Book Reviews, Literary News, and Thoughts on Life
That’s right, folks: all the fast-paced, brain-teasing appeal of an ordinary who-dunit, with less of the violence, foul language, and gratuitous sex!
First up, we have Evan Evans, the local Police Constable of the charming North Wales village of Llanfair. His canny mind and tenacity make him a natural at solving crime (much to the chagrin of his superiors), and his ‘aw shucks’, ne’er do wrong nature make him a hit with all the ladies, from the trollopy barmaid to the purer-than-the-driven-snow schoolteacher. These stories come with a complimentary backdrop of rival ministers, a letter reading postman, a tourist hating butcher, and a host of other quirky townsfolk. What more could you want?
And what cozy collection would be complete without the addition of one of the last local bobbies in all the Scottish Highlands, the quick-witted Constable Hamish Macbeth? He may appear to be lazy and lack ambition, but Hamish has a mind like a steel trap and a way with the Highlanders he’s called to look after, which assists him in solving every case that comes his way. One of these days Hamish’s overbearing boss will have to give him a promotion, if he weren’t so busy taking credit for Hamish’s work, that is. Never fear,though, this all fits perfectly into Hamish’s plan to continue shepherding the citizens of Lochdubh.
All these can be yours if the price is right . . . at your local bookstore (or you can simply visit the library)!
Title: Evans Above (218 pages -LP); Evan Help Us (214 pages)
Author: Rhys Bowen
Series: Constable Evans Mysteries
Title: Death of a Gossip (149 pages); Death of an Outsider (148 pages); Death of a Maid (239 pages)
Author: M.C. Beaton
Series: Hamish Macbeth Mysteries
Read for the 2010 100+ Reading Challenge
On a personal note, I read Death of a Maid first, having bought it thinking it was one of the first in the Hamish Macbeth series, when it was actually one of the last . I really enjoyed having Hamish and his actions as the focus of the story and getting to spend so much time among the hilarious folks living in Lochdubh. Needless to say, I was a bit disappointed that Death of a Gossip revolved mostly around the overbearing lady who was murdered and Death of an Outsider took place in the not so pleasant village of Cnochan. I was quite pleased to see the book I just finished, Death of a Perfect Wife, follow in the same vein as Maid – there’s only a brief amount of time where the repulsive Trixie Thomas is among the living, but a lot of time is spent on Hamish’s work and personal life and readers get to interact with many of the townsfolk who seem to be minor players throughout the rest of the series.
I quite liked Evans Above, despite some rather stock characters (i.e. the lascivious young woman constantly panting after Evan. She would be a barmaid. And blonde. And act like an idiot most of the time). Evan seemed to be a good bloke for all he was daft when it came to the ladies. And so clever the way he was able to connect all three of the murders, though they seemed not to be at all related. I was so excited to experience more of the quaint Welsh countryside in Evan Help Us, but I was a bit put off by how formulaic the plot seemed to be. Just as in the first book, readers get to read a bit from the perspective of the first person murdered, Evan is on the case, there’s another murder, Evan pieces the events together and catches the murderer single-handedly, a fact much rued by his boss, seeing how Evan is only the local bobby. I might try the third book in the series, but if it’s more of the same, then I’m breaking up with Evan.