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Death of a Valentine (Hamish Macbeth Mysteries) Hardcover – January 12, 2010

Book 25 of 31 in the Hamish Macbeth Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In bestseller Beaton's enjoyable 25th Hamish Macbeth mystery (after 2008's Death of a Witch), a Valentine's Day parcel explodes in the face of the Scottish Highlands' Lammas festival queen, Annie Fleming, as soon as she tries to open it, killing her instantly. Hamish Macbeth, newly promoted to sergeant, would rather investigate with only his trusty pets in tow, but is instead forced to tote along his new constable, the less than professional Josie McSween. Considered prim and proper and a right innocent, Annie turns out to have been leading a less than virtuous double life, with no shortage of suspects in her murder. A much sought after bachelor, Hamish desperately tries to break the case, while Josie, with dreams in her eyes, strives to crack Hamish's heart. Will Josie succeed in getting Hamish to say I do at the altar? For all the book's farcical moments, Beaton takes care as usual to provide a satisfying police procedural. (Jan.)
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From Booklist

Beaton’s cozies set in the fictional Highland village of Lochdubh and starring the crusty village constable Hamish Macbeth are sometimes so predictable in their “stranger comes to the village and gets murdered” or “irascible villager gets murdered” plotlines that the cozy quickly becomes a drowsy. It seems that Beaton bestirred herself for this, the twenty-fifth in the series. It combines her gift for scenic description with an inventive, constantly surprising plot. Two women are at the center of the action: one is a constable from Strathbane, assigned to work for Macbeth, who lives in perpetual fear of being transferred to the urban blight of Strathbane. The other woman is the town beauty, queen of the Lammas Fest, who dies after opening a letter-bomb Valentine. This beauty queen is, we learn, what Scotland Yard terms a “murderee,” someone whose life invites violence. Both Beaton fans and newcomers to cozies will find her latest explosive and engaging. --Connie Fletcher
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Product Details

  • Series: Hamish Macbeth Mysteries
  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing; First Edition edition (January 12, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0446547387
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446547383
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (71 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,444,951 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

M.C. BEATON has won international acclaim for her bestselling Hamish Macbeth and Agatha Raisin mysteries. She is also the author of over 100 romance titles and a series of romantic suspense, The Edwardian Mystery Series. M. C. Beaton lives in a Cotswold cottage with her husband.

Marion is active on Facebook using her most popular pen name, M.C. Beaton. You can find complete book lists, information on events, and sign up for news updates at her website, www.MCBeaton.com.

Customer Reviews

I figured out very early on who did it and the plot is silly.
dgstone
The characters in this story are strong, believable and interesting.
Ann Allyn Slessman
When you just want to read to read this is the book you pick up.
Gwenn Wright

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 31 people found the following review helpful By JACK on May 17, 2010
Format: Hardcover
In "Death of a Valentine" author M.C. Beaton puts newly-promoted (again!) Sergeant Hamish Macbeth and his village of Lochdubh through their paces. The Curry sisters continue to speak in chorus. Angela struggles with writing a new book. The women in Hamish's love life (ha!) Priscilla and Elspeth, are called into cameo roles.

The "mystery" to me is why such a contrived piece of fiction as "Death of a Valentine" was ever published. Beaton continues her forays into the more complexities of psychosis and violent types of homicide. These genres are not suited to Beaton's flat, two-dimensional writing style. Coincidences abound. Guns are liberally sprinkled along with bodies dotting the Scottish Highlands.

The editing is also slipshod. In one passage, character names are interchanged and this literary faux pas goes on for several pages.

Beaton made a name for herself in the "cozy" mystery genre -- no graphic violence, no profanity, and no explicit sex. Most often, the crime takes place "off stage."

The genuine mystery is why Beaton is trying to abandon a genre that has served her well for many years to become a poor woman's Ruth Rendell.
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19 of 23 people found the following review helpful By dgstone on July 27, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I enjoyed the earlier Hamish books, but I think Beaton has run out of steam with this series. This latest entry is so ham-handed as to be almost a parody. I figured out very early on who did it and the plot is silly. The charm has worn thin--all the regular characters have remained static, so no surprises are in store for the reader; you know exactly how each will behave. The new characters have zero nuance; they're either bad people or featureless filler. Also, the copy I read had so many errors that it was distracting (floor when it should have said door, etc.) Beaton's Agatha Raisin series has followed a similar trajectory. She should either create a new detective or find a new line of work.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Irish Lace VINE VOICE on May 28, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I am struggling with reviewing this latest chapter in the Hamish MacBeth series. I have gotten SO much pleasure out of reading these books, and I will continue reading them, I suspect, for as long as Beaton will continue writing them. But... the formula seems tired. I wish Hamish would grow up a bit. He's absolutely charming and very smart and brave. But when it comes to women...well, I won't give any spoilers, but Hamish fans won't need them. They will already know.

Anyway, I love Beaton's cast of quirky characters and the village of Lochdubh and Hamish's odd animals. And I enjoy knowing that really awful things will happen but, in the end, Hamish will fix everything and it will all happen in a story both chilling and charming.

So, while this isn't the best of the MacBeth series, I enjoyed it and, if you like Hamish and his friends, you will too.
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16 of 20 people found the following review helpful By B. Davis on January 12, 2010
Format: Hardcover
MC Beaton has done it again. Just as always we find a tale of mystery, humor, and intrigue. In this latest cozy mystery, Death of a Valentine, Hamish Macbeth is not only honing his detective skills, but is also considering marriage. How will he solve the crime? Will he finally tie the knot? I'm not about to be a "spoiler" here, so I will say this is as good a read as Beaton has written to date. Highly recommended.
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17 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Gaby at Starting Fresh blog VINE VOICE on January 15, 2010
Format: Hardcover
In Death of a Valentine, the 25th Hamish Macbeth mystery, M.C. Beaton gives us a detective cozy with a romantic comedic subplot set in Lochdubh, a picturesque Scottish village. The tone, pace, and setting take you to a fictional village where everyone knows each other and each other's business quite well. Even if you're new to M.C. Beaton's Hamish Macbeth series as I am, you'll easily figure out Lochdubh's characters, from Angela Brody, the doctor's wife and good friend of Hamish Macbeth, to crotchety Mrs. Wellington, who rents out rooms to the new constable Josie McSween, to Sir Andrew Etherington who lends out the diamond tiara for the annual fair day parade.

Hamish Macbeth, our lead character and a perpetual bachelor, is clearly set in his ways. Hamish wants to keep his pets, his police station/home, his village and his personal life just the way it is. But the sudden murder of a young beauty queen, Annie Fleming, disrupts Hamish's routine. The murder draws Hamish and Josie into a complex investigation, full of twists and turns, and unexpected discoveries. Things are never as they seem, even in this small Scottish village.

A mystery cozy of the best sort, M.C. Beaton's Death of a Valentine, is a fun, entertaining read. If you're looking for a mystery of the Agatha Christie sort with the quirks of Scotland, I recommend Death of a Valentine!

ISBN-10: 0446547387
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing (January 12, 2010), 256 pages.
Review copy provided by the publisher.
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11 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Elizabeth A. Dice on July 31, 2010
Format: Hardcover
I have read some of M.C. Beaton's romances under her real name of Marion Chesney. I thought they were passable, with a good sense of the Scottish setting. However, this "mystery" was so uninspiring and two-dimensional, I doubt I will read more of her work. Detective Hamish Macbeth may have been fleshed out earlier in the series, but here he just seemed like a cardboard cutout with a few quirks as shorthand for a personality. The female police officer who is hot for him tries to drug him in order to seduce him, but of course inadvertently ends up drugging other people. When she fails at her first attempt, she tries the same technique again, as if that makes it more amusing. He is supposed to be a detective, but he doesn't figure out what she's up to. If this were a film, it would be predictable slapstick. There are many mysteries out there that are not only much more interesting but much better written. Skip this one.
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