Death of a Maid

June 4, 2008 - Death of a Maid (M.C. Beaton). When a blackmailing cleaning woman gets bashed over the head with a bucket, hardly anyone is sorry to see her go. But, it's still a case of murder in the Scottish Highlands and police constable Hamish Macbeth still has to solve it.

Macbeth lives in the town of Lochdubh, but the murder of Mrs. Gillespie happens in nearby Braikie, which is also on his beat. Before Macbeth can find the killer, a young television producer is also murdered and a friend of the cleaning woman is literally scared to death. Macbeth gets some help in cracking the case from his ex-girlfriend, Elspeth, and from a female police inspector. Then, it gets weird.

I'm not sure what to make of this one. I read it fairly quickly, probably because a lot of it seemed out of place, so I skimmed over it. The best example is the scene where one of the local fishermen is in danger of losing his boat due to government regulations. Next thing you know, Macbeth has himself thrown in jail and the prime minister gets involved! Bizarre.

Then, after the main mystery is solved in maybe a week, there are a couple more chapters and an epilogue that skip from season to season like a stone on a pond. This part of the book extends the main plot but serves mostly to further complicate Macbeth's love life. (The book also includes the first chapter of the forthcoming book, so we know that said love life is not going to get less complicated for a while.)

Overall, the book left me feeling flat and feeling that it had gone on too long. It held my interest while I was reading it but, now that I have done, I can't remember why.