I only dimly remember the name Hamish Macbeth from TV listings in the 90s, and I came to this with no preconceptions. I was happy to find myself reading the equivalent of a perfect Sunday night TV murder mystery: cosy, comfortable, traditional, just right!
This is an affectionate, if somewhat tongue-in-cheek homage to Agatha: the closed shop of suspects, all colourful characters, and all with secrets they're desperate to keep secret.
It's the sort of yarn in which, when someone says 'I'll kill her!' it later makes them a suspect. You get the idea.
But Agatha was more sinister, and Ruth Dudley Edwards is funnier. Iain Pears is cleverer.
I probably will read more of Hamish Macbeth, but I'll need to wait until I'm in a very particular sort of mood.