Book Review: Death of a Maid by M.C. Beaton

Return to the quiet highlands village of Lochdubh, home of Constable Hamish Macbeth as he receives a letter from ex-lover Elspeth on the same day Mrs. Gillespie shows up on his doorstep armed with a bucket and mop to give the place a good cleaning. Mrs. Gillespie was a dreadful woman who delighted in malicious gossip so it was hardly surprising when she was found dead, bashed in the head with her own bucket. Hamish has no shortage of suspects as it soon becomes clear that Gillespie was blackmailing her clients yet that may be the least of his problems. A TV reporter has made him the target of the next big documentary program, his supervisor is plotting how to get him promoted thus forcing the closure of the tiny police station and Elspeth has turned up with a male companion in tow forcing him to confront his conflicted emotions. The plot thickens when the TV reporter turns up dead shortly after arranging to meet with Hamish regarding a solid lead on Gillespie’s murderer and it becomes clear that many in Lochdubh have secrets that might just be worth killing to protect. 

This is an enjoyable romp through the crofts and villages of the Scottish highlands with a solid storyline and finely drawn characters including two charmingly indulged pets. It’s fun watching Hamish balance playing the bumbling inspector to the public eye while using his sharp intellect to dodge troublesome superiors, unravel a complex crime and attempt to make sense of his heart.

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