Death of a Kingfisher: A Hamish Macbeth Mystery
M. C. Beaton
Grand Central Publishing
Hachette Book Group
February 22, 2012
When you are a police constable in the Highland in Scotland, the community expects you to be at their beckoned call and expect you to be knowledgeable of all crimes, no matter how minor. This does include investigations including fairies, whether real or not, and all superstitions. This is the problem of Hamish Macbeth in Death of a Kingfisher.
In Braikie, Scotland, this small village has discovered that they can draw people to their community by turning the local forested area, Buchan’s Woods, into a tourist attraction. This area is a habitat for a family of kingfishers and the fairies. Noticing the success of this attraction, the area is renamed “The Fairy Glen” and the tourism greatly benefits the town.
Everything changes when a kingfisher is found murdered and strung up in a tree. With further investigation, this family of birds has also been poisoned. Why would anyone kill a bird and its family?
While investigating this death of a bird family, Hamish becomes entwined with the married director of the woods who seems to be able to bewitch him with her physical beauty and her blue eyes. Is this affecting his investigation and not allowing him to suspect her as a possible suspect?
When a wealthy widow is murdered, literally rocketed through a window, Hamish is overwhelmed with possible suspects and lies. Who is the murderer? Why are more people dying whenever they seem to make an appointment to speak with Hamish?
Death of a Kingfisher has a slow beginning. The characters were not likeable and appeared detached and arrogant. The pacing changed after the first third of the novel and the story was more intense, intriguing, and logical.
When any author writes numerous books in a series, some are going to be better than others. Supposedly, this is the twenty-seventh book in the Hamish series. This particular novel lacked the affection and humor found in many of the previous books. (No, I have not read all twenty-seven.)
M.C. Beaton has won numerous awards for her Hamish Macbeth and Agatha Raisin mystery series. She has also written over one hundred romance novels and a series of romantic suspense, The Edwardian Mystery Series.
Death of a Kingfisher is wonderful if you are patient through the first third of this novel. The second part is well worth the price of the novel and is an intricate and well-woven tale.