Death of a Cad
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|Author||M. C. Beaton (Marion Chesney)|
|Genre||Detective, Mystery novel|
|Publisher||St. Martin's Press|
|Media type||Print (Hardcover)|
|Pages||200 pp (Hardcover edition)|
|LC Class||PR6052.E196 D37 1987|
|Preceded by||Death of a Gossip|
|Followed by||Death of an Outsider|
Death of a Cad is a mystery novel by M. C. Beaton (Marion Chesney), first published in 1987. It is the second novel in this series, set in the fictional village of Lochdubh, Northern Scotland, featuring the local constable Hamish Macbeth.
When Captain Bartlett, one of the house guests at Trommel Castle, dies, the police are quick to call it an accident. Only Hamish Macbeth remains convinced it was murder, and it is Hamish who solves the crime.
Priscilla Halburton-Smythe returns from London to her family home, Trommel Castle, in the fictional village of Lochdubh in Northern Scotland. Accompanying Priscilla is Henry Withering, to whom she has recently become engaged. Henry, a committed Communist in his youth, has recently written a play which has enjoyed great success in London's West End. The play, an old fashioned farce, is at odds with Henry's previously unsuccessful political plays and has made him a very rich man and a popular celebrity. Priscilla's parents have invited a number of guests to a house party to celebrate the engagement. The guests are very keen to meet Henry and invitations are much sought after. The villagers of Lochdubh are delighted that the well liked Priscilla is to be married—with the exception of Hamish Macbeth, the local policeman. Priscilla is the love of his life.
Handsome Captain Bartlett, the cad of the title, is one of the guests. During the house party, he offends all of the guests with his boorish behaviour, seduces three women (each of whom believes herself to be the one he loves) and enters into a dubious bet based upon shooting a grouse. He is found dead, apparently the victim of an accident with a shotgun, or possibly a suicide. No-one regrets his death, as each guest has been subjected to Bartlett's callous rudeness either at the party or in the past.
Hamish Macbeth's suspicions that Captain Bartlett has been murdered meet with scorn from his archenemy, Chief Inspector Blair, of the fictional Strathbane Police and Priscilla's snobbish father, Colonel Halburton-Smythe. As the house party guests are all "posh" people, both Blair and the Colonel deem the village copper's involvement in the affair inappropriate. Hamish remains convinced he is dealing with murder and that one of the house guests is responsible.
With his usual disregard for authority, Hamish follows his instincts and uses his knowledge of the local community to elicit information that eludes the hectoring, bullying Blair. It is murder and Hamish reveals who has taken the time and the trouble to perpetrate the death of a cad.