From the author of the Agatha Raisin television series...DEATH OF A TRAVELING MAN: A Hamish Macbeth MysteryLochdubh constable Hamish Macbeth's life is going to pot. He has-horrors!-been promoted, his new boss is a dunce, and a self-proclaimed traveler named Sean and his girlfriend have parked their rusty eyesore of a van in the middle of the village. Hamish smells trouble, and he's right as usual. The doctor's drugs go missing. Money vanishes. Neighbors suddenly become unneighborly. The tension only explodes after the itinerant Sean is found brutally beaten to death. Suspicion quickly falls on his girlfriend, but with nobody willing to talk, the canny Hamish faces the tough task of worming the facts out of the villagers. As he uncovers a bizarre story around the murdered traveler, Macbeth knows he must find the truth soon, before the killer gets away for good.
In this excellent, eighth Hamish Macbeth mystery, the slightly lethargic, tousle-haired village copper in the Scottish Highlands has been promoted against his will. As Sergeant, he makes more money, but must suffer more work as well, not to mention the enthusiasm of his new helper, Police Constable Willie Lamont. Hamish rescues a young boy from the river and saves some stranded mountain climbers; he listens to a minister confess wavering faith, is plagued by a superior who resents his promotion and has repeated run-ins with a drifter who parks his van behind the minister's manse. The ``devastatingly handsome'' drifter charms four women out of their money and harasses Hamish's ladylove, Priscilla. When the bounder's body is found after a fatal bludgeoning, Hamish seeks out the young man's rock-singer girlfriend and unhappily discovers a blackmailing scheme that incriminates some locals. Beaton ( Death of a Glutton ) pens a cast of winning characters, even the pesky, malaprop Willie (whose aunt lives ``in a condom in San Francisco''). But the star, as always, is the slow-moving, quick-witted Hamish.