|Posted by Ronnie on February 16, 2016 at 9:00 AM|
"Who murdered Maggie Baird, whore turned wealthy socialite? Read another of M. C. Beaton's wonderful cozy mysteries and find out. A lovely British mystery filled with eccentrics."
Once again there is a vicious murder on Constable Hamish Macbeth's patch in the highlands of Scotland. Maggie Baird amassed a small fortune - enough to purchase a lovely home in the Highlands and retire in style. But money and a house don't make a home. Maggie gets lonely and decides to call on former suitors to come keep her company. (The very same suitors she fleeced in her days as a gold digger.) And that's when things begin to heat up, literally, as poor Maggie is dragged from a burning car -- DEAD!
The suspects are her four former lovers, aging rock star, Steele Ironside; pompous Crispin Witherington who owns a car sales room; silly James Frame whose mannerisms mimic those attending a royal court in the days when men giggled and wore hose and white wigs; and Peter Jenkins who needs to grow a backbone. Then of course there is Maggie's meek neice Alison who is so wimpy I wanted to reach into the pages and slap her myself. The stoic Mrs. Todd runs the house and wraps Alison with a mother's warmth when Maggie meets her tragic end.
Hamish has his neverending problems with the upper echelon of the police department. He usually reports to Detective Chief Inspector Blair who would as soon run over Macbeth with his car than speak to him. But there's a new face sent down from headquarters in Strathbane. The smooth, unruffled Ian Donati whose calm is unsettling. Hamish may soon find himself pining for the verbally abusive Blair! While those looking on from the outside, see Hamish as an underachieving, lazy lout, the reader knows his mind works with amazing analytical skill. The slightest inflection in a suspect's voice does not go unheard by Constable Hamish.
As usual, Beaton's insight into the dark and weak human characteristics is spot on. There is just enough description to give you a whiff and a taste of the Highlands without boring the reader with endless scenery details. She weaves a story of intrigue, passion and sex that leaves the reader on the edge of her seat as the story winds to a climatic finish.