In the south of Scotland, residents get their chimneys vacuum-cleaned. But in the isolated villages in the very north of Scotland, the villagers rely on the services of the itinerant sweep, Pete Ray, and his old-fashioned brushes. Pete is always able to find work in the Scottish highlands, until one day when Police Constable Hamish Macbeth notices blood dripping onto the floor of a villager’s fireplace, and a dead body stuffed inside the chimney. The entire town of Lochdubh is certain Pete is the culprit, but Hamish doesn’t believe that the affable chimney sweep is capable of committing murder.
Most readers, if asked, will admit to having a certain genre or writer they read as a guilty pleasure and for me my guilty pleasure is reading M.C.Beaton’s Hamish Macbeth series. It was with immense delight that I agreed to review Death of a Chimney Sweep by M.C. Beaton, eager to read the latest release, to be transported back to the fictitious village of Lochdubh and its quirky inhabitants and Police Constable Hamish Macbeth. While this is the 27th book in the series, it can be read as a stand-alone book. Beaton deftly describes in vivid detail the landscape of the Scottish Highlands, her characters are well formed, unique and at times bordering on downright eccentric, creating such a charming and utterly endearing protagonist in PC Hamish Macbeth. Death of a Chimney Sweep is just that, Pete Ray is found dead on the moors and Hamish has on his hands not one, but two murders, first the person found dead in a chimney and then Pete, the man the villagers were certain was guilty of the first murder. Beaton writes a fast-paced mystery; it is with practised care that she easily draws the reader into the tale, masterfully crafting red herrings and dead ends along a twisting, winding path to the truth of the crime. As usual I found myself swept away to the Scottish Highlands and enjoyed solving the murders. Fans of M.C. Beaton will enjoy this book and those who have yet to read her works will quickly become enamored with Hamish and the village of Lochdubh. I would recommend Death of a Chimney Sweep to any reader who enjoys a well-written mystery novel.
M.C. Beaton lives in the Cotswolds with her husband. In addition to the Hamish Macbeth series, she writes the Agatha Raisin mystery series.
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I received a complimentary ARC of Death of a Chimney Sweep by M.C. Beaton from Hachette Book Groups to offer my honest review of the book. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of aforementioned book.