Death of a

M. C. Beaton
Graeme Malcom,

(Audio Partners)
Lochdubh is a small, scenic town in Scotland. Artist Jock Fleming arrives, charms all the ladies. Until Detective Hamish Macbeth noises it around that the painter has syphilis.

One of the ladies, Effie Garrand, is charmed a bit too much. Her body is soon found up the hill, and it's not VD --- it's antifreeze. In a wine bottle. The police say suicide. Macbeth says no. You know where he stands in the police hierarchy.

Bill Ott, editor/publisher of ALA/Booklist, recently reviewed Andrea Camilleri's Rounding the Mark. He said that it's "a losing battle against the melancholy that weighs down so many overburdened European cops, from Henning Mankell's Kurt Wallander in Sweden to Michael Dibden's Aurelio Zen in Italy." He might have added Macbeth. For Hamish is not only on the wrong side of official police thinking, he's a worrier, a somewhat daffy loser. And, naturally, he loves the wrong women. One --- a reporter in the city --- keeps drifting away. He seems blindsided , too. In Death of a Dreamer he almost ends up in bed with a lady who is one of the suspects.

This one starts off well, the language of Robert Burns, one of our favorite poets, is rendered nicely by reader Graeme Malcolm. We even found out what a "bap" was. But then Macbeth gets sapped, he figures out who the murderer is, as he puts on the handcuffs on him or her ... I won't tell ... there are screams, insults, curses, and it all ends so neatly that some of us Chandler fans might get restless. We like things left hanging out, and I ain't talkin' the cruder definition of "baps."

They say that Ms. Beaton has churned out twenty Hamish Macbeth detective stories, along with fifteen with a lady detective named Agatha Raisin.

Agatha? Raisin? Hamish? Macbeth? Has Great Birnam Wood come to high Dunsinane Hill at last?

--- Cynthia French
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