I had been eagerly awaiting Death of a Liar hoping that the background narrative will bring something new. Hamish Macbeth is a seargent instead of just a PC, but other than that, it appears to be business as usual.
Hamish gets a call from a woman who claims she was attacked. It turns out that she is just a liar, a habitual one at that. Everyone in her small, secluded Highlands village is now wary of her. An incomer couple tries to woo the people of Lochdubh without much success. They seem to be quite rich and well to do. And one day they are found dead. The wrath of the police force descends on Lochdubh bringing DI Blair with it.
Meanwhile, the lying woman is also found dead in her village. Hamish is banished away from his home territory. His constable follows the usual trend and is more interested in cooking and housekeeping than police work. A local Russian baker catches Hamish’s eye but she appears to be interested in his portly assistant instead. Hamish Macbeth tries hard to find out about the woman’s past, and unearths some surprising facts. With detective pal Jimmy Anderson at his side, he bends some rules to solve the case. He gets into some tussles with Blair, impresses Daviot, makes a mark on some big shot out of town policeman, and then manages to tone it all down so he doesn’t have to move to the city.
The case drags on across a year or more. The seasons come and change. Priscilla and Elspeth both make an appearance. The people of Lochdubh, not so much, except for a small mention. The growing trend with the Hamish Macbeth books seems to be that the case extends over a long period of time. the books take a familiar route, which might run together if you read some books back to back. But since I read maybe one in a year (having read most of them earlier), it doesn’t matter.
I had raised some questions about Hamish Macbeth’s future when I read Death of a Policeman. And wondered if we might see some twist in the plot. But as I said before, Death of a Liar is pretty much business as usual.
If you like Hamish Macbeth, you will love Death of a Scriptwriter from the same series.