Mysterious Press, Feb 2003, 23.95, 256 pp.
Police constable Hamish Macbeth loves living in the small Scottish Highland village of Lochdubh because he knows and likes most of the residents who in turn trusts him. He's regarded as a maverick at headquarters and his superiors would like to get him transferred to a bigger place where his talents could be better utilized. Hamish is very comfortable being a constable and does not want to rise in the ranks.
When he cracks an insurance fraud scheme, he becomes a media darling and the brass has every attention of transferring him whether he wants to go or not. He uses a bit of subterfuge to stay in Lochdubh but he soon breaks open another case involving a nursing home killing their patients for profit. Before he can talk to headquarters again, he is knee deep in an investigation in the hamlet of Stoyre where the villagers are acting very peculiar and nobody is willing to talk to him. Hamish is determined to find out what is going on there even if it means endangering his life.
This is the eighteenth Hamish Macbeth mystery and it is as refreshing and enjoyable as the previous seventeen books in this long running and delightful series. M.C. Beaton has created a hero it is impossible to dislike, as he is an honest non-ambitious man who is very happy with his place in the universe. If Hamish shows as much brilliance in future books, he is going to be hard pressed to refuse a promotion.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner