“Death of an Honest Man” by M.C. Beaton


By M.C. Beaton

Honesty is a trait to be admired, for sure. But like too little knowledge, too much honesty is a dangerous thing. This is the premise M.C. Beaton uses as the springboard for Book 34 in her always entertaining Hamish MacBeth mystery series.

Paul English is a newcomer in Cnothan, a village on the beat of Scotland’s most unassuming, yet brilliant police sergeant, Hamish MacBeth. English believes in telling everyone he meets what faults they may have. He tells Mrs. Wellington that she’s too fat and in these days of emphasis on obesity, it’s her duty to lose weight as an example to others. He tells Angela Brodie, a good friend of Hamish’s and an aspiring writer, that her detective stories aren’t worth reading. “I speak as I find,” Paul says, as he tells Jessie, one of the twin Currie sisters, that she needs psychiatric help because she always repeats the last words of her sister’s sentences. And, to top it all off, he insults Hamish personally by accusing him of having dyed his fiery red hair.

It doesn’t take long for many of the locals to wish for someone to shut Paul English’s mouth for good. And then, someone does.

Hamish is faced with his longest list of suspects at a time when he’s dealing with a personal crisis of his own. He’s still mourning the disappearance and probable death of his beloved feral cat, Sonsie. And, of course, his personal nemesis on the police force, Detective Chief Inspector Blair, is determined to undermine any efforts Hamish may make to solve the murder of English, even if that involves planting a policeman on Hamish’s beat for the sole purpose of spying on him.

“Death of an Honest Man” is an absolutely delightful mystery from the very first page. My only complaint about this series is that I finish reading each one too fast, which makes me want the next one as soon as possible!

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