Death of a Travelling Man is the ninth entry in the Hamish Macbeth series. This review assumes you've read the other books, but there are really few spoilers to the series.
Hamish Macbeth likes the quiet life and likes his adopted town of Lochdubh. He's not so sure he likes having been promoted to sergeant because now he's stuck with an assistant. Police Constable Willie Lamont is more than staff, however; he's moved in to Hamish's home in the police station. And Willie is not only gung-ho about the law but he's a clean freak and is always cooking. Poor Hamish, everything seems to be changing.
When Hamish comes across a camper illegally parked in town, he meets the handsome Sean Gourlay and his traveling companion, Cheryl Higgins. Soon after Sean moves the camper to the minister's property, life in Lochdubh becomes unsettled. Middle-aged women are seen bringing the drifter baked goods at a regular pace, petty thefts are reported, long-time residents put their house up for sale, and the minister seems to have lost his faith.
Before Hamish can gather evidence to solve the thefts, there is a murder. And this time it looks as if one of his friends and neighbors may be involved. Hamish is at loss of how to proceed; he believes in the law, but he trusts the townsfolk, no matter which way the evidence is pointing.
The Hamish Macbeth series is about more than the murder. It's about the easygoing Hamish and his life in the northern Highlands. It's also about his tentative relationship with the beautiful Priscilla Halburton-Smythe. Death of a Travelling Man doesn't let us down on any of these planes.
The murder mystery is nicely crafted in this entry, and I wasn't unable to figure it out any faster than Hamish was. One of Hamish's endearing characteristics is his ability to seem as if he were lazy and somewhat slow on the uptake when he is really way ahead of everyone else in solving the crime. The problem is that he doesn't want to be promoted because he's afraid that he'll be transferred to the city of Strathbane if he keeps doing a good job. He loves his simple small-town life and wants to have time to fish and visit with his friends.
This is a fun cozy series. The books are short but entertaining, and I highly recommend them. The audiobook was read by the fabulous Davina Porter. In fact, I started this series solely because she was the narrator. Porter is terrific, and I would listen to almost anything she read. I'm already looking forward to the next book in this series.
Print Published by Random House 1996
Audio Published by Recorded Books, 2005
Challenges: A-Z Author, Support Your Library, 999, 100+, Cozy Mysteries