by M.C. Beaton
Published February 21st 2017 by Constable
Synopsis: There are many ruined castles in Scotland. One such lies outside the village of Drim. Hamish begins to hear reports that this castle is haunted and lights have been seen there at night, but he assumes it’s some children or maybe the local lads going there to smoke pot, or, worse, inject themselves with drugs. Hamish says to his policeman, Charlie ‘Clumsy’ Carson, that they will both spend a night there.
The keening wind explains the ghostly noises, but when Charlie falls through the floor, Hamish finds the body of a dead man propped up in a corner of the cellar. After Charlie is airlifted to the hospital, Chief Detective Inspector Blair arrives to investigate the body, but there is none to be found. Dismissed as a drunk making up stories, Hamish has to find and identify the body and its killer before the “ghost” can strike again.
My Review: Hamish MacBeth is back in true Hamish fashion. This is a series that I find people either love it or not. Hamish is a very distinct personality. He loves living in Lochdubh and has no interest in moving up the ladder in the police force. His sidekick, Charlie, is a large, clumsy lovable man who also does not want to leave the area. The problem is, these two inevitably solve cases and have to give the credit to others. This story sees Hamish and Charlie investigating a number of crimes in the Highland area they are responsible for. Between murders, smugglers, drugs, abused wives and children, they are kept hopping. Despite the fact that their superiors think they have solved the murders, Hamish is not so sure and keeps investigating. There are so many suspects as usual, that it takes a lot of deduction, perseverance and investigating to get to the bottom of these situations, all of which Hamish does well.
The main characters in the Hamish MacBeth series are quite complex and have human foibles galore. Hamish is a man who would like to find the right woman, but always finds fault with the one he is with. The women in the village are trying to get him to settle down as he seems to have difficulty finding someone on his own, that does not work out as planned. He is quite blunt and often ends up inadvertently hurting a person’s feelings. Charlie continues to become smitten with women that do not work out. He lives in the castle due to the station being too small to accomodate a man of his size. He is kind, calm and friendly. The many secondary characters in the villages are very typical Highlanders. The Colonel makes several appearances in this book helping both Charlie and Hamish in their quests to remain in Lochdubh. Of course this time around Chief Detective Blair is present but not a thorn in Hamish’s side as much as in previous books. He still does not like Hamish but is outwitted everytime he tries to cause problems for him. This was an enjoyable read with many more details and situations than in previous books. Once again, Hamish figures out what has happened, and is successful in giving the credit to others. The publisher generously provided me with a copy of this book via Netgalley.