Set in Northern Scotland, Death of a Nurse is one book in the Hamish Macbeth Murder Mysteries and the first one that I have read. It’s being one in the middle of a series proves to be no real issue, I managed to pick up the general gist of the setting and characters pretty quickly, in fact, it’s not a hugely dissimilar setup from the BBC One drama Shetland, which I also very much enjoyed.
The main character, Police Sergeant Hamish Macbeth is a seemingly-ordinary, hard-working Scot who is often not afraid to voice his opinions. Although content, Macbeth is a rather lonely soul with only his two pets, Sonsie, the cat and Lugs, the dog for company. His sidekick, Police Constable Charlie Carter is what can only be described as ‘nice-but-dim’ and extremely clumsy, as he always seems to be falling over or breaking something but despite this, he bumbles along quite nicely in the crime-busting business and provides a few comedic moments in the book.
The story itself begins with the victim, Gloria Dainty, a private nurse meeting Macbeth, who grows quite fond of her. Soon after, she is found dead and left on the beach. The investigation into her death leads us down a number of unexpected twists, turns and shocks – including one rather gruesome detail involving the case’s final victim (yes, there’s more than one!) – before the pieces finally fall into place and the killer is revealed. Although the outcome is not predictable, I had an idea of who the killer was before the reveal and as it turned out, I was partially right and thoroughly enjoyed trying to crack the case along the way.
As a reader and a fan of crime drama on television, I always find the juxtaposition of a quaint, isolated setting and gritty drama the best fit. Something about the two elements just makes the story gripping, interesting and hard-hitting – though the number of crimes in such a setting may not be terribly accurate – therefore I really enjoyed this book – I love a good mystery!
The only slight initial issue I had was getting to grips with the Scottish dialect used by the majority of the characters, however, I soon got round it and that is no fault of the author or the book itself!
Would I read another book in the Hamish Macbeth Murder Mystery series? Of course! There is something so cosy and welcoming about them, a combination of the beautiful Scottish setting, the characters and the entertainment it provides alongside the serious drama. Do I recommend this book? To anyone who enjoys a mystery – definitely! Grab a copy of this book and a cup of tea and I would love to know what you think.