Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Death of a Gossip

Death of a Gossip. A Hamish Macbeth Murder Mystery. M.C. Beaton. 1985/2008. Robinson. 210 pages.

'I hate the start of the week,' said John Cartwright fretfully. 'Beginning with a new group. It's rather like going on stage. Then I always feel I have to apologize for being English. People who travel up here to the wilds of Scotland expect to be instructed by some great hairy Rob Roy, making jokes about saxpence and saying it's a braw bricht moonlicht nicht and lang may your lum reek and ghastly things like that.'

John and his wife, Heather, own a fishing school in Lochdubh. When the novel opens, they are preparing to welcome this week's clients: Marvin and Amy Roth, Lady Jane Winters, Jeremy Blythe, Alice Wilson, Charlie Baxter, Major Peter Frame, and Daphne Gore. From the start, things don't go well. Lady Jane Winters is as rude as can be. She deliberately sets out to annoy and aggravate everyone she encounters. It isn't too long before the others start talking about her. More than one person wishes Lady Jane was dead. More than one threatens to kill her. Still, it is somewhat of a shock when Lady Jane ends up being the catch of the day. One of them fishing her body from the lake--she was strangled and wrapped in chains.

There is a local constable, Hamish Macbeth. And he's delightfully eccentric. But he's not "big enough" to solve a murder...or is he? Officially, he is off the case. A team of detectives, led by Blair, has arrived and are ready to handle this one. They've begun interviewing everyone, and begun examining the evidence. Though he didn't want to solve the murder before Chief Inspector Blair told him not to get in the way of the case, he does now. Can Macbeth piece together the clues before Blair does?

We learn a little about each of the characters with special attention to Alice Wilson and Jeremy Blythe. Two strangers who are drawn together even before this murder investigation begins. But what is love for Alice, is just a meaningless fling for Jeremy. Fortunately, Hamish is there for Alice whether she wants his advice or not.

I NEVER thought I would read a book (voluntarily) about fishing. Then again, before this year, I never thought I would read a mystery. I liked this one. I didn't quite love it. I liked Hamish well enough. And I think this series might have potential. The characters just weren't quite as developed as I would have liked. (Though I know not every character can be equally developed.) I did enjoy the Scottish setting.

© Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


BookChook 6:19 PM  

Here in Australia, we get Hamish Macbeth as a TV show. I will look out for the books.

I think successful crime or mystery writers, well, any writers probably, are those that build a world we can immerse ourselves in. One British writer I thought did this very well was Gerald Hammond. His heroes were involved in shooting. I would never have thought I would grow to love the books, but I did/do.

fourth musketeer 6:46 PM  

These are especially fun on audiobook if you're an audiobook fan. YOu get all the really good Scottish accents--I think I've listened to just about all the books in the series. Hamish gets to be a sort of friend after so many books!

Post a Comment

I'm always happy to hear from you! To help fight spam, comment moderation has been set up for posts older than two days. Feel free to ask me questions or ask for recommendations!

Review Policy

I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

I also review adult books.

I read in a variety of genres including realistic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, and chick lit. (I've read one western to date.)

I read a few poetry books, a few short story collections, a few graphic novels, a few nonfiction books.

I am especially fond of:

  • Regency romances (including Austen prequels/sequels)
  • Historical fiction set in the Tudor dynasty
  • Historical fiction and nonfiction set during World War II
  • Jewish fiction/nonfiction
  • dystopias
  • apocalyptic fiction
  • science fiction (especially if it involves time travel and alternate realities)
  • fantasy
  • multicultural books and international books

I am not a fan of:

  • sports books
  • horse books
  • dog books if the dog dies (same goes with most pets actually except maybe fish)
  • westerns (if it's a pioneer story with women and children, then maybe)
  • extremely violent books with blood, blood, and more blood

I am more interested in strong characters, well-written, fleshed-out, human characters. Plot is secondary to me in a way. I have to care about the characters in order to care about the plot. That being said, compelling storytelling is something that I love. I love to become absorbed in what I'm reading.

If you're interested in sending me a review copy of your book, I'm happy to hear from you. Email me at laney_po AT yahoo DOT com.

You should know several things before you contact me:

1) I do not guarantee a review of your book. I am just agreeing to consider it for review.
2) I give all books at least fifty pages.
3) I am not promising anyone (author or publisher) a positive review in exchange for a review copy. That's not how I work.
4) In all of my reviews I strive for honesty. My reviews are my opinions--so yes, they are subjective--you should know my blog will feature both negative and positive reviews.
5) I do not guarantee that I will get to your book immediately. I've got so many books I'm trying to read and review, I can't promise to get to any one book in a given time frame.
6) Emailing me every other week to see if I've read your book won't help me get to it any faster. Though if you want to email me to check and see if it arrived safely, then that's fine!

Authors, publishers. I am interested in interviewing authors and participating in blog tours. (All I ask is that I receive a review copy of the author's latest book beforehand so the interview will be productive. If the book is part of a series, I'd like to review the whole series.) Contact me if you're interested.

Unique Visitors and Google PR Rank

Free PageRank Checker

2018 Kitty Lit Challenge

2018 Kitty Lit Challenge
Link to sign-up page

Join the Victorian Reading Challenge

Join the Victorian Reading Challenge
Linked to sign up page

Family Tree Reading Challenge

Family Tree Reading Challenge
Link to sign-up page

2018 Share-a-Tea Challenge

2018 Share-a-Tea Challenge
Linked To Sign Up Page

2018 Charity Challenge (Sign Up)

2018 Good Rule Reading Challenge

2018 Good Rule Reading Challenge
Link to sign up page

2018 Picture Book Challenge

2018 Picture Book Challenge
Link to sign-up page

Join the 2018 Middle Grade Reading Challenge

Join the 2018 Middle Grade Reading Challenge
click image to go to sign up post

Good Rules Cheat List

Board books and picture books = new is anything published after 2013
Early readers and chapter books = new is anything published after 2013
Contemporary (general/realistic) = new is anything published after 2007
Speculative fiction (sci-fi/fantasy = new is anything published after 2007
Classics = anything published before 1968
Historical fiction = new is anything published after 2007
Mysteries = new is anything published after 1988
Nonfiction = new is anything published after 2007
Christian books = new is anything published after 2000
Bibles = new is anything published after 1989

My Blog List

(Old) Challenge Participants

Becky's Hosting These Challenges

100 Books Project: Fill in the Gaps

Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

  © Blogger template Newspaper III by 2008

Back to TOP