by M.C. Beaton
The Death of a Dustman
Mysterious Press, March, 2001.
Hardcover, 224 pages.
In the United States we refer to them as sanitation engineers or, perhaps, garbage collectors. But in Scotland they are still referred to as dustmen. And in the tiny Scottish town of Lochdubh, the dustman is one Fergus Macleod, a wife-beating drunk whose defining characteristic is his profound laziness. But when councilwoman Freda Fleming arrives in the village, things begin to change. Freda is determined to "green" the village, and sets up an elaborate trash sorting and recycling system with Fergus as its dictatorial director. Soon, Fergus is issuing fines left and right. Certainly there's no great air of sadness in the village when Fergus is found murdered and dumped in one of the new trash bins. But Sergeant Hamish Macbeth must find a killer in a village that is simply chock-full of suspects who would have been only too happy to see the loathsome dustman murdered.
Hamish Macbeth's 17th outing is filled with all the things that M.C. Beaton's fans expect: gentle humor, a nice little puzzle, and a villageful of delightful and eccentric characters. Hamish's new assistant, Cleary, the cop who would much rather be a cordon bleu chef, is a great addition, and Hamish himself is as lovable as ever. This is a delightful cozy that fans of Agatha Christie will adore.
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This review was published in the May, 2001 of The Internet Writing Journal.
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