This is a great mystery novel. The characters are hilarious and over-the-top; Hamish: a cantankerous sergeant who just wants to be left alone at his little police station, Josie: a romantic and obsessive constable who has a very active imagination and a bit of a problem with drinking, and a great cast of supporting characters including the sergeant’s many past lovers, and suspects galore. When a teenage girl is murdered by a letter bomb, the whole town seems to either have a motive, or an opinion, and they have no qualms about making their opinions known.
It is interesting to learn more about both the victim and the investigators as the investigation goes on. There are conspiracies, cover-ups, and schemes at every level of the investigation. Even the police force is not free from conspiracy in this small town of Lochdubh.
I was a little surprised by Josie’s character; some of the things she does are unbelievable, but it is all in good fun. Beaton writes: “The more she landed in disgrace with Hamish, the more Josie’s obsession with him grew. As he was making his way back to Lochdubh, Josie sat in her room at the manse in front of the peat fire and dreamt of becoming his wife. In her mind, she remodeled the police station. There would need to be room for a nursery for the three children she planned to have.” Hamish’s character is hilarious. He is very diligent about taking care of his pets, and not as diligent about maintaining human relationships. He has a seemingly never ending supply of former girlfriends, and these women make it very entertaining to read about any new women that come into his life, because they all have an opinion to express to him and to other people in the town.
At one point Hamish saves an old lion from a zoo, and I laughed so hard I woke my family up. Beaton is a skilled writer, and she is very good at creating characters that are entertaining. You will truly enjoy this book, and laugh out loud at every page.
I highly recommend “Death of a Valentine” by M.C. Beaton to anyone who enjoys mystery, adventure and romance, or anyone who appreciates reading about a different country and the people that live there.