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Death of a Gentle Lady ? A Hamish Macbeth Mystery
M.C. Beaton
Grand Central Publishing 2008
245 pages


Though not a M.C. Beaton Hamish Macbeth fan I fairly enjoyed the latest (2008) adventures of the Lochdubh policeman. I found Death of a Gentle Lady much less chatty and more mystery oriented than my previous experience with Hamish Macbeth, Death of a Dreamer. Death of a Gentle Lady focuses more on the mystery and much less on the state of Hamish Macbeth's heart though it begins with the Scottish policeman's wedding plans.

Death of a Gentle Lady opens with Hamish Macbeth's plans to get married in a rather convoluted scheme to keep his station in Lochdubh. His bride to be works for a Ms. Gentle who has all the villagers under her spell though Macbeth soon discovers she is no gentle lady at all. Murder puts the Scottish policeman and detective's plans on hold while he investigates.

Suspects are plentiful and include Mrs. Gentle's son and daughter and her recently disinherited nephew. Meanwhile, a famous author vacationing in Lochdubh decides to enroll the locals into a production of … Macbeth. To ferret out the murderer Hamish decides to set himself up as a target but he proves to be a bit too successful at it.

Death of a Gentle Lady also features Inspector Blair's latest attempts at getting rid of the Lochdubh detective and these grow more and more sinister.

The finale or finales to this Hamish Macbeth mystery do take a good dose of willing suspension of disbelief. I was not particularly impressed with the James Bond meets Matlock style murderer confessing everything penultimate ending and the resolution of the story is certainly BBC gothic novel televisic. Resolutions to secondary story lines are also a bit much but nothing not too demanding mystery or Beaton fans will not accept.

I am still not a fan of the M.C. Beaton Hamish Macbeth series though I kind of liked this latest installment.