24 August 2009

Review: Death of a Travelling Man by M. C. Beaton

Death of a Travelling Man is the ninth entry in the Hamish Macbeth series. This review assumes you've read the other books, but there are really few spoilers to the series.

Hamish Macbeth likes the quiet life and likes his adopted town of Lochdubh. He's not so sure he likes having been promoted to sergeant because now he's stuck with an assistant. Police Constable Willie Lamont is more than staff, however; he's moved in to Hamish's home in the police station. And Willie is not only gung-ho about the law but he's a clean freak and is always cooking. Poor Hamish, everything seems to be changing.

When Hamish comes across a camper illegally parked in town, he meets the handsome Sean Gourlay and his traveling companion, Cheryl Higgins. Soon after Sean moves the camper to the minister's property, life in Lochdubh becomes unsettled. Middle-aged women are seen bringing the drifter baked goods at a regular pace, petty thefts are reported, long-time residents put their house up for sale, and the minister seems to have lost his faith.

Before Hamish can gather evidence to solve the thefts, there is a murder. And this time it looks as if one of his friends and neighbors may be involved. Hamish is at loss of how to proceed; he believes in the law, but he trusts the townsfolk, no matter which way the evidence is pointing.

The Hamish Macbeth series is about more than the murder. It's about the easygoing Hamish and his life in the northern Highlands. It's also about his tentative relationship with the beautiful Priscilla Halburton-Smythe. Death of a Travelling Man doesn't let us down on any of these planes.

The murder mystery is nicely crafted in this entry, and I wasn't unable to figure it out any faster than Hamish was. One of Hamish's endearing characteristics is his ability to seem as if he were lazy and somewhat slow on the uptake when he is really way ahead of everyone else in solving the crime. The problem is that he doesn't want to be promoted because he's afraid that he'll be transferred to the city of Strathbane if he keeps doing a good job. He loves his simple small-town life and wants to have time to fish and visit with his friends.

This is a fun cozy series. The books are short but entertaining, and I highly recommend them. The audiobook was read by the fabulous Davina Porter. In fact, I started this series solely because she was the narrator. Porter is terrific, and I would listen to almost anything she read. I'm already looking forward to the next book in this series.

Print Published by Random House 1996
ISBN-13: 9780804112116
Audio Published by Recorded Books, 2005
ISBN-13: 9781402564819
Challenges: A-Z Author, Support Your Library, 999, 100+, Cozy Mysteries
YTD: 64
Rating: B


farmlanebooks 8/24/09, 10:57 AM  

I haven't read any of the books from this series, but enjoyed the first Agatha Raisin book. Have you read that series? Which is better?

Nan 8/24/09, 11:17 AM  

I've listened to most of the books in the series, and did enjoy them. Much better than the series on tv which got sort of dark and weird.

Nan 8/24/09, 11:17 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Julie P. 8/24/09, 11:19 AM  

I am not familiar with this mystery series, but it does look like I'd enjoy them!

Sandy Nawrot 8/24/09, 11:49 AM  

I might have said this before, but I'm curious how I would receive any audio narrated by Porter. Life after Outlander? I'm not sure! But the series sounds great. I am a total lover of good series, and I like it when I can't figure out the mystery!

lilly 8/24/09, 12:21 PM  

I have only listened to one of Hamish's mysteries but I really enjoyed it. The narrator did a great job and I will definitely be looking for more in this series. I am soooo picky with audio books and when I do finally find a good narrator I latch onto them like crazy, lol.

Beth F 8/24/09, 12:36 PM  

Jackie (farmlane): I like this better because I sometimes want to shake Agatha. But generally, if you like Agatha Raisin you'll probably like Hamish.

Nan: I tried to watch the series, but the characters were nothing like those in my imagination so I quit watching.

Julie, since you used to read cozies, I think you like these. They are short and light but fun.

Sandy: Once you get hooked on audios, it's inevitable that you'll hear a narrator more than once.

Lilly: I know what you mean.

bermudaonion 8/24/09, 2:13 PM  

The series does sound delightful!

Dorte H 8/24/09, 2:31 PM  

One of the two advantages of having a terrible memory is that you don´t have to be afraid of spoilers. I added this series to my list before writing my comment to be sure I didn´t forget that.

And the other advantage? - you can re-read a good crime novel after a couple of years and enjoy it just as much as the first time, because you don´t have a clue who did it.

Vivienne 8/24/09, 2:56 PM  

Do these books need to be read in order? I keep seeing them and I was quite taken by Death of a Witch.

Beth F 8/24/09, 3:05 PM  

Kathy (bermuda): it really is a nice series.

Dorte: You would like these because of the Scotland connection. They aren't anywhere near as hard-core are your usual crime books.

Vivienne: As with all series, you're better off reading them in order. However, the background story moves slowly and I bet you wouldn't feel too lost. Try one and see what you think.

caite 8/24/09, 4:16 PM  

I did read some in the series but then stopped for some unknown reason. But now I could never figure out where I left off, so it is hopeless! lol

stacybuckeye 8/24/09, 6:07 PM  

Your reviews on this series always make me want to pick up the first one :)

Melody 8/24/09, 7:53 PM  

Uh oh, not another series! :P Just kidding!

Sounds good! I hope they could read as stand-alone? :P

Veens 8/24/09, 8:20 PM  

Not read these series at all! :) ANother one to mark :)

Margot at Joyfully Retired 8/24/09, 9:52 PM  

This series does sound so good. It is interesting that you 'read' a book based on the narrator.

caite 8/25/09, 1:02 PM  

Oh my, I just looked. There are 25 books in this series!!

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