Series: Hamish Macbeth
Published by Mysterious Press on March 6, 2001 (first publshed 1999)
Genres: Mystery, Christmas
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Hamish's toughest case to date - to bring some festive cheer to a town long dampened by the spirit of Scrooge. In dark, wintry Lochdubh, Christmas Cheer is about as welcome as a flat tyre on a deserted road. The Calvinist element in town has always resisted what they view as secular frivolity, so for most of the townsfolk there'll be no carols, feasting, gifts - or even whisky on Christmas Day!
And for PC Hamish Macbeth there's no holiday from crime - he finds himself hunting for a missing cat belonging to a lonely spinster. Curt and unfriendly, the woman is convinced her pet has been stolen but once behind her heavily-bolted door, Hamish can spot her true problem - she lives in fear, though of who or what he cannot guess.
Then someone steals a Christmas tree and lights from the nearby village of Cnothan. So it is up to Hamish to sort all these problems out - and he had better do it quickly, for the church bells will soon peal on the eve of Christmas.
This is the first Hamish Macbeth story I’ve read and I realize it’s not typical of the series – no murder for example, but I really liked Hamish. He seems like a truly good guy who actually cares about the people of his town. The towns are filled with quirky odd characters, most of whom are amusing. I also love how the locals treat Hamish. Even though he’s the police, he’s on their side. I don’t quite understand the conflict with his boss, but i’m sure it’s made clear in another of the installements.
This particular one is a feel-good light Christmas mystery. The mysteries involve a missing cat and some lights that have been stolen from another village. It’s short and I don’t want to give much away, but it left me with a smile and wanting to visit Lochdubh again.