Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Book 33 of 2014: Death of a Gossip by M.C. Beaton

Death of a Gossip is the first of M.C. Beaton's Hamish Macbeth series of books. I picked up a set of about ten of them for Mr Click a while ago and when he'd read the first one I decided to give it a go myself as he really enjoyed it.

This one follows a group of people from all different walks of life who have converged at the hotel in Lochdubh for a fishing course. One of the women, the snobby Lady Jane Withers, is found murdered and so an investigation is launched. While the detectives from the nearby town are investigating the murder, local bobby Hamish Macbeth takes up the case as well.

I enjoyed this one. After the fairly heavy-going The Plague Dogs, this one was a nice quick, light sort of read. It's the sort of book you could gobble up on a long train journey or flight. It was also funny, which sort of surprised me. I know that there was a TV series of Hamish Macbeth but it was a little before my time, so I wasn't sure what to expect from it at first.

As is often my complaint with crime/detective books, I didn't feel like I got all the information I needed to solve the crime myself. Hamish has this technique of phoning his numerous relatives for information, which we're not privy to until he makes the big reveal to someone. I like crime books where I can join in on the investigation.

I also kind of felt like Hamish solves some of the aspects of the case purely by guesswork. He's a little like Morse in that respect. It does make it hard to follow along yourself, but like I said above, if you're after a book which doesn't take much thinking about then it's fine.

I like the character of Hamish and I'm looking forward to seeing more of him in the future books. He kind of reminds me of someone I used to know and I'm enjoying the Scottish location because I don't often read books set up here. The references to the scenery and the way of life are really easy for me to relate to.

We've got quite a few of the books from this series and I think it's definitely one I'm going to continue to dip into in the coming year.


  1. I used to enjoy the TV series which was incredibly offbeat and quirky - so much so that you never knew what to expect when you switched it on, or how serious to take it all. But I've never read any of the books. Beaton's other crime fighter, Agatha Raison, has just been adapted for TV - shown on Sky over Christmas. I think I posted a review about that; it wasn't very special. Sort of comedy Midsomer Murders meets Bridget Jones.

    1. I remember seeing the TV series when I was younger but I was a bit too young to actually watch it at the time.

      I'd recommend the books for something light and quick; they're good for a long train journey, I think.

      I've not read Agatha Raison but I did see your review and the advert for it on Sky. I've got to try the book version at some point.


Let me know what you think. :-)