Based on M.C. Beaton’s Death of a Dreamer (the 22nd Hamich MacBeth mystery), I suspect one reads a Hamish Macbeth mystery novel more for the local color and characters than for a tightly plotted whodunit.

Hamish Macbeth, the local policeman in Lochdubh, Scotland who is sometimes seen on BBC and PBS in the Mystery! Series, is an interesting character who lives in a village of interesting and peculiar folks. M.C. Beaton is very good at getting you interested in the happenings in Lochdubh but rather heavy-handed when it comes to the elements around the mystery.

A serious dose of willing suspension of disbelief is needed to enjoy Death of a Dreamer by M.C. Beaton. Effie Garrard, a newcomer to Lochdubh who, it turns out, posed as an artist and was quite the nut job, is found dead. Hamish Macbeth’s bosses rule the death a suicide even though the body was found with her ring finger chopped off and put in her coat pocket. Hmmm. Early on in the investigation Priscilla, Macbeth’s ex-girlfriend, takes a wild guess as to how the victim might have been lured to where she died. The guess turns out to be accurate. Hmmm. The coppers only really get interested in this mystery when an annoying American tourist is also found dead after claiming he had proof Effie was murdered.

This is more of a Scottish social happening and bit of a romance novel that a murder mystery. This time around Hamish Macbeth has to contend with two of his exes, a young female detective assigned to the case, and an artist’s agent he is a tad wee bit keen on. Death of a Dreamer also drags its heels in the middle. For example, Hamish and the new detective go to visit Angus MacDonald, the local seer, only to have him fall asleep on them after putting the kettle up for a cuppa. When they go again later on it is also for not much of a result.

Death of a Dreamer did manage to keep me interested but not enough to make me want to read one of the many other cozy mysteries in the series

M.C. Beaton
Death of a Dreamer
A Hamish Macbeth Mystery
Warner Books 2007
277 pages paperback

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