Fans of Hamish Macbeth will welcome this latest addition to the series. Set in the hamlet of Lochdubh in Sutherland, the northernmost part of the Western Highlands, it contains the colorful characters, village activities, and delightful scenery and customs that Beaton fans have come to expect. This, the 25th or 26th adventure depending on who' s counting, contains a bit more violence than the typical tale. Hamish has been promoted to sergeant, a worry for him since he always fears that promotions will land him in the Chicago-like crime-ridden town of Strathbane. He has also been assigned a constable of his own, a young female named Josie McSween, who has fallen in love with him from afar she saw him one day in Strathbane, but he didn' t notice her. Josie daydreams of getting rid of Lugs and Sonsie, the sergeant's beloved pets, and redecorating the police station where he lives.
The story opens with the humorous crimes readers have come to expect, but there is soon the death by letter-bomb of Annie Fleming, the local beauty queen and mantrap. Soon Hamish is trying to solve the crime while dodging Josie' s plots to drug and ensnare him. One of her efforts actually saves his life when a hit man drinks Josie 's drugged whisky and then fails to kill him. The real mystery here is whether Hamish can escape the dreadful marriage that the alcoholic Josie has planned for him. Readers owe M.C. Beaton a debt of gratitude for the many hours of enjoyment she has given them in this much loved cozy series.