Series: A Hamish Macbeth Mystery | Publication Date: December 27, 2011
In the south of Scotland, residents get their chimneys vacuum-cleaned. But in the isolated villages in the very north of Scotland, the villagers rely on the services of the itinerant sweep, Pete Ray, and his old-fashioned brushes. Pete is always able to find work in the Scottish highlands, until one day when Police Constable Hamish Macbeth notices blood dripping onto the floor of a villager’s fireplace, and a dead body stuffed inside the chimney. The entire town of Lochdubh is certain Pete is the culprit, but Hamish doesn’t believe that the affable chimney sweep is capable of committing murder. Then Pete’s body is found on the Scottish moors, and the mystery deepens. Once again, it’s up to Hamish to discover who’s responsible for the dirty deed–and this time, the murderer may be closer than he realizes.
Some don’t think that this installment of the Hamish MacBeth Mysteries lives up to the other 25 in the series but I loved it because Hamish didn’t seem as bumbling and at loose ends. He’s never really been appreciated by his superiors (until after he has solved a murder) and probably never will be but that just adds to the enjoyment of the series because I keep routing for him to get his due approval and acceptance.
After reading the book I’m a bit unsure that the title was apropos because the chimney sweep was just collateral damage. The murder that everyone was trying to solve was Capt. Davenport’s, the man who was stuffed up his own chimney, but I guess maybe that’s why the author named the book for the lesser involved-maybe she felt sorry for him. I did, he maybe got a total of 3 pages written about him.
No matter what the title, I love the story and found it to be a very pleasurable read.
If you’ve never read an M.C Beaton book you really should put it on your New Year’s Resolution List.