Reviewed by Theodore Feit
All the familiar characters and nuances of the Hamish Macbeth mysteries are present in this novel. That does not diminish the charm of the tale, which begins with a new arrival in the Scottish sergeant’s patch, one Paul English. The newcomer prides himself for stating honest observations, which are really insults. For instance, telling an overweight woman she’s fat, or the minister his sermons are boring. And, of course, there’s always Chief Inspector Blair and his hatred for Macbeth, and his constant attempts to take credit for crimes Macbeth solves.
Well, English’s mouth actually results in his misfortune, and he is murdered. With any number of potential suspects, Macbeth has his work cut out for him. A couple of subplots round out the novel: first is Macbeth’s fixation on his wild cat who apparently is no longer with him, and he finds and nurtures another in the hope that it is his lost pet; and then there is the constant loss of his assistants to the food industry.
The addition of a new novel to this long-running series is always a joy to read and “Honest Man” is good fun, and is recommended.