M.C. Beaton lives in the Cotswolds with her husband. She writes the Agatha Raisin mystery series as well as the Hamish Macbeth mystery series.
Like the pleasures of ``a wee dram,'' reading about the adventures of Scottish policeman Hamish Macbeth is an experience delicious, stimulating and cozy. Previously seen in Death of a Cad , Hamish here departs from the sleepy precincts of his native Lochdub for a health farm on the gale-swept isle of Eileencraig to spend Christmas as guest of owner Jane Weatherby, who is upset by recent accidents that have befallen her since a local soothsayer saw death in Jane's tea leaves. Beset by assorted emotions, including his attraction to a fellow guest, widowed cookbook author Harriet Shaw, and occasionally nasty interactions among the others of the group, the normally lugubrious Hamish is at first inclined to blame the owner's troubles on coincidence. But when another guest, a snobbish, pontificating Glaswegian, turns up dead on a shoreline crag, Hamish, accompanied by Harriet, leaves no stone unturned to find the solution to the crime. As Christmas puddings--and yuletide mysteries--go, this one is a plum--a perfectly paced tale, told with just the right light touch. (July)
Christmas draws near, and Hamish McBeth is asked to stay away from the McBeth family celebration. Feeling very alone, Hamish unwisely accepts a holiday invitation to a house party on a remote island. He expects good food and leisure while pretending to investigate his hostess's unlikely theory that someone is trying to kill her. The other guests prove unpleasant, his hostess tries to seduce him, and Hamish is soon feeling sorry for himself once again. Self-pity doesn't last when Hamish finds the most insufferable guest dead on the beach. Away from his home district, he works with hostile strangers and uncooperative police to solve the murder. Now in her 11th reading of a McBeth mystery, Davina Porter is a familiar voice to Beaton fans. Her lilting voice and restful pacing will appeal to most aficionados of "cozies." Recommended for all mystery collections.-Juleigh Muirhead Clark, John D. Rockefeller Jr. Lib., Colonial Williamsburg Fdn., VA Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.