Death of a Gentle Lady
Once more the small police station at Lochdubh is threatened with closure. Hamish Macbeth will have to transfer to Strathbane and give up his pets. Mrs. Gentle, the new lady of the manor at a local castle, appears to be behind this current push. Hamish is certain that if he were married his post would remain secure. So when Mrs. Gentle's maid comes to him in distress, he proposes. Then she disappears on the day of their wedding.
The next day Mrs. Gentle is murdered. Hamish learns the missing maid wasn't who she said she was. Mrs. Gentle had secrets she hid behind her lavender sweet exterior. Hamish had accidentally witnessed a scene between the old lady and her daughter. When the whole family comes to Lochdubh the police learn that Mrs. Gentle had been threatening them with changing her will. He could understand why one of them could have killed her. But that still doesn't explain the maid's disappearance. They don't seem to tie together, yet they must have.
Hamish knows that the detectives from Strathbane are doing a good job. But he doesn't think the person arrested is actually the murderer. He keeps poking around. He turns himself into a target. And someone is trying to score a bull's-eye.
Death of a Gentle Lady has the components that keep this series lively. Hamish Macbeth is the perennial bachelor who enjoys what he does, doesn't want promoted, and has a conflicted love life. Lochdubh is a Highland Scottish village with the rumors and characters always found in close knit small towns.
The murder mystery is a puzzler. M.C. Beaton keeps the killer obscured. The final solution isn't a surprise in the sense that Mrs. Gentle wasn't what she seemed and the situation is plausible. It is a surprise in that the disguise works very well and holds up until Hamish finally is given the hint he needs to put it all together.
Death of a Gentle Lady is an easy, comfortable read. I read it in a few hours on a gray, blustery day (part of that time was at the tire store getting worn out tires replaced). It's a good mystery that leaves Hamish's personal saga wide open.
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| The Series:
Death of a Gossip
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