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Hamish Tests His Limits
am 10. März 2007
Don't read this book yet if you haven't read any others in the series. At least go back to Death of a Glutton and follow that with Death of a Travelling Man before taking on Death of a Charming Man. But if you can go to the beginning, Death of a Gossip, that would be best.
At the end of Death of a Travelling Man a false rumor spreads that Hamish and Priscilla Halburton-Smythe are engaged. Faced with everyone believing so, Hamish and Priscilla agreed to a sort-of engagement . . . just to see how things go. Hamish is wildly happy, and Priscilla is pleasantly open to the experience.
At the start of Death of Charming Man, Priscilla's well-organized ways are driving Hamish a bit batty as a new electric cooker is installed to replace his old wood-burning stove at the police station. Matters are made worse by Superintendent Daviot's wife who is out searching for homes that Hamish and Priscilla can buy in Strathbane. Hamish wants to stay in Lochdubh and live in the police station with Priscilla (without the cooker).
Wanting relief from all this, Hamish heads on Drim (a dreary place on his beat) to meet the new English arrival, a gorgeous young man named Peter Hynd who knows how to turn on the charm. There's something about Hynd that bothers Hamish. Those concerns grow when Hynd begins flirting with all of the middle-aged women in Drim who turn a bit batty themselves over the attention. Hamish is less pleased when Hynd invites Priscilla for dinner and later makes trouble over wanting to buy her scarf.
Matters are made worse in the Hamish-Priscilla relationship when the receptionist at the Tommel Castle Hotel decides to thrust herself on Hamish and create a scandal. Finally, Hamish warms Priscilla up a bit when police business intrudes.
When Peter Hynd leaves Drim, the men cheer and the women weep before going back to the old ways. Hamish is suspicious that there's foul play involved but cannot prove anything. An apparently accidental death follows that makes Hamish even more suspicious. But he's alone in his concerns. Feeling abandoned, Hamish takes his vacation to sleuth on his own. Before the book ends, Hamish finds that he's met his match in more than one way in this entertaining mystery.
Hamish Macbeth fans will find this to be one of the top books in the series. The development of the Hamish-Priscilla relationships is very find. The portrayal of the Peter Hynd character is well done. The villagers in Drim become interesting as well. The mystery is a challenging one, and most people probably won't get it until M.C. Beaton drops two clues to get you on the right track. The ending is full of interesting humor in which M.C. Beaton makes fun of her typical Hamish Macbeth endings.
Savor this one. It's very fine.