Hamish is the local policeman in the isolated Scottish village of Lochdubh. (Which seems to have had more than it's fair share of dead bodies popping up over the years!)
Chimney sweeps are still employed in this rural village, but someone did a job on the latest homeowner to employ Pete Ray. Captain Davenport is found quite dead, stuffed in his chimney. Hamish can't believe that local Pete Ray is capable of such a crime. And he's proven right when Pete's body is the next one found. So who is doing the killing - and why?
The crimes, although interesting, aren't the draw for me in this series. It is the recurring characters. The town of Lochdubh is populated with more than a few eccentric characters. This quirkiness that draws me back time and time again. But Hamish is the best character of all. He has no desire to be promoted and leave his beloved pets (Sonsie - a feral cat and Lugs the dog) and his tiny live-in police station. In fact he does his best to make sure it doesn't happen, having let others take the credit for cases he has solved in the past. He has no respect for authority and his ongoing battle with nemesis Chief Inspector Blair is a source of constant conflict for Blair but a source of amusement for readers. Hamish's willingness to work outside the law a wee bit to take care of his villagers doesn't endear him to the powers that be. Women are drawn to the tall, lanky red haired bobby, but he always seems to mess up his romantic involvements.
I have chosen to listen to the last few books in audio format. The reader, Graeme Malcolm, has a wonderfully expressive voice and a good thick brogue. He has solidified the image of Hamish for me.
Hamish Macbeth also ran as a BBC television series in 1995-1997 starring Robert Carlyle. Read an excerpt of Death of a Chimney Sweep. (Fun fact - M.C. Beaton is only one of the pseudonyms of prolific author Marion Chesney)
I don't read a lot of 'cozy' mysteries, but I just adore this series! Want to see if you'll love it too? Thanks to the generosity of The Hachette Book Group, I have two hardcover copies of this latest title to giveaway. Open to US and Canada, no po boxes please. One winner per address. Simply comment to be entered. Ends Sat. April 9th at 6 pm EST. Good luck and check the sidebar for ongoing giveaways.