It’s time to mention another favourite mystery series … Hamish Macbeth by M. C. Beaton. Set in Lochdubh, Scotland, the local policeman sets out to solve crime.
Hamish is the red headed policeman with no ambition. He loves living in the police house with his dog and wild cat, raising his chickens and geese, and fishing. Detective Chief Inspector Blair, head of Strathbane CID, wants to be the one to solve all the crime but Hamish is the one who always figures it out but somehow lets Blair take the credit.
This was the first book in the series and was not available at our local library, but it was recently re-released. There are about 34 books on the list so far and I have read most of them over the past several years. Many of the characters in later books are introduced and both settings and characters are described really well and you are able to visualize them.
In Death of a Gossip a group of people are enrolled in a local fishing school. Lady Jane Winters was part of the class, but it didn’t take long for everyone to dislike her. It seems she was a reporter and took time to dig up incriminating information on all of the other members in the fishing class. Hamish sets out to find who disliked her enough to strangle her and drown her in the river.
The villagers rely on Pete Ray and his old fashioned brushes to clean their chimneys. Milly and her husband Captain Henry Davenport live in one of the old houses in Drim. Henry receives a phone call, who he says is from an old army buddy, and goes out to meet him. Milly called in the chimney sweep to clear the smoking chimney. While the cleaning is happening she goes into the village but when she returns she notices blood dripping on the floor under the fireplace. Hamish is called and he discovers a dead body stuffed inside the chimney. The town thinks Pete is the murderer but Hamish thinks differently. Then Pete’s body is discovered on the moors and the mystery deepens.
Hamish doesn’t think the chimney sweep is capable of murder. It seems the murdered man stuffed up the chimney was known for taking money from friends and colleagues for schemes that never happen. A group of them get together and decide they want their money back.
Hamish is the unlikely sleuth that solves many mysterious deaths much to the chagrin of Chief Inspector Blair.
Quite awhile ago, late 1990’s, there was a tv series about Hamish MacBeth, but as usual when I’ve read the series it seems only the titles are the same and I didn’t really like the series.
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