Thursday, December 18, 2008

Death of a Prankster by M.C. Beaton

When it comes to murder, Constable Hamish Macbeth can't see the joke.

Admittedly, there's a touch of black humor in the case. Rich, old practical joker Andrew Trent summons his kin to remote Arrat House in the dead of winter for a deathbed farewell. They arrive to find him in perfect health and eager to torment them with a whole new bag of unfunny jokes.

But this time the body that falls out of the closet is Andrew Trent's. And nobody's laughing.

Especially not Hamish Macbeth, who is hard put to glean any information from Trent's unappealing nearest and dearest. And when the lanky constable's former flame, Priscilla Halburton-Smythe, inserts her beautiful self into the case, Hamish must muster all his native guile to carry him through. Fortunately, he has a few clever tricks up his own sleeve, which enable this most endearing of crime fighters to get the best, and last, laugh.

Andrew Trent was certainly not a nice person. His "jokes" were really quite cruel and the sick bastard deserved exactly what he got! Really, he must have either been unbalanced or a sociopath, because he was a sick, sick person. Frankly, I'm leaning towards sociopath.

In any case, having Priscilla cook for you must be rather odd. Like having Martha Stewart cook for you. She's never mussed or has flour streaks of her. It's very disconcerting and rather unnatural.. Although, she is becoming more natural in Hamish's life. More comfortable. There seems to be less of a gulf between them.

I certainly didn't see the identity of the culprit coming! The whole situation felt very Agatha Christie to me. In a good way, of course. And yea for Hamish getting his central heating. How lovely the way he accomplished that! Pure Hamish.

This was a nice, quick read. A solid story with lots of twists and turns and typical Blair/Hamish relations. I'm going to give it seven stars.

Rating: ★★★★★★★☆☆☆


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