Death of a Charming Man is the 10th mystery in M. C. Beaton's Hamish Macbeth series. This review contains very minor spoilers for the series and no spoilers for the book.
Hamish Macbeth, easygoing police sergeant from Lochdubh in northern Scotland, is content with his life. He spends his days fishing and gossiping with neighbors; flirting with his unofficial fiance, Priscilla Halburton-Smythe; and handling the occasional crime.
As much as Hamish is in love with Priscilla, she is also the source of his biggest problems: She is determined to modernize his house and help him get promoted, neither of which interests him. Hamish is looking for excuses to avoid Priscilla's improvement projects, so when he hears that a British incomer has moved to the neighboring town of Drim, he decides to check things out.
To the middle-aged women of Drim, the arrival of the handsome Peter Hynd is just the spark they needed to join exercise classes, dye their hair, and buy new clothes. Never mind that they are married and no amount of hair dye is going to return them to their 20s. Best friends begin to compete for Peter's attention and marriages are hanging on by a thread.
Hamish's doubts about Peter are strengthened when the newcomer is seen having dinner with Priscilla. But when the charming man is reported missing just after a Drim woman is found dead on the beach, Hamish begins to investigate Peter in earnest.
M. C. Beaton is a master at the cozy mystery. Even in the 10th novel, we are still interested in the life and crimes of the northern Highlands. As always, the townsfolk and Hamish's seemingly lazy personality are at the core of the book. The mystery was well constructed and not easy to figure out, but it's the people who keep me coming back to Lochdubh.
I highly recommend this series to cozy mystery lovers, people who like to read about Scotland, and those who like books about small towns and unique characters.
I listened to the audio production read by the wonderful Davina Porter. If you are an audio fan, you won't be disappointed listening to Porter's lovely Scottish accent and expressive narration.
Death of a Charming Man at Amazon
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Published by Grand Central Publishing, 1995
Source: Borrowed (see review policy)