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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars P.G. Wodehouse Meets Sherlock Holmes, 1 Dec 2006
This review is from: Death of a Cad (Hamish Macbeth Mysteries) (Mass Market Paperback)
Death of a Cad is the second book in the Hamish Macbeth mystery series. M.C. Beaton has her tongue stuck firmly in her cheek as she creates a quasi-Wodehouse country-castle romp mixed up with a murder mystery. To make matters more fun, one of the leading characters, Henry Withering, is an acclaimed playwright based on his latest upper class drawing-room work.

Here's the set-up. Priscilla Hallburton-Smythe has taken up a job in London to be able to find eligible men. Henry Withering spots her and decides his publicity shots will look much better with her at his side. He quickly proposes and Priscilla accepts based on her desire to please Mommy and Daddy. On the way home to introduce him to family and friends, Priscilla begins to have her doubts about the wisdom of the match. Matters quickly degrade when an unpleasant dinner is followed the next morning by a death, an apparent accident. But Police Constable Hamish Macbeth, the pride of Lochdubh in the Scottish Highlands, is skeptical. Soon, his doubts turn into evidence of foul play. (And that's a pretty good pun for a hunting accident involving a grouse shoot -- even if the high and mighty have been complaining about the shortage of grouse . . . you could even say they've been grousing.)

There are three stories intertwined in the book:

1. The engagement
2. The murder mystery
3. Conflict between Hamish and his superiors

In typical country novel fashion, the engagement story is really the best. The humor is improved by being warm, broad and nonstop.

The intellectual content of the book is raised by the subtle ways that Macbeth tracks down the murderer while fending off his superiors.

The least interesting part of the book is the actual murder mystery.

But don't mind that, you'll have a lot of fun with this one.

If you like to listen to audio books, I suggest you also enjoy Davina Porter's deft reading of the tale. Ms. Porter's sense of timing is perfect . . . even if her accents struggle from time to time.
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