From Publishers Weekly
That the prolific Beaton seems to be writing for television in her 16th Hamish Macbeth mystery (after Death of an Addict) may be no surprise, given that the same U.K. company that brought Inspector Morse to the small screen has filmed some novels in this series. After all, what's superficial or formulaic on the page can look just fine on TV. When, in an effort to gain publicity for the local community and herself, bullying Strathbane Council member Freda Fleming gets drunken Lochdubh dustman Fergus Macleod promoted to "environmental officer," Fergus can't believe his luck. Alas, he doesn't have much time to strut his new military-style uniform ("He looked for all the world like the wizened dictator of some totalitarian regime"), because someone bashes the back of his head in and dumps his body in a rubbish bin. Enter policeman Hamish Macbeth, who soon discovers that Fergus had a second career as a blackmailer. As he pursues various suspects and red herrings, Hamish flirts with an old girlfriend, muses on the horrors of wife-beating, and generally carries on in a way that presumes readers are old friends who'll forgive him his every indulgence. A wildly improbable feat of Scottish hammer-throwing brings down the villain, while a second murder that's not what it seems provides some last-minute suspense. If the U.K. television series ever comes to the U.S., that would give sales a big boost. Mystery Guild Featured Alternate. (Mar. 6) as well as her Agatha Raisin series.
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From School Library Journal
Adult/High School-When Mrs. Freda Fleming, tyrannical member of the Strathbane Council, appoints the dustman (trash collector) of Lochdubh to be the "environmental officer," Fergus Macleod becomes a bigger bully than he was before. He also specializes in blackmail as he uses the bits of information he finds in the rubbish against the local residents. No one is surprised when his body turns up in a recycling bin. That's when policeman Hamish Macbeth steps in to investigate, but he has a difficult time trying to get the locals to talk. And then, another murder complicates the entire process. Beaton once again entertains fans of the series with delightful escapades of the Scottish populace and a good mystery. She uses Hamish not only as the main character, but also as a foundation for learning about the culture, activities, and other people in the village. Clarry Graham, Macbeth's constable who specializes in cooking, lends additional humor to the story line. Another entertaining offering from this successful author.
Pam Johnson, Fairfax County Public Library, VA
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
An ambitious new member of the Strathbane Council with strong environmentalist convictions hopes to gain national attention by starting a recycling center in the village of Lochdubh. The local garbage collector, already prone to violence, subsequently becomes a petty tyrantDuntil someone conveniently kills him. Series "hero" Hamish Macbeth investigates in his 17th mystery. A clever plot wrought with wry humor. [A Mystery Guild featured alternate.]
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Beaton's mysteries, centering on a tiny village in the Scottish Highlands, combine James Herriot's feel for landscape with Simon Brett's comic audacity. In this, the seventeenth Hamish Macbeth mystery (named after Beaton's somewhat lazy, good-natured village cop), two paths intersect: that of Fergus MacLeod, the village garbage collector ("dustman" in Scots) and Freda Fleming, a wealthy and ambitious widow who seeks the national spotlight by launching a local environmental campaign. Her vehicle is the dustman, who has long taken his vengeance on people who slight him or don't recycle, and who turns up dead in a wheelie-bin shortly after his appointment as environmental officer. Sergeant Macbeth finds that the dustman ran a profitable blackmailing sideline, based on secrets he dug out of the trash, making for a dizzying array of suspects. Beaton's deft hand with description ("And so he drove on, one sour little cell of blackness hurtling through the glory of the summer Highlands") and her wryly sketched side characters, like Hamish's latest assistant, Clarry, who cooks better than he patrols, along with village secrets laid bare, make this a delightful entry in an altogether captivating series. Connie FletcherCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
Présentation de l'éditeur
When Fergus Macleod, Lochdubh’s abusive, drunk dustman is put in charge of the local recycling centre and is dubbed the ‘Environment Officer’, Hamish Macbeth smells trouble. Sure enough, Fergus, imbued with his new powers, becomes a bullying tyrant and when his body is found stuffed in a recycling bin, no one is sorry – including his long-suffering family. But Macbeth is surprised to find that many of the despicable dustman’s victims refuse to talk – and when violence strikes again, the lanky lawman must quickly unearth the culprit among a litter of suspects… before the killer makes a clean getaway!
Marilyn Stasio, The New York Times Review
"An enchanting series....M.C. Beaton has a foolproof plot for the village mystery."
The garbage collectors in Britain are still called dustmen, and Lochdubh's dustman is an abusive drunk named Fergus Macleod. When Fergus is put in charge of a recycling center and dubbed the "environment officer," Constable Hamish Macbeth smells trouble piling up. Sure enough, Fergus becomes a bullying tyrant with his new power, issuing unwarranted fines and blackmailing residents. And when his body is found stuffed in a recycling bin, no one's sorry-including his long-suffering family. But the lawman's inquiries hit a wall when he finds that many wronged residents are strangely reluctant to spread the dirt on the nefarious dustman. And when violence strikes again, Hamish must quickly sift through the litter of lies and dark secrets...before a killer's grime overruns the town.