Highland Scottish detective Hamish Macbeth, P.C., is the creation of M.C. Beaton, author of the popular Agatha Raisin mystery series. Laid-back, red haired, and gangly, with a mind like a steel trap, he is the sole constable of the small village of Lochdubh (pronounced Loch-doo) in the northwestern Highlands of present-day Scotland. Sending money home to help support his younger brothers and sisters, he mooches coffee from the local hotel, keeps chickens and sheep behind the police station where he lives with his mongrel dog Towser, who often eats better than he does, and poaches fish to survive on what is left of his meager salary.
In Death of a Gossip, the first book of the series, Hamish Macbeth must find the killer of Lady Jane Hamilton, a gossip columnist for a tabloid newspaper. Supposedly in Lochdubh to attend a local fishing school for beginning anglers, the columnist is really there to dig up dirt on the other students. When her strangled body is fished out of the river, everyone in the class is a suspect. A Detective Inspector is dispatched from Strathbane CID to investigate, but Hamish, unwilling to take a back seat, solves the case.
A light, humorous, fun read, filled with snappy dialog, Death of a Gossip is just the thing for a lazy afternoon, a long plane ride, or a rainy day.
Note: As of this post, there are twenty-six books in the Hamish MacBeth mystery series with a good deal of character development along the way. It’s best if you read them in order.