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Death of a Liar: A Hamish Macbeth Mystery


Death of a Liar: A Hamish Macbeth Mystery

The coastline of County Sutherland hugs the rugged coast of Northwest Scotland and is as craggy and forbidding as its citizens. Hamish Macbeth serves as the sole policeman, with a wee bit o’ help from his lazy assistant Dick Fraser, in the town of Loch Dubh. The small villages scattered amongst the lochs and bracken-filled braes are inhabited by those who “keep themselves to themselves.” Strangers are likely to be tourists, photographers and fishermen, driving through the moors and hiking along the lochs and bubbling streams, without thoughts of thievery or murder. 

When a hysterical woman calls Hamish at his office, claiming rape and assault, Hamish rushes to her village to investigate. The doctor finds that she has not been raped and is in fact a virgin, nor has she been assaulted. Furthermore, she’s known as the town liar. Hamish interviews several villagers who confirm that Liz Bentley is so widely known as a liar that no one believes a word she says. When a few days later she calls in the middle of the night, howling that a man is trying to break into her cottage, Hamish, who does not suffer fools gladly, tells her to go see a psychiatrist and goes back to sleep. The next morning, feeling remorseful, he and Dick drive back to the village to check on her and discover her body in the vegetable patch, dead of a gunshot wound. 

"DEATH OF A LIAR is the 31st installment in a series that saw fame as a television program in the '90s and seldom fails to entertain."

M. C. Beaton spins tales of the colorful Highlanders who live under the watchful and disdainful eye of Hamish Macbeth. He has a nose for crime solving and has been offered positions in Strathmore, but chooses to roam the moors with his dog Lugs and giant cat Sonsie, and is more likely to carry a fishing pole than a gun. His halcyon existence allows him to poach the occasional salmon and woo the beautiful women who step in and out of his life. His sidekick, Dick, is more cook than cop. They’ve built a comfortable life, looking in on the auld folk, checking the door locks and admiring the northern lights. 

Sadly, the hidden bays and lochs have recently become havens for foreign smugglers, and the Highland idyllic life is not what it once was. Clues point to a gang of drug smugglers, hiding a suspected fortune in money and cocaine in the façade of a newly formed church with a charismatic preacher. When more bodies show up, a swarm of forensic examiners, capitol police and the press shatter the peace and quiet of the hamlets.   

And poor Hamish. One beautiful woman after another seems to slip out of reach, and he hasn’t a clue why, not even when his former ladies try to explain. That shock of red hair fits his disposition when it comes to criticism, and as they go off into another man’s arms, he’s hard pressed to make amends. 

He now looks on, nonplussed as plump, lazy, homebody Dick moves out, lock, stock and TV, taking everything but the wood-fire stove. Dick has waltzed off with one of the most beautiful women in the Highlands who has set the villages abuzz with her scones and bacon baps. His announcement that they plan to open a bakery finds Hamish, who has long yearned to have the house to himself, stranded with his dog and cat. Just as he’s about to propose marriage to an old flame, headquarters sends him a new assistant, straight from the academy, who helps tie up a niggling loose end to the crimes. Hamish decides that even though bachelorhood is his fate, it might not be so bad.   

DEATH OF A LIAR is the 31st installment in a series that saw fame as a television program in the '90s and seldom fails to entertain.

Reviewed by Roz Shea on February 20, 2015

Death of a Liar: A Hamish Macbeth Mystery
by M. C. Beaton

  • Publication Date: February 23, 2016
  • Genres: Fiction, Mystery
  • Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
  • ISBN-10: 1455504777
  • ISBN-13: 9781455504770