Death of a Kingfisher By M.C. Beaton

Ms. Beaton has hit another doozy on the head with this latest Hamish Macbeth mystery. Set again in sleepy Lochdubh in the Highlands in remote Scotland our fearless cop is faced with more unsavoury people. His police station has also been invaded by another policeman whom headquarters is trying to get rid of without having to fire. Said policeman is older and ready to retire but is more than happy to sit around and do nothing, well except eat, which he is wanting to do continually. Macbeth has to continually berate him and send him on errands and jobs to see to the wellbeing of the townsfolk. In the end this copper turns out to be more of an asset with his tendency to hear about gossip in and around town and therefore hear about several goings on well before Macbeth does.

Macbeth has to call on newcomers to the villages as well as check on old timers. His work takes him to a newcomer who has a strong Highland lilt. It seems she was born and raised from even further north and has come back after the death of her husband. He has left her very well off and she has bought a huge home. At this time her two grandchildren are visiting her although they do not seem to be either very nice kids or to care much about their granny. When there is some aggro in a nearby glen the first question they ask is if their grandmother has died. Macbeth finds this very disconcerting although he seems to be the only one who does. He tries to keep an eye on the children but other shenanigans prevent that from happening completely.

Macbeth receives a call reporting a murder in the aforementioned glen and rushes out to the scene of the crime. When he arrives he realizes that there is no murder, only the death of some birds in the area. The woman who is renovating the nature preserve is beside herself, apologizes to Hamish and then starts to flirt with him something awful. If you have read any previous Macbeth mysteries then you will know he is a sucker for the ladies. The only thing is he doesn’t know when to go the full hog or to stop seeing these women. He never gets around to asking the ones he truly loves to marry him and yet is completely overwhelmed by those who want to get the better of him even if they are married. This one is married and yet seems to be either lying about her relationship with her husband or is trying to fool Macbeth. She definitely succeeds for a while.

As usual we have the flying visits of the lady of the manor, whom Hamish has held a torch for over the years. We also have visits from his previous love who is now a very successful reporter who is scheduled to marry very near in the future. There is the usual murder and mayhem and this time the crimes are a little darker but Hamish does get to the bottom of the mysteries.

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