Sunday, February 7, 2016

Review of a mystery novel

Review of

Beaton, M. C., 2016, Death of a Nurse, a Hamish MacBeth mystery, Grand Central publishing, $25 hb, ISBN 978-1-4555-5825-4, 256 p.

Death of a Nurse is the 32nd in a series of murder mysteries set in the Scottish highlands. I was sent a review copy and enjoyed the book so much that I decided to review it. Even though it isn't SF. Then I mislaid the book, and before I relocated it, got another copy in the mail. Pinned by the fickle finger of fate!

Death of a Nurse is about a policeman in a small town in Scotland. Everybody knows everybody, and yet life (and death) is surprisingly complicated, and full of complicated surprises. Hamish Macbeth has a date with a hot young nurse who takes care of a cranky old man. She shows up late for their date ... a few days late, and unexpectedly dead. Macbeth attempts to find out what happened, but lies and half-truths lead him into a morass of possible guilty parties with varied motives. These include the old man, others in his household, other officers of the law, and plenty more.

I liked the smoothly believable plotting, the well-fleshed out and realistic characters, Hamish (I always prefer books in which I like the protagonist), and the denouement. Of course I liked the writing, too. What didn't I like? Death of a Nurse was a bit more serious than my ideal mystery. If you like murder mysteries, you should read this book. Perhaps you'll want to start with the first in the series (available for less than $7, including shipping), though I had no problem jumping in at number 32.

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