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.