Wednesday, November 25, 2015

A Highland Christmas by M.C. Beaton

Christmas is an ancient Roman festival, not to be celebrated by decent folk in the Scottish Highlands. Police Constable Hamish Macbeth has always loved the festivities, but this year his family is vacationing in sunny Florida. He is stuck with the long, lonely Christmas shift in freezing Lochdubh. A cranky old lady kicks off the holidays by reporting her cat missing. Then the Christmas lights and tree in a nearby village disappear soon after the local council voted to allow decorations. As Hamish finds a way to bring Christmas to the Highlands and make a little girl's dreams come true, he finds -- to his delight -- that he has the best Christmas ever.


Series: Hamish Macbeth Mystery #16 | Publisher: Hachette | Genre: Cozy Mystery | Source: Purchased | Rating: 4.5 Cups

So, I’ve had A Highland Christmas on my shelf for a while now and decided to crack it open during the Ho-Ho-Ho Read-a-thon.
Here’s what’s going on: As Lochdubh and the surrounding Highland villages are mostly made up of Calvinist, Christmas, much to Hamish’s disappointment, is off-limits as it’s still thought of as a pagan holiday. When Cnothan decides to put up a Christmas tree and fairy lights, the town’s in an uproar when they discover that they have been stolen, thus Hamish is sent out to investigate. Although he has his hands full when Mrs. Gallagher, a crabby old lady who lives alone, reports her cat has gone missing and Hamish takes it upon himself to get to the root of Mrs. Gallagher’s problems. As his investigation goes forth, Hamish finds himself—with the help of the new teacher—spreading a little Christmas cheer to a lonely little girl.
I’ve been a massive fan of M.C. Beaton’s Hamish Macbeth Mysteries for years and I have to say that this one was such a delight a lovely little edition to the series.
While the series is a cozy mystery series, this one is a lot lighter than the others. There’s no death, destruction, or mayhem just a missing cat, a crotchety old lady, a lonely little girl who was never allowed to celebrate Christmas, a nicked Christmas tree, and some stolen fairy lights. Oh, and a new schoolteacher that’s taken a shine to Hamish. And to make things a tad more interesting, Priscilla—Hamish’s on-again-off-again girlfriend who I would love to see take a long walk off a short pier—decides to reenter his life.
If you’re a fan of the Hamish Macbeth Mysteries, you will delight in visiting Lochdubh again. If you’re new to the series, you will get a lovely glimpse of a little Highland village filled with unique and memorable residents. One thing that I love about this series is that Beaton truly beings in the Scottish Highlands to life. The dialect, the scenery, and the characters are true gems of the Highlands.
So, this is book 16 in the series but, fear not, this book works brilliantly as a standalone. Although do be warned, if you’re expecting the Hamish Macbeth from the telly show, book-Hamish is a tad bit different but just as lovable.
Overall, this was heartwarming edition to this series and I’m so glad that I finally had a chance to read it. It’s a novella, so it a bit shorter than the others in the series, but it’s well-rounded and doesn’t leave you wanting more.
If you’re looking for a unique Christmas read, give this one a go.

Have you read a Hamish Macbeth Mystery?

Have you watched the BBC show?

Are you a fan of cozy mysteries?

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