Death of a Dreamer Review
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Effie Garrard is a lonely, delusional woman who thinks the local artist, Jock Fleming, is in love with her. She even tells everyone that they’re engaged, going as far as to buy herself a diamond ring to prove it. Then, after a huge fight with Jock, Effie is found dead in the mountains, missing her ring finger, with a dose of antifreeze in her system.

Constable Hamish Macbeth thinks Effie may have been murdered, but everyone else shrugs it off as suicide over Jock’s rejection. Then someone else turns up dead because of incriminating words written in a notebook—which wasn’t found with the body—and remains missing throughout the investigation.

Jock Fleming has slept with every one of the suspects. Could a jealous lover have murdered Effie? Or her very own sister, who found out that Effie had been passing off her artwork as her own? Or was it Jock’s agent, who rushed to Lochdubh, Scotland as soon as she heard of his supposed engagement?

If you’re looking for a mystery of depth, you won’t find it here. Death of a Dreamer is an uncomplicated murder mystery. In fact, you may even guess who did it way before the book ends. You may also be put off by the rudeness and inhospitality of the characters, but that’s just the flavor of the Scottish people—at least in an M.C. Beaton mystery (for more on Beaton’s work, read our review of Death of a Bore).

The mystery is strong enough to keep you interested, even if the characters are not. Hamish Macbeth didn’t stand out as a memorable detective, and Effie didn’t elicit much sympathy from me. However, I kept reading to find out who the villain would turn out to be and was pleased that I had guessed correctly. I loved the setting—the Scottish Highlands—and enjoyed trying to figure out what certain Scottish expressions meant, such as chust, whit, and wee keek. All in all, Death of a Dreamer is a good read, perfect for a snowy day with nothing else to do; it just didn’t make me want to rush out and buy the rest of the series.

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