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Death of a Valentine by M.C. Beaton

Here’s another in Beaton’s Hamish Macbeth Mystery series. Hamish gets himself tangled in an unusual amount of hot water as he takes on a female beat copper, Josie McSween.

It turns out Josie is not just gunning for the Lochdubh miscreants; she wants to take down Macbeth as well– as her lawfully wedded husband. The zany plot adds to the entertainment value of this mystery. It is usually hard to feel sorry for the irascible Macbeth, but this time he is overmatched by a devious female cop and I almost began to feel for the defenseless guy.

The murder mystery that the team solves is who sent a Valentines Day letter bomb to a self-centered beauty queen. As usual, there were plenty of people who had it in for the young woman. Was the one who ordered the hit a jealous rival? A former boss? A crime boss? A cop on the take? Hamish and Josie have to do some round-about work to keep rival crime teams from taking their case, and they also have to play cat and mouse with the hit man who also goes after Macbeth.

This is what I’ve come to expect from Beaton– a zany plot and colorful characters mixed with a lot of action in a charming Highland setting.

Liz Nichols

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