part of a series I felt that even though the book contained a few references to previous books, everything was well explained, and it does stand well as a single title.
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Royal Reviewer Angela Renee at 10:22 PM