04 October 2013

Bullet Review: Death of a Scriptwriter by M. C. Beaton

Death of a Scriptwriter by M. C. BeatonI'll let you in a not-so-secret secret: When I'm slammed with work, I turn to audiobooks and escape reading. One of my favorite authors for a quick read with a high entertainment value is M. C. Beaton (Marion Chesney). Although she is well known for her many, many romance novels, I'm drawn to the author's mystery series, primarily the Hamish Macbeth books.

I love this series because the characters have become old friends, because I'm a sucker for the Highlands setting, and particularly because the audiobooks are read by Davina Porter, who is one of my go-to narrators. I could listen to Porter's Scottish accent forever. And that's a good thing seeing as there are thirty Hamish Macbeth books, and Death of a Scriptwriter is only the fourteenth.

  • Quick look at the series: Hamish Macbeth is a shrewd village copper who has the potential go far in the police business, yet he prefers to remain in his beloved town of Lochdubh. He avoids promotion because he doesn't like the bureaucracy of a large department and hates the idea of living in a city. Besides the murders, the books include returning village characters and Hamish's personal life.
  • What happens in this installment (no spoilers): A long-out-of-print mystery writer who has run out of ideas has moved to the Highlands to find inspiration, which is slow in coming. When a TV producer decides to turn her books into a series, she's thrilled until she learns that the characters have been given a sixties look and are sexually promiscuous. Jealousies between writers, actors, and husbands means there are plenty of suspects when the body count starts rising.
  • My reaction to Death of a Scriptwriter: Perhaps not the strongest book in the series, but I still enjoyed my few hours with Hamish as he interacted with his neighbors, had girl trouble, and puzzled out the murders.
  • Notes on the audiobook: As I mentioned, Davina Porter reads the books and does a wonderful job with all the needed accents. She really draws me into the stories. I borrowed the audio from a friend and forgot to make note of the publisher and the length, but most Hamish books run between 4 and 6 hours, making them the perfect weekend listen.
  • Recommendations: This is a series that is best appreciated from the beginning, but don't hesitate to jump in anywhere. The books make for light, quick reading for people who like quirky characters and village life. The mysteries are a mix of cozy and police procedural.
Hachette Book Group / Grand Central Publishing, 1999
ISBN-13: 9780446606981
Source: Borrowed (see review policy)
Copyright © cbl for Beth Fish Reads, all rights reserved (see review policy).


rhapsodyinbooks 10/4/13, 8:16 AM  

I love books set in Scotland and I bet they would be even more fun on audio. Like you, I love the accent!

Mystica 10/4/13, 8:47 AM  

I also like the setting. Sounds good.

bermudaonion 10/4/13, 10:21 AM  

I read one book from this series and thought it was okay. I think I need to start at the beginning to get attached to the characters.

Debbie Rodgers 10/4/13, 11:37 AM  

As you say, it's the characters that make this series. The mysteries vary in strength but I always love spending time with Hamish!

Carol N Wong 10/4/13, 1:08 PM  

I am in love with Hamish Macbet

Daryl 10/4/13, 2:50 PM  

ooh .. .sounds good (no pun intended)

Molly 10/4/13, 8:48 PM  

Well, as you know, I struggle with the audiobook scene but I do enjoy a good mystery and I love a Scottish accent so perhaps this would be a good series to try in the audio format...

Tina 10/4/13, 10:28 PM  

You just have to love a character named Hamish! I am fond of this author's Agatha Raisin series.

SuziQoregon 10/5/13, 12:03 PM  

I've listened to the first two of this series largely due to your encouragement. I started her Agatha Raisin series and gave up on it due to the unpleasant main character. Hamish on the other hand is kind of like a large likable puppy. The setting is fun and Davina Porter is fabulous. It's good to have a series like this that's just quick and enjoyable to mix in to the audiobook menu once in a while.

Susan 10/7/13, 10:36 PM  

I really enjoy this series. I didn't know there were 30 books in the series, however! I have less than 10, so quite a few to catch up on. I like your quick review with no spoilers, that's a fun way to do it.

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