cover image Death of a Perfect Wife

Death of a Perfect Wife

M. C. Beaton. St. Martin's Press, $15.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-312-03322-4

Constable Hamish Macbeth of Lochdubh in the Scottish Highlands returns to beguile readers in Beaton's fourth whodunit. With the arrival of Trixie and Paul Thomas from England, life in the tranquil village becomes chaotic, as brash Trixie establishes the Thomas house as headquarters for militant feminism. A ``perfect wife,'' Trixie subjugates her husband Paul and teaches the local women to follow her example. Obeying Trixie's dicta, the wives begin serving their spouses health food instead of ``harmful'' hearty meals, and campaign vigorously against smoking. It is no wonder that someone eventually murders Trixie; Hamish's problem is whittling down the number of suspects. As the pace of the merry tale quickens, gentle Hamish draws nearer to exposing the surprising killer whose motive is far different from what he expects. He is also gratified to find the male residents of Lochdubh admitting that they feel better--although not smoking and eating nutritiously--now that they are relieved of Trixie's domineering presence. (Dec.)