Review of M.C. Beaton's The Death of Yesterday | How Mysterious! » How Mysterious!
May 062013

Hamish Macbeth is the best detective in his district, but the bumblers in higher ranks seem determined not to let anyone know about it.

You may wonder if that bothers Hamish; yes, but it also serves his purposes. He wants nothing more than to hang out in his own little station in Lochdubh, a village where you can usually figure out who did something because you already know all the people involved well enough to understand their motives. That, and get married, but he or circumstances always manage to put an end to his romantic feelings about Priscilla and Elspeth, or the woman of the day (in this case the lovely Jessica… or is she?).

In The Death of Yesterday, M.C. Beaton’s 29th book in the series, Hamish returns to the gloomy town of Cnothan, where no one will tell the police anything and everyone is either grumpy or mean.The mystery this time surrounds Morag, a spiteful and annoying young woman who recently moved to Cnothan and who’s managed to stir up a lot of trouble in a short amount of time. She announces that she thinks she’s been drugged, but no one seems to care and her story doesn’t seem particularly credible until Hamish decides there might be something to it and searches for her until he finds her corpse.

As usual, the men above Hamish in the police ranks find ways to undermine his investigation, especially Jimmy, who’s supposedly his friend but is always taking credit for his ideas, and Blair, who hates him to the point of stroke. Yet Hamish always manages to work around them to solve the mystery.

Sadly, this series has gotten stale. I didn’t even bother to review The Death of a Kingfisher, and although I thought this one was a bit better, I’m pretty tired of the same characters doing the same things over and over in every book. Surely Hamish can get past Priscilla and Elspeth, and surely at some point Blair will be removed from the force, and surely Beaton can escape the formula these stories have fallen into so we can all enjoy crime in the Scottish Highlands again.

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