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Death of a Witch ? A Hamish MacBeth Mystery
M.C. Beaton
Grand Central Publishing 2009
245 pages


Hamish MacBeth is a fun, light reading mystery series. Author M.C. Beaton can be heavy handed at times, such as in the opening chapters of Death of a Witch. A witch moves to the village, Hamish says he is going to kill her if he has to, the witch is murdered. Can you guess who is first blamed for the crime? It does get much better rather quickly after that.

A mystery series is by its nature somewhat formulaic. Hamish MacBeth is extremely formulaic, something long time fans of the series obviously do not mind. Blair is the evil, bumbling cop out to get MacBeth. Daviot is MacBeth’s boss and protector. The villagers are all a little weird. Hamish is forever single and always has supper with the new female character (in Death of a Witch it is the new forensic pathologist) outside the village but it is still noticed by the villagers. MacBeth always goes and investigates on his own without his superiors’ consent, and so on. Death of a Witch does not stray from that formula. There is the comfort of an old shoe factor to a mystery series like this one.

In Death of a Witch, another villager is murdered so MacBeth must solve two murders, and then three, and then four.

This may not be the best Hamish MacBeth mystery novel to start the series with but even casual fans will be satisfied. Death of a Witch is tighter, relatively speaking, than recent efforts and it is also more humorous.

There is something to be said about old shoes.