Death of a Witch
Grand Central, Feb 2009, $24.99
After heeding the advice of his friend to go abroad on his vacation, police constable Hamish Macbeth returns from a cheap off season holiday in Spain to his home village Lochdubhof in the Scottish Highlands. All he can think of is breathing Scotland’s air after a boring disappointing trip to the southern part of the Iberian Peninsular.
However, in his short time as a stranger in a strange land, Macbeth finds the village males acting even stupider than normal, which in the cop’s mind would have been impossible as stupid male is an oxymoron. Newcomer Catriona Beldame seems to own the men as if she cast a bewitching spell on them. She sells them elixirs that she claims cure all sorts of sexual malfunctions. Macbeth learns of her dishonest past and warns her if she is peddling illegal concoctions he will get her. Just after Macbeth foolishly in public proclaims he wants to kill the flimflam con artist someone takes his threat to heart killing Beldame and burning down her residence. Knowing Inspector Blair will gleefully make him a prime suspect, Macbeth investigates, but is taken aback by the murders of three more women and a female not under investigation who has him distracted with thoughts of a kiss.
The latest Macbeth police procedural (see DEATH OF A GENTLE LADY) is a terrific whodunit as the hero will shock his fans with the key relationship question to ask or not to ask as Hamish meets women who are not suspects. Filled with the usual humor, DEATH OF A WITCH is a delightful Scottish charmer that works on the investigative level as much as on the personal level. M.C. Beaton provides her usual superior tale with the king of obstinacy Macbeth diligently working a homicide while pondering the foreign concept of romantic thoughts.