Author: M.C. Beaton
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Release Date: February 23, 2016
Death of a Nurse is the 32nd Hamish MacBeth mystery by M.C. Beaton. While the series is called by some a "cozy," Prose 'n Cons finds it a bit sexier and more uncompromising than many classic cozy series. For that reason, and many others, we find it particularly appealing.
Police Sergeant MacBeth has been described as the least ambitious police constable in literary history. It's true - but in a good way. MacBeth loves his little Scottish Highlands village of Lockdubh (pronounced lokh-DOO) and the quirky people who inhabit it. While he enjoys his romantic flings and is more than capable of enforcing the law, he would prefer a quiet day of fishing with his ever-present pets and oversized, clumsy, fellow officer Charlie Carter. His peace is forever interrupted, however, by murders in numbers that would worry hardened city dwellers, let alone residents of a map-dot on Scotland's coast.
In Death of a Nurse MacBeth investigates the murder of beautiful Gloria Dainty, hired to care for a wealthy old codger who doesn't appreciate the sergeant's "welcome to the neighborhood" visit. When the lovely Nurse Dainty agrees to meet MacBeth for dinner he is charmed. When she doesn't show, he is disappointed but not overly concerned - that is, until her body washes up on a nearby beach. Not only must MacBeth find her killer, he must fend off the hostilities of his nemesis, DCI Blair, who makes it no secret that he'd like to shut down the Lockdubh police station.
Glasgow native Beaton (real name Marion Chesney) continues to please, even after three decades of writing. She actually authors several series, which is likely why she's become a master at plotting a mystery. In the case of the Hamish MacBeth novels, she both draws you inside the investigation and provides a wonderful sense of Highlands life. The dialogue incorporates native spellings and expressions, and is a delight to read.
Death of a Nurse is a treat that you can finish in one long sitting, if you prefer. Prose 'n Cons chose to enjoy it in a few wee bites. Like Hamish MacBeth himself, we weren't eager to come to the end of something so enjoyable.
Prose 'n Cons recommends Death of a Nurse to anyone who enjoys mysteries that run toward cozy, but maintain a hint of grittier stuff.