Death of the Perfect Wife review


Goodreads: Hamish Macbeth, the laid-back constable of Lochdubh, Scotland, has a new Land Rover to drive and a Highland summer to savor, but as fast as rain rolls in from the loch, his happy life goes to hell in a handbasket. The trouble begins when his beloved Priscilla Halburton-Smythe returns from London . . . with a fiancé on her arm. His miseries multiply when clouds of midges (the diabolical Scottish mosquito) descend on the town. Then a paragon of housewifery named Trixie Thomas moves into Lochdubh with her lapdog husband in tow. The newcomer quickly convinces the local ladies to embrace low-cholesterol meals, ban tobacco, and begin bird-watching. Soon the town’s fish-and-chips-loving men are up in arms. Now faced with the trials of his own soul, Macbeth must solve Lochdubh’s newest crime-the mysterious poisoning of the perfect wife.

OK yes, I read another Hamish Macbeth book.  Get over it.  :-)  This one’s description above says Priscilla had a fiancé on her arm but that isn’t correct – the man was merely someone she thought she was in love with, they were not engaged.

I have to say, I probably would have wanted this Trixie Thomas dead too if I had met someone like her in real life.  Talk about a meddler! Beaton does a wonderful job making Trixie seem like a halfway nice woman all the while she was really causing trouble in households all over Lochdubh.

Great writing coupled with well-rounded characters made this a great Hamish book.  I can’t put my finger on why it was a hair less satisfying than the other Hamish stories – maybe because it was shorter still – only like 110 pages.  I don’t know but I felt like something was missing from it.  Maybe I’ve read too many lately – need a longer break between them.

Still, it was a fun read and I can barely wait to start the next one.  I give it an A and recommend it.  I’ve tried to get my younger sister to read them but she doesn’t think they will hold her interest – how silly.

Presumed Dead review


Goodreads: Dylan Scott has problems. Dismissed in disgrace from the police force for assaulting a suspect, he has no job, his wife has thrown him out and-worse luck-his mother has moved in. So when Holly Champion begs him to investigate the disappearance of her mother thirteen years ago, he can’t say no, even though it means taking up residence in the dreary Lancashire town of Dawson’s Clough for the duration.

Although the local police still believe Anita Champion took off for a better life, Dylan’s inquiries turn up plenty of potential suspects: the drug-dealing, muscle-bound bouncer at the club where Anita was last seen; the missing woman’s four girlfriends, out for revenge; the local landowner with rumored mob connections-the list goes on. But no one is telling Dylan all they know-and he soon finds that one sleepy Northern town can keep a lot of secrets.

Well, another decent read from Shirley Wells.  This is the first Dylan Scott mystery – I had read #4 a week or so ago and decided to go back to the beginning.  In it we find Dylan battling with his pride, self-worth and humiliation over being thrown out of not only the police station but also the marital home.

Let me just interject a bit of reality here – I worked with law enforcement officers for eight years and none of them have the issues that the lawmen in Hollywood films and books seem to have.  They aren’t drunks, womanizers, brutal or power hungry.  So yes, it does wear a bit on me in crime dramas that the cop usually has some personal demon or is always in trouble with the law in some form or other.

But anyway, it is what it is.  I have to say, the writing is good and I will read more of the Dylan Scott series.  Once again, I knew who the killer was early on but the motive escaped me until the last possible moment.

The story is sad – a woman who goes missing right as life is picking up for her.  It moves along at a bit of a slow pace but it would have to as it was a cold case – can’t move quickly along after thirteen years.  This is Dylan’s first case as a private investigator so he makes a few missteps along the way as well.

Interesting book.  Perfect for the beach or a quiet evening at home.  I give it an A.

Death of an Outsider


Goodreads: Dreary Cnothan’s most hated man is dumped into a tank filled with lobsters then eaten in Britain’s best restaurants. Exiled there with his dog Towser, Hamish Macbeth misses his beloved Highland village Lochdubh, Priscilla, and easy lazy days. His superiors want the business hushed up, a dark-haired lass wants his body, and a killer is out for more blood.

Yes, another Hamish Macbeth story.  I needed to do something after that last disappointing story.  Hamish does not disappoint as he goes off to a new city to relieve the police sergeant there who is going off on three month’s vacation.

Hamish isn’t thrilled with the new digs – like most men, he despise change and the people of Cnothan aren’t the friendliest group.  However, when the murder gets going, the town is thrilled to have his services because Blair once again proves to be a bit priggish.

Liked the story and thought it trotted along at a good pace.  Had a feeling who the killer was but it wasn’t confirmed until the very end.  Hamish is thrilled to death when his three months are up and he can go back home to his beloved Lochdubh.

This will be the last of Hamish I read for a week or two – I don’t want to tire of him when there are still so many books left in the series.  Fun and a quick read, I give the book a b+ because it isn’t quite as long as the others and I missed the 30+ pages.  :-)

The Forgotten Room review


Jeremy Logan is an “enigmalogist”—an investigator who specializes in analyzing phenomena that have no obvious explanation. In this newest novel Logan finds himself on the storied coastline of Newport, Rhode Island, where he has been retained by Lux, one of the oldest and most respected think tanks in America. Just days earlier, a series of frightening events took place in the sprawling seaside mansion that houses the organization. One of its most distinguished doctors began acting erratically—violently attacking an assistant in the mansion’s opulent library and, moments later, killing himself in a truly shocking fashion. Terrified by the incident and the bizarre evidence left behind, the group hires Logan to investigate—discreetly—what drove this erudite man to madness.

His work leads him to an unexpected find. In a long-dormant wing of the estate, Logan uncovers an ingeniously hidden secret room, concealed and apparently untouched for decades. The room is a time capsule, filled with eerie and obscure scientific equipment that points to a top secret project long thought destroyed, known only as “Project S.” Ultimately, the truth of what Project S was . . . and what has happened in that room . . . will put Logan in the path of a completely unexpected danger.

It has become my belief that when a description of the book is as long as the above – it is probably not one I should expect a lot out of.  When they use words like “shocking”, “terrified”, “bizarre” and “madness” – it is going to be a long, drawn out affair.

I had high hopes for this book which I preordered back in December.  Terminal Freeze by Lincoln Child is one of my favorite monster stories and I had hoped for something amazing here.  I was disappointed.

The writing is good but the subject matter wasn’t all that interesting to me.  I found myself asking “who cares” more often than not.  If this kind of thing – electromagnetic stuff – is interesting to you than this is a book you will enjoy.  The author used some of this kind of thing in Terminal Freeze too so maybe it is a subject he enjoys.

It is not a bad book – I wish it had been more supernatural in plot but it is what it is.  Had I known more about it, I probably would have borrowed it from the library instead of buying it.  Guess it is just another one of those live and learn things.

Anyway, I give the book a C.

Death of a Cad review


Goodreads: Murder Most Fowl When Priscilla Halburton-Smythe brings her London playwright fiance home to Lochdubh, everybody in town is delighted…except for love-smitten Constable Hamish Macbeth. Yet his affairs of the heart will have to wait. Vile, boorish Captain Bartlett, one of the guests at Priscilla’s engagement party, has just been found murdered-shot while on a grouse hunt. Now with many titled party guests as the prime suspects, each with a reason for snuffing out the despicable captain, Hamish must smooth ruffled feathers as he investigates the case. When the hidden culprit strikes again, Hamish will find himself trying to save Priscilla from a miserable marriage-and catch a killer before he flies the coop.

Ah, another Hamish Macbeth story – and even better than the last! This one isn’t written from one person’s point of view which I liked better than the last.  Hamish is quite captivating as he works to find the murderer, make some extra money and save the love of his life from a ghastly prig who she is marrying strictly out of loyalty to her parents.

It wasn’t hard to pick out who the killer must be but I must admit the motive never entered my mind.  Once I read it, I was like “duh” but while I had picked up on the many hints about it, I hadn’t understood where they were leading.

Must say, the description of the Scottish landscape and moors make it sound like a hauntingly beautiful place but not enough that I would actually visit there given the chance.  Love the references to “Americans” as if we were strange creatures from another world – but in Hamish’s surroundings, I imagine we would be.

Another great work of fiction.  I appreciate how compact the author keeps the story rather than going off in flowery or dreary descriptions the way many American authors do.  At a hundred forty-five pages, it is perfect for those times when you have a couple hours to kill.  I look forward to the next story in the series.  I give the book an A.

Death of a Gossip review


Goodreads: Scottish highland village cop Hamish Macbeth must find which target was provoked enough to strangle and drown nasty fat widowed tabloid reporter Jane Winters, who revealed many others’ guilty secrets. Much is from the viewpoint of a naive secretary seduced by a blue-blood playboy. Icy blond beauty, aristocratic Priscilla Halburton-Smythe, lends a hand. 

This is my first M.C. Beaton book. There are over 30 books in this series starring Hamish Macbeth, I happened to be given the first five by a friend of mine.  Today at work I was going through my nook looking for something to pique my interest when this gem jumped out of the 1000+ books I have.

Enjoyed the plot and the easy-going whodunit style – quite a nice little afternoon read.  Hamish was a bit sluggish at first but his quirkiness made him seem more charming and affable as the story went on.

Yes, I picked out the killer pretty quickly but I find it easy to do given most of the mystery/crime genre have the same thread through them.  But the writing is well done, the characters developed as the plot thickened and I found myself enjoying the book through to the end.

I do plan on reading more of the series – maybe I will start the second one tomorrow.  I am curious as to how Hamish develops from one story to the next – the town he lives in seems rather quiet for 30 murders.  :-)  I give the story a B+.

Dead Calm review


Goodreads: Detective Dylan Scott thinks cruising well above the Arctic Circle in November is nothing short of madness. He has zero interest in seeing the elusive aurora borealis, but agrees to the Norwegian holiday to keep his wife and mother happy. At least the biggest problem he’ll have to deal with is boredom. But that boredom quickly dissipates when the unpleasant elderly woman in the neighboring cabin is found dead.

Everyone thinks Hanna Larsen had a heart attack. Everyone except Dylan. Dylan is convinced there’s a killer aboard the Midnight Sun–a killer who may strike again…

This was my first Shirley Wells book even though it is the fourth in the series. Her opening was provocative which made me want to dive right in.  I have to admit, I kind of had it figured out before the ending because I thought the one person was too obvious but why not the other?

Descriptions of the various ports-of-call the cruise made and the Norwegian coastline had enough detail that I could picture it but not so much that I got bored.  Dylan Scott seemed like a typical man to me – skipping out when there is dancing and socializing to be done and rather single-minded in his pursuit for answers.  I liked the passenger Ruby – love spirited older women.

I started it at work and found myself returning to it every chance I could get until I finished it five minutes before I got off work.  It is a quick read – Goodreads says only 35,000 words – my edition is 270 pages so I would expect it to be longer but whatever.

Have to say I was impressed by this easy, engaging read which means I shall be reading more in the series in the future.  I give the book an A.  Give it a glance if you get the chance.