07 January 2016

Review: Death of a Dustman by M. C. Beaton

Review of Death of a Dustman by M. C. BeatonWhen I want a short audiobook purely for escape and entertainment, I turn to M. C. Beaton's Hamish Macbeth series. During the hectic days between Christmas and the new year, Death of a Dustman, the sixteenth book in the series, kept me company during one lazy afternoon.

What is it that I love about these books? They take place in the Scottish Highlands in the small town of Lochdubh and feature the unambitious police constable Hamish Macbeth. Although most of the townfolk consider Hamish to be a bit of an embarrassment and think of him as a loafer and moocher, the copper always manages to solve the crime. Plus I think his easygoing manner is just a ploy (a la Columbo).

Death of a Dustman involves a couple of murders, some blackmail, cases of domestic disturbance, business rivalries, and even a little love. There are plenty of red herrings and some delicious-sounding meals. As with all cozies, the townspeople and the setting play big roles in the story, and the deeper you get into the series, the more the characters feel like old friends.

Unfortunately, two things conspired to make this installment my least-favorite Macbeth book. First, I thought the plot was on the thin side. In this series, the solution to the murder is usually logical and hinges on a clue that Hamish uncovers in the course of his investigation and interviews. The end of this book, however, involves a hard-to-swallow action scene. Second the audiobook (Blackstone Audio: 4 hr, 58 min) was not read by my beloved Davina Porter. Instead, the narrator was Graeme Malcolm, who just doesn't have Porter's heavenly Scottish accent. To top it off, I was thrown by his pacing and characterizations. *SOB.* I may give him one more chance, but I think I'll eventually be forced to turn to print. ::insert sad face here::

Despite the fact that Death of a Dustman wasn't my favorite Hamish Macbeth book, I strongly recommend the series to readers who love fun, light cozy mysteries. Start with book one (or at least not with this one). And to those of you who are working your way through the series, I think you could skip this entry completely because nothing important happens to any of the principal characters. I'm praying that Beaton is back on target with the next book in the series. I sure would hate to say good-bye to the goings-on in Lochdubh.


rhapsodyinbooks 1/7/16, 6:36 AM  

Every time I see a review of one of these, I vow to start this series, and then promptly forget! This time, I'm writing it down!

ChaosIsAFriendOfMine 1/7/16, 8:59 AM  

That's disappointing - sometimes a narrator can make or break an audiobook.

Vicki 1/7/16, 9:22 AM  

I too keep meaning to read this author, but then forget. I agree that a narrator is very important, I'm very picky when it comes to that.

Daryl 1/7/16, 10:29 AM  

i will add this series to my list ... but for now i am overwhelmed .. thanks!

bermudaonion 1/7/16, 12:39 PM  

There's a weak book in every series.

Tina 1/8/16, 12:49 PM  

I'm a fan of Beaton's Agatha Raisin series. But I am behind on the books so would like to see what Agatha and her cats are up to these days.
Never have read Hamish.

Carol 1/8/16, 2:59 PM  

I read my first of the series, a Christmas novella, over the holidays and really enjoyed it. I'll probably read more this year, but I will try not to make this one of my first few.

Stormi 1/13/16, 10:25 AM  

I have been meaning to try this authors mysteries. To bad this one wasn't real good for you.

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