Tag Archives: M. C. Beaton

Death of an Honest Man by M.C. Beaton

Death of an Honest Man (Hamish Macbeth #33)Death of an Honest Man by M.C. Beaton

Barbara’s rating: 3.5/4 of 5 stars

Series: Hamish Macbeth #33
Publication Date: 2/20/18

I have read all thirty-three of the Hamish Macbeth books and I always love to visit the Scottish Highlands and the tiny village of Lochdubh, located in the northwest of Scotland. It is fun to see what is going on at Tommel Castle Hotel, and the vile village of Cnothan. Then, there is always the adventure of seeing how many side-kicks Hamish will go through – and I think this one wins with four. Sadly though, I have been disappointed in books thirty-two and thirty-three – they have become a bit dull and formulaic. I’m sure the author has written so many by now that she could almost write them in her sleep. Maybe that will change with the next book because apparently Blair will be gone and Hamish’s latest side-kick is a tall, nice looking young lady copper. If you are new to the series, you probably aren’t tired of Priscilla, Blair, Jimmy, Elspeth and even Hamish – but – if you’ve read from the first, they are probably getting a bit tiresome. I will try one more book to see what happens with the addition of Constable Dorothy McIver as Hamish’s new side-kick and also the addition of Johnny Southern because he sounds like he could be a new Blair. Hamish has also gotten Sonsie back from Ardnamurchan and it will be interesting to see how that goes.

Paul English is a retired banker who has moved to Cnothan. It doesn’t take long for him to alienate the entire population of Hamish’s territory. The man prides himself on being honest, but he is really judgmental, cruel and insulting. Is it any surprise that he turns up dead – in the bog? Not at all.

There are lots of suspects, so how will Hamish manage to track down the murderer – and not take credit for it. That is always a challenge for poor Hamish. He has a fine mind as a detective, but he doesn’t want to take credit for his solutions because he doesn’t want to be promoted out of his beloved village. As Hamish digs deeper, he finds there is more to some of the relationships in the area than you’d suspect.

Hamish is a very busy man – people are dying and being injured right and left and he has to solve the case and keep Blair off his back. When the solution finally presents itself, you’ll be surprised at how the end happens.

M. C. Beaton writes well, plots well and creates interesting characters. Her books are very, very busy though and sometimes you have to work a little to keep all of the side stories straight.

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“I requested and received this e-book at no cost to me and volunteered to read it; my review is my honest opinion and given without any influence by the author or publisher.”

The Witches’ Tree by M. C. Beaton

The Witches' TreeThe Witches’ Tree by M.C. Beaton

Barbara’s Rating: 4 of 5 stars

Series: Agatha Raisin #28
Publication Date: 10/3/17

Wow! I’ve found a new best friend and it is Agatha Raisin. I know I have come to this series late in its life, but I had no problem reading and thoroughly enjoying this latest addition to the series. I love M. C. Beaton’s books and particularly the Hamish Macbeth series and now this one. I do have to wonder though – does this author not want Hamish and Agatha to have HEA’s. I say that because Hamish seems to go from lady to lady without finding love and the same is apparently true for Agatha.

Agatha is fifty-three years old and has been married twice. To me, she is very depressed, lonely and insecure without a man in her life. I can only assume that is thoroughly explained in earlier books. She’s insecure about her looks and her lovability. She’s also strong, grumpy, sensible, quirky, funny, acerbic, and well – just likable. She is still friends with her last ex-husband – he even lives next door. Agatha also has an interesting relationship with her friend Sir Charles. It would appear that they actually may love each other, but neither of them realizes it or would admit it. I would like to see this relationship grow and come to an HEA for Agatha and Charles because I like both of them. Given the author’s other series though, I wonder if Agatha is destined to remain a lonely old cat lady for the rest of her days.

On a very dark, foggy night the new vicar and his wife are returning home from a very boring dinner party in the next town over. In a quick parting of the fog, their headlights illuminate something hanging from the Witches Tree – it is a body. The police soon determine the victim was murdered – and there are more bodies to come. What a gruesome welcome to the Cotswolds!

Agatha, who has her own private investigation firm, is retained to solve the crime. She’s so happy to do so because she has become very bored and tired of investigating divorce cases, lost cats, etc. This will be a welcome diversion for her.

The book is filled with quirky, interesting characters as most of Beaton’s books are. Everyone has a hidden ‘secret’ and before Agatha is finished, she knows them all. There is a host of suspects and Agatha eliminates them one-by-one and is still baffled – until she finds that one very important question she had forgotten to ask.

Can you believe a coven of witches in a small, beautiful English village in the Cotswolds? Well, there is one and they are a pretty nasty bunch. Agatha is sure they have something to do with the murders, but she isn’t sure what. Are they the murderers or are they just the enablers? You’ll just have to read the book to find out.

I almost didn’t request this book because the description of Agatha Raisin as ‘Agatha Christi like’ just didn’t appeal to me. I decided to request it anyway because I usually like Beaton’s work – and I’m so glad I did. I read the book straight through into the wee hours of the morning because I couldn’t wait to see what Agatha was up to next. I do hope Beaton decides to give Agatha the love she so longs for.

Great read!

“I requested and received this e-book at no cost to me and volunteered to read it; my review is my honest opinion and given without any influence by the author or publisher.”

About The Author:
Marion Chesney Gibbons
aka: Ann FairfaxJennie TremaineHelen CramptonMarion ChesneyCharlotte WardSarah Chester.

Marion Chesney was born on 1936 in Glasgow, Scotland, UK, and started her first job as a bookseller in charge of the fiction department in John Smith & Sons Ltd. While bookselling, by chance, she got an offer from the Scottish Daily Mail to review variety shows and quickly rose to be their theatre critic. She left Smith’s to join Scottish Field magazine as a secretary in the advertising department, without any shorthand or typing, but quickly got the job of fashion editor instead. She then moved to the Scottish Daily Express where she reported mostly on crime. This was followed by a move to Fleet Street to the Daily Express where she became chief woman reporter. After marrying Harry Scott Gibbons and having a son, Charles, Marion went to the United States where Harry had been offered the job of editor of the Oyster Bay Guardian. When that didn’t work out, they went to Virginia and Marion worked as a waitress in a greasy spoon on the Jefferson Davies in Alexandria while Harry washed the dishes. Both then got jobs on Rupert Murdoch’s new tabloid, The Star, and moved to New York.

Anxious to spend more time at home with her small son, Marion, urged by her husband, started to write historical romances in 1977. After she had written over 100 of them under her maiden name, Marion Chesney, and under the pseudonyms: Ann Fairfax, Jennie Tremaine, Helen Crampton, Charlotte Ward, and Sarah Chester, she getting fed up with 1714 to 1910, she began to write detectives stories in 1985 under the pseudonym of M. C. Beaton. On a trip from the States to Sutherland on holiday, a course at a fishing school inspired the first Constable Hamish Macbeth story. They returned to Britain and bought a croft house and croft in Sutherland where Harry reared a flock of black sheep. But Charles was at school, in London so when he finished and both tired of the long commute to the north of Scotland, they moved to the Cotswolds where Agatha Raisin was created.


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