Star Rating = 3.5/5
The Prologue of this book gets the story off to an intriguing start, when we discover that Hamish Macbeth is about to be married to Josie McSween, his constable! Despite this, it is something of a cliffhanger, because Chapter 1 commences with the words ‘One Year Earlier’ and the reader is immediately plunged into the story behind their relationship.
This week’s book is Death of a Valentine, the twenty-fifth book in M.C.Beaton’s Hamish Macbeth series. I recently reviewed Death of a Witch and having thoroughly enjoyed it, I went to seek more and came away with three books from my local Library by M.C.Beaton, which were Death of a Valentine, Death of a Dustman and Animating Maria from the ‘School for Manners’ series. Which brings me neatly onto a spot of bulletin, I thought I’d mention. Every three weeks I will be submitting a Library Haul post, which will describe which books I have recently borrowed from my local Library, and I will also record my first impressions. Anyway – look out for that. I will be posting my first Library Haul at the end of the week.
Back to Death of a Valentine: M.C.Beaton is perhaps best known for her Agatha Raisin books, which don’t appeal to me as much. I think it has a lot to do with the location which features in these Hamish Macbeth stories, which I like – which is maybe why this particular Hamish Macbeth book wasn’t quite as enjoyable as my last. This one focuses more on Josie McSween’s perspective of her desired relationship with Hamish, and sort of ‘forgets’ the idyllic surroundings that the story is based around. But anyway – the reader becomes intrigued by Hamish’s austere reaction to Josie and throughout the course of the book, I continually found myself asking ‘how on earth can Hamish go from hating Josie so much, to loving her enough to consider marrying her!??’
And the answer is – the Valentines murder case… In this story, various unexplored dimensions unfold – so many more perspectives appear, whereas, with my previous experience with these books, the stories revolve mainly around Hamish’s point of view. Anyway, we witness the victims thoughts and perspective, when the crime is committed – in the form of a letter-bomb. Scary thought! These stories are so easy and relaxing to read though they do contain various occasional examples of ‘adult humour’…
Anyway, the case begins to unfold with a rather disturbing second murder, and then, culprits are considered. An excellent, thoroughly compelling story. I only scored it a 3.5 out of 5 though, because, as I have mentioned – the beautiful Scottish setting is more or less ignored, which is the main ‘ingredient’ for me. Nevertheless: very enjoyable.