Hamish Macbeth has been promoted to sergeant and is none too happy about it. This places him one step closer to being transferred to Strathbane and it means he will be getting a new constable coming to work with him. Hamish would be content staying in the quaint town of Lochdubh working small cases on his own and living his bachelor life with his cat & dog. His quiet life is about to change and it starts with the arrival of Josie McSween.
Josie has a plan for her life. First she will win the heart of Hamish, then they will get married, she will move in and quit her job as a constable, they will have children and live happily ever after. But when she arrives she finds Hamish to be cold towards her expecting her to do her job with little to no interaction with him. But Josie will see her dreams come true and begins to hatch plan after plan to get Hamish to not only look her way but marry her.
But soon the peaceful city of Lochdubh will be rocked when the beautiful Lammas queen Annie Fleming is brutally killed. Hamish will have the eyes of the press on him, pressure from Strathbane, an incompetent Josie, and very few tangible clues that will only hold him back. As he digs deeper into the life of the shy, beautiful, and pure Annie, he discovers that she may not be what she allowed people to believe and that there is more than one out there who would want her dead.
The story jumps between following Josie and Hamish giving you an idea of what is going on in each of their heads. Josie provides some comedic relief with her obsession with Hamish and I found her delusions to only add to the tale, though it is a thin line her character toes and could push some readers away with her plots and schemes. Hamish is charming, quiet, focused on his job, and stubborn in his way of living. You can see where he is coming from and even if you don’t agree with how he handles every situation the character is likeable. I have never read a Hamish Macbeth book before and believe me there are a ton of them out there. If you are like me and have not yet been introduced to Hamish it is fine you can jump right into this book and not be lost. The character development is subtle; but it is still continued on. Any references to past events or characters give you enough information so you will not be lost; but doesn’t go into such great detail to drag the story down for those that have been reading from the beginning.
The murder is interesting from the execution of it to the whys behind it. As they dig into Annie’s past you are giving a picture of a double life going on and wonder how it lasted so long. The case hits snags as lies are told and half truths are giving. There is a long list of potential suspects and it almost seems hopeless. There are phases where clues come pouring in and then it jerks to a halt as things don’t pan out. It gives a realistic feel to the crime as not everything is handed to them on a silver platter.
I cannot speak on behalf of fans of Hamish as I have not read any of the other books, so I have no idea if Hamish is changed in any way through “Death Of A Valentine”. But what I can say is the character that I was given, the interesting case involved, how easy it was to read through the book, and how hard it was to put it down I will be checking out other Hamish Macbeth books.