Friday, 16 November 2012

Book Review - Death of an Outsider & Death of a Travelling Man -- M C Beaton

Title - Death of a Travelling Man

Author - M.C.Beaton

Format - Paperback

Publisher - Constable Robinson

ISBN - 978-1-84529-734-3

BLURB - From back of book

Its springtime in the Highlands but storms are brewing for Hamish.

Hamish Macbeth's life is going to pot. He has horrors! - been promoted, his new boss is a dunce and a sinister self-proclaimed gypsy and his girlfriend have parked their rusty eyesore of a van in the middle of the village.

Hamish smells trouble and as usual he's right..... The doctor's drugs go missing. Money vanishes. And neighbours suddenly become unneighbourly. Nobody wants to talk either, so canny Hamish faces the delicate task of worming the acts out of the villagers. In the process he uncovers a story so bizarre that neither he nor the locals may ever be able to forget it....

I had been discussing with my colleagues at work, all about our love of books, and we were talking about our favourite genres. Mine happens to be crime and thrillers. She asked if I had read the tales of Hamish Macbeth, the Scottish Police Officer. I hadn't and although I had heard of him, after seeing the TV series in the UK Hamish Macbeth, I thought they would be old fashioned and boring books.  I read two of them in two successive days, albeit out of order, and now want to read the whole series!

M.C. Beaton, with her wonderfully descriptive writing has made the bleakest of the Scottish climate sound wonderfully exotic and charming. She makes the residents of Lochdubh sound quirky and opinionated, especially against outsiders.

This was a light hearted romp through the life of the Scottish, newly promoted Police Sergeant, Hamish Macbeth. He has been tasked with solving the murder of a traveler on his patch, who for some strange reason seems to have bewitched some of the local upstanding ladies from the Dr's wife to the Ministers wife. But why? 

The characters are wonderfully written, and you can really warm to them and their strange ways. Beaton is so descriptive in her writing that the book comes alive. The sights, smells and sounds of Lochdubh in Scotland are brought to life as are the characters. The humour she instills in the book, especially with Macbeths sidekick in the book, Willie, is wonderful. Willie, the village Police Officer has a great way of getting all his phrases mixed up with malapropisms  like "a cliche of friends" instead of a clique, or talking of his Aunt in America living in a "Condom" instead of a Condominium.

The book is full of murder, mystery, romance and humour, and although short with just over 200 pages, is an ideal light hearted read, that you can fit into a relaxing and lazy days reading.

It's a well written book with a story-line that actually keeps you guessing right until the very end.  I highly recommend it.

If you like the sound of this one, why not also read "Death of an Outsider"

Blurb from Amazon:-
The most hated man in the most dour town in Scotland is sleeping with the fishes, or – more accurately – has been dumped into a tank filled with crustaceans. All that remains of the murdered victim are his bones. But once the lobsters have been shipped off to Britain’s best restaurants, the whole affair quickly lands on the plate of Constable Hamish Macbeth. Exiled to the dreary outpost of Cnothan, Macbeth sorely misses his beloved Lochdubh, but before he can head back home he has to contend with a detective chief inspector who wants the murder hushed up, a dark-haired lassie who is out to seduce him, and a killer who has made mincemeat of his last victim, and will no doubt strike again…

I would also give this one a 5 star rating.

Visit M C Beatons page and bibliography on Fantastic Fiction

Authors website - Click here Where you can find details on her Hamish Macbeth Series and the delightful Agatha Raisin Series. Also there is an interview with the author.