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Death of a Green-Eyed Monster: A Hamish Macbeth Murder Mystery


Death of a Green-Eyed Monster: A Hamish Macbeth Murder Mystery

In 2019, the literary world and readers everywhere said goodbye to the great M. C. Beaton. Hailed as the "Queen of Crime" by the Globe and Mail, she brought us two hugely popular mystery series starring Agatha Raisin and Hamish Macbeth. DEATH OF A GREEN-EYED MONSTER is the 34th installment in the latter series, and it is thanks to R.W. Green --- a longtime friend of Beaton --- that this story was finished and published for her fans to enjoy.

Green provides us with a terrific Foreword in which he not only pays fine tribute to Beaton but also talks about Sergeant Hamish Macbeth, perhaps her greatest fictional creation. Murder is his business, and the patch he calls home is Sutherland in the northernmost part of the Scottish mainland. Statistics show that there are approximately 60 murders in Scotland each year, with half of those taking place in the much larger cities of Glasgow and Edinburgh. Hamish’s territory averages around one murder per year. Yet Beaton found enough interesting mysteries to keep him busy for years, and DEATH OF A GREEN-EYED MONSTER is no exception.

"Beaton and Green do a superb job keeping the red herrings coming and the plot twists jumping out at you until the finale."

The quote from William Shakespeare’s OTHELLO that precedes the first chapter sets the tone for what is to follow: “O, beware, my lord, of jealousy; It is the green-ey’d monster, which doth mock The meat it feeds on.” There are a few references to jealousy or “the green-eyed monster” in this novel, which will keep readers guessing as to which one is the impetus for the title.

In the hamlet of Lochdubh, Hamish operates out of a small house that doubles as the local police station. Not much surprises him at this point in his life, but he is nearly bowled over when Dorothy McIver walks into the station. She may very well be the most beautiful woman he has ever seen. She also ends up being the new constable, assigned to assist him and the people of Lochdubh.

Hamish is overjoyed, although the rest of the town figures she’ll last only a few weeks before heading back to wherever she came from. He proudly takes her under his wing, showing her all the haunts of Lochdubh as well as the many interesting denizens and over-the-top characters residing within its borders. Dorothy quickly picks up on the history and gossip of the town and its people and does not seem scared off in any way.

Most of the “crimes” here are of the low-scale variety --- that is, until Alice McBride reports her husband missing. After Hamish and Dorothy take Alice’s statement, he shows her one of the many fishing spots where Mr. McBride likes to frequent to get away from the missus. Dorothy not only relishes the beautiful vistas of this area of Scotland, she also finds herself falling for her partner. She exclaims to Hamish that she’s never been happier in her entire life.

Things could not be more tranquil until an actual murder breaks the serenity. Dougie Tennant hunts down Hamish and Dorothy to report a dead man slumped inside a car, shot through the head gangster-style. Hamish is now on the lookout for anyone out of the ordinary in their sleepy little village and pulls over an Aston Martin that’s been speeding. The occupants are indeed strangers --- one a Yank and the other with a Glaswegian accent. Hamish writes them up and warns them off.

Because the murder might involve the criminal underworld, Hamish must accept assistance from other law enforcement operating out of the larger cities. There is a lot going on in DEATH OF A GREEN-EYED MONSTER, including Hamish and Dorothy getting engaged and making plans for their wedding. Beaton and Green do a superb job keeping the red herrings coming and the plot twists jumping out at you until the finale. You’ll just have to strap on your favorite kilt and visit scenic Lochdubh to find out exactly what is going on here.

Reviewed by Ray Palen on February 18, 2022

Death of a Green-Eyed Monster: A Hamish Macbeth Murder Mystery
by M. C. Beaton with R.W. Green

  • Publication Date: January 10, 2023
  • Genres: Fiction, Mystery
  • Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
  • ISBN-10: 1538746735
  • ISBN-13: 9781538746738