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Death of a Nurse: A Hamish Macbeth Mystery    by M. C. Beaton order for
Death of a Nurse
by M. C. Beaton
Order:  USA  Can
Grand Central, 2016 (2016)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

M. C. Beaton's delightfully unambitious Police Sergeant Hamish Macbeth is back for his 31st (!!) outing - following Death of a Liar - investigating the Death of a Nurse in the Scottish Highlands.

Hamish likes life in the remote village of Lochdobh and plans to stay there, so works very hard to avoid promotion to a job in Strathbane. Fortunately he's much smarter than his boss and nemesis, slimy Chief Inspector Blair ('a legend in his own lunchtime'). Hamish also tends to apply his own interpretation of the law whenever he can get away with it. He enjoys his quiet lifestyle with his pets - wildcat Sonsie and canine Lugs. But he has to keep Sonsie a secret as wildcats are an endangered species, frowned upon as pets.

At this stage in the series, Hamish has as sidekick/assistant the kind, amiable, hardworking - and exceedingly clumsy - policeman Charlie Carter. Charlie's antics, and those of the individuals drawn into his charismatic orbit, add a great deal of humor to this episode. It opens on Hamish's first encounter with the soon to be deceased nurse, Gloria Dainty. He asks her out but that first date is not to be. Meanwhile, back at the station, the lovely Priscilla, when told by Charlie of his breakages, offers him a basement room at the castle, where he soon becomes the new best buddy of her irascible father.

Of course we know the nurse is to be murdered. Hamish soon learns that she has quite a reputation. As always, Blair undermines our local hero and claims credit for all his successes. But this time, Hamish has Police Inspector Fiona Herring in his corner ... most of the time. Another murder raises the ante, while ex-girlfriends complicate matters - Hamish wonders if there ever will be a lassie for him, though his eye continues to rove. But he does wrap up the case, while others claim the credit. Death of a Nurse is the usual captivating read that fans can expect from M. C. Beaton.

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