I received an ARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for a honest review. This did not effect my opinion of the book or my review.
In the 31st entry in the Hamish Macbeth mystery series, Hamish encounters, as the title suggests, the body of a nurse, who has been mysteriously murdered. But this is no straightforward crime. As other murders occur, and suspects pile up, Hamish begins to realize he is in the middle of a tangled web of greed and jealousy. He must also navigate his way through a complicated police hierarchy that seems to be becoming a little too every man for himself,, a situation that does not sit well with Hamish.
One of my favorite things about this book was the pacing. In lesser hands, the brisk speed of events could have come across as overwhelming, rushed, or even amateurish. But Beaton expertly navigates events at a fast clip, in a way that keeps the reader's attention and prevents them from ever being confused or bored. There is always something happening, some new lead to follow up on, or some new clue to unravel.
If you are looking for a cozy mystery packed with unique characters, and lots of twists and turns, this is definitely a book you want to look into.
And in fact, you can win a copy of the book from the publisher! Just enter the giveaway below. It's open to US residents only, and the winner will need to provide a mailing address to receive their prize. Winners must be over 18 or have a parent or legal guardian's permission to enter.
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I was also lucky enough to be able to conduct a Q&A with the author herself, M.C. Beaton!
1) Scotland is almost a character in itself in your books. How does this setting influence your writing choices?
I find the geographical background of my books shapes the character of the detective. Hamish Macbeth, for example, is a Highlander.
2) How do you develop your mysteries and their solutions? Do you start with a murderer and victim in mind right away, and plant the clues, or do the clues lead you to a solution?
I present a skeleton plot to a publisher and then flesh it out with clues. Yes, I start with murder in mind, rather than a murderer.
3) How did you come up with the character of Hamish Macbeth?
Hamish Macbeth was born on Fifth Avenue in New York. I had been on a fishing holiday in Sutherland and was full of ideas for a plot. My editor, Hope Dellon, asked for the name of my detective and I said Hamish Macbeth off the top of my head. The character is based on combination of two Highlanders I knew.
4) What was your favorite book when you were a child? When you were a teenager? And now?
My favourite book as a child was The White Company by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. As a teenager, any Lord Peter Wimsey detective story by Dorothy Sayers. Now, too many favorites to list.
5) Are there any authors you admire or that are particular favorites?
But particular favorites are Alexander McCall Smith, John Le Carre, Charles Cumming, Josephine Tey, Eric Ambler, Nicholas Blake and Gladys Mitchell.