Perennial bachelor Hamish MacBeth is the lone Police Sergeant in Scotland's highland village of Lochdubh, and he likes it that way. He's dismayed when told that a constable will be coming to work with him, especially because with the job comes shared housing with Hamish. The icing on the cake is his nemesis Detective Chief Inspector Blair sending a young woman green to police work. Hamish quickly puts Josie to work checking on outlying farms and crofters, keeping her out of the office for days at a time. When a strange Valentine's Day murder brings Josie in to investigate alongside Hamish, she is thrilled to be near the man she perceives as her one true love. As the list of suspects grows, the involvement of the higher ranks from the city of Stratham irritate Hamish and send him to old friends for more information. Josie's misadventures in sleuthing, as well as her nervousness around Hamish also slow the investigation. Of course, in the end the killer is found, but there is more to this story than a murder mystery.
Not having read any of the other Hamish MacBeth novels, I picked up rich and interesting clues about Hamish's love life in previous books, as he meets with two women friends, both educated, strong career women, who give him insight into both his murder victim and Josie's crush. Josie's back story of obsession and manipulation is funny and fascinating, from its roots to her inevitable downfall, with Hamish's evasive techniques blocking most of her turns.
Death of a Valentineis definitely a book for mystery lovers. If you're looking for a new series, give it a try!
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Official FTC Disclosure: I received no compensation for this review, other than the uncorrected Advance Reader Copy from Hachette Publishing Group.