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*****= An all-time favorite
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**Death of an Outsider

A Hamish MacBeth Mystery

by M. C. Beaton

Reviewed April 21, 2003.
St. Martin’s Press, New York, 1988.  182 pages.
Available at Sembach Library (F BEA).

I liked Death of a Village so much, I hurried to check out one of the library’s older Hamish MacBeth stories.  I thought from the flap that this was the first one, but didn’t pay enough attention.  Death of an Outsider is the third Hamish MacBeth Mystery, and Death of a Gossip is the first.

I’m not completely sure why Death of an Outsider didn’t delight me as much as Death of a Village.  Perhaps I was disappointed to learn that easy-to-like Hamish MacBeth is the sort of person who pines for the “love of his life” one day and the next day leaps into bed with a new acquaintance.

This was another cozy British murder mystery.  Hamish MacBeth has been asked to cover for the constable of Cnothan while he’s away for three months.  He has to leave his quiet life in Lochdubh for three whole months, and he’s not happy about it.  In Cnothan, the locals are wary of outsiders, including Hamish.  Soon after he arrives, an interfering outsider, hated by all, is murdered, and it’s up to Hamish to solve the crime.

The characters in Cnothan simply aren’t as nice as the ones I met in the other book in Lochdubh.  The story is more unified, mainly dealing with the one murder.  The reader doesn’t really get the clues necessary to solve the case.  Still, it’s a good mystery story set in the Highlands of Scotland, and a nice diversion if you’re in the mood for something light.

Copyright © 2003 Sondra Eklund.  All rights reserved.

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