cover image Death of a Nurse

Death of a Nurse

M.C. Beaton. Grand Central, $25 (256p) ISBN 978-1-4555-5825-4

In bestseller Beaton’s by-the-numbers 32nd Hamish Macbeth mystery (after 2015’s Death of a Liar), the Lochdubh, Scotland, police sergeant meets Gloria Dainty, a beautiful private nurse, and arranges a date with her. Hamish doesn’t understand why Gloria doesn’t show, until he stumbles on her body at the bottom of a cliff. Det. Jimmy Anderson answers Hamish’s call to the crime scene, followed almost immediately by brusque Insp. Fiona Herring, who takes charge. Hamish conducts his own investigation parallel to the official one, which focuses on elderly Percy Harrison, Gloria’s patient, and Percy’s housekeepers, Juris and Inga Janson. Complications run from the expected (Detective Chief Inspector Blair seeks to embarrass Hamish) to the unexpected (Col. George Halburton-Smythe tries to play detective). Hamish nimbly avoids bureaucratic pitfalls and shrewdly sniffs out deceptions as one murder leads to another, but this entry lacks the author’s usual sparkle. Series fans will hope for its return in Hamish’s next outing. Agent: Barbara Lowenstein, Lowenstein Associates. (Feb.)