Death of a Valentine (A Hamish Macbeth Mystery)

by M. C. Beaton | Mystery & Thrillers |
ISBN: 0446547379 Global Overview for this book
Registered by wingGoryDetailswing of Nashua, New Hampshire USA on 2/5/2017
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Journal Entry 1 by wingGoryDetailswing from Nashua, New Hampshire USA on Sunday, February 05, 2017
I found this good-condition paperback on the book-swap shelf in the Tyngsboro MA post office lobby while dropping off some books of my own. It's from the "Hamish Macbeth" series.

This is a rather odd series, mixing light-hearted comedy with exceedingly gruesome murders - not to mention the entire subplot in which a young woman tries everything she can think of to coerce Hamish into marrying her, up to and including drugging him. [Along the way she accidentally drugs two other people and deliberately drugs Hamish's pet dog and cat, any of which could have resulted in the deaths of the drug-ees - it's played for comedy here but I found it quite disturbing.]

Hamish is a brilliant detective, but is also very much interested in retaining a low-key, laid-back lifestyle, being able to amble around his beat, take time out for fishing or visits to the pub, and with no complications or media attention. As this book opens, he's on the point of getting married, an event shocking to those who know him - he's had lots of romances, but they mostly consist of women chasing him until they give up and marry someone else. As he's standing at the altar praying for a way out of this fix, we flash back to a year before, and then follow the course of young Josie's attempts to woo him, starting with her assignment as his new constable. At first she seems fairly sympathetic, if a bit silly with regard to her daydreams about a man she's only seen once and doesn't know at all, but as her plans escalate and her attachment to reality grows thinner, it gets quite disturbing.

Amid all this, a series of murders makes Hamish have to work much harder than he wants - though he does manage to put credit for each new discovery onto someone else, at least most of the time. He also has to juggle Josie-as-co-worker and Josie-as-increasingly-annoying-stalker; the reader can tell that he's pretty much onto her from the beginning, but his best attempts to bore and/or annoy her aren't enough to put her off.

The climax of the story involves the last gasp of the series of murders, a near-deadly attack on Hamish himself, and a heart-warming collaboration between Hamish's ex- and current woman friends to try and liberate him from Josie's clutches.

I did rather enjoy the book, but I still found it unsettling in the way it shifted from grisly and tragic deaths to wacky pratfalls to the date-rape/pregnancy-scare subplot.

[There's a TV Tropes page on the series. And the books inspired a TV series starring Robert Carlyle - will have to look for that.]

Journal Entry 2 by wingGoryDetailswing at Hannaford supermarket book-sale in Hampstead, New Hampshire USA on Monday, February 06, 2017

Released 2 yrs ago (2/6/2017 UTC) at Hannaford supermarket book-sale in Hampstead, New Hampshire USA

WILD RELEASE NOTES:

I donated this book to the charity-sale bin inside Hannaford's at around 3:30. [They sell donated books for low prices, with the proceeds going to local charities.] Hope the buyer enjoys the book!

[See other recent releases in NH here.]

*** Released for the 2017 Valentine release challenge. ***

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