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.
Source: Borrowed (see review policy)
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