Friday, 1 July 2016

Book Review: Death of a Gossip and Death of a Cad by M.C. Beaton

Book: Death of a Gossip

Author: M.C. Beaton

Pages: 288

Read: On the Kindle

Read in: 3 hours

Plot Summary: When society widow and gossip columnist Lady Jane Winters joined the fishing class, she wasted no time in ruffling the feathers-or was it the fins?-of those around her. Among the victims of her sharp tongue and unladylike manner was Lochdubh Constable Hamish Macbeth. 

Yet not even Hamish thought someone would permanently silence Lady Jane's shrills-until her strangled body is fished out of the river. Now with the help of the lovely Priscilla Halburton-Smythe, Hamish must angle through the choppy waters of the tattler's life to find the murderer. But with a school of suspects who aren't ready to talk and dead women telling no tales, Hamish may be in over his head, for he knows that secrets are dangerous, knowledge is power, and killers usually do strike again.

Review: This was the first M.C. Beaton book I've ever read and I am happy to report that I really liked it! While Beaton's most famous character is Agatha Raisin (publicist turned amateur detective), I really enjoyed reading about Hamish Macbeth- the slightly awkward but smart Scottish cop from the tiny village of Lochdubh. The book is pacy, well written, there are multiple suspects and a few red herrings, thereby making it a fairly gripping read. 

The characters were interesting and in a 288 page book the author managed to do a good job of character building, not only of Hamish and Priscilla but also of the sundry members of the fishing school. 

Rating: 4/5

Book: Death of a Cad

Author: M.C. Beaton 

Pages: 219 

Read: On the Kindle

Read in: 2 hours

Plot Summary: When Priscilla Halburton-Smythe brings her London playwright fianc√© home to Lochdubh, everybody in town is delighted . . . except for love-smitten Constable Hamish Macbeth. Yet his affairs of the heart will have to wait. Vile, boorish Captain Bartlett, one of the guests at Priscilla's engagement party, has just been found murdered-shot while on a grouse hunt. 

Now with many titled party guests as the prime suspects, each with a reason for snuffing out the despicable captain, Hamish must smooth ruffled feathers as he investigates the case. When the hidden culprit strikes again, Hamish will find himself trying to save Priscilla from a miserable marriage-and catch a killer before he flies the coop.

Review: Once again, this was a great, quick read. The characters were interesting and the real killer was not very obvious. It was lovely to go back to the cute and eccentric village of Lochdubh and meet all the characters. The little breadcrumbs dropped by the author are perfect- not so detailed that everything becomes obvious and not so little that it becomes un-guessable. 

Rating: 4/5 

If you're missing Agatha Christie and want to read about a series of books set in the English (and Scottish) countryside with cute characters and a decent mystery, then I would highly recommend M.C. Beaton. 

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