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Death of a Dustman [Mass Market Paperback]

M. C. Beaton
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Jan. 1 2002 Hamish Macbeth Mysteries
Scotland's most laconic & low-tech policeman, Hamish MacBeth returns.

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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

That the prolific Beaton seems to be writing for television in her 16th Hamish Macbeth mystery (after Death of an Addict) may be no surprise, given that the same U.K. company that brought Inspector Morse to the small screen has filmed some novels in this series. After all, what's superficial or formulaic on the page can look just fine on TV. When, in an effort to gain publicity for the local community and herself, bullying Strathbane Council member Freda Fleming gets drunken Lochdubh dustman Fergus Macleod promoted to "environmental officer," Fergus can't believe his luck. Alas, he doesn't have much time to strut his new military-style uniform ("He looked for all the world like the wizened dictator of some totalitarian regime"), because someone bashes the back of his head in and dumps his body in a rubbish bin. Enter policeman Hamish Macbeth, who soon discovers that Fergus had a second career as a blackmailer. As he pursues various suspects and red herrings, Hamish flirts with an old girlfriend, muses on the horrors of wife-beating, and generally carries on in a way that presumes readers are old friends who'll forgive him his every indulgence. A wildly improbable feat of Scottish hammer-throwing brings down the villain, while a second murder that's not what it seems provides some last-minute suspense. If the U.K. television series ever comes to the U.S., that would give sales a big boost. Mystery Guild Featured Alternate. (Mar. 6) as well as her Agatha Raisin series.
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

Adult/High School-When Mrs. Freda Fleming, tyrannical member of the Strathbane Council, appoints the dustman (trash collector) of Lochdubh to be the "environmental officer," Fergus Macleod becomes a bigger bully than he was before. He also specializes in blackmail as he uses the bits of information he finds in the rubbish against the local residents. No one is surprised when his body turns up in a recycling bin. That's when policeman Hamish Macbeth steps in to investigate, but he has a difficult time trying to get the locals to talk. And then, another murder complicates the entire process. Beaton once again entertains fans of the series with delightful escapades of the Scottish populace and a good mystery. She uses Hamish not only as the main character, but also as a foundation for learning about the culture, activities, and other people in the village. Clarry Graham, Macbeth's constable who specializes in cooking, lends additional humor to the story line. Another entertaining offering from this successful author.

Pam Johnson, Fairfax County Public Library, VA

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Charms, Secrets and Nasty Grudges April 15 2002
Isn't it fun to imagine that somewhere across the pond, lurks a lady who can churn out books one after another, in the same basic formula, but each a uniquely clever and original read? And she probably wanders about and no one knows of the mischief, mayhem and murder lurking behind the eyes of the deceptively normal lady? Once again, Ms. Beaton takes us along to meet the ever unambitious Hamish as he casts about the idyllic village of Lochdubh in the farthest northern part of the Scottish highlands. Where the people have their charms, secrets and nasty grudges, and there is almost always trouble simmering. To the usual wonderful cast of characters, the faithful reader meets Hamish's new constable Clary the Cook, the frightful Freda Fleming, Officer of the Environment, Lugs the Dog, a rich Greek reopening the Lochdubh hotel, as well as the Fergus McLeod and family. Ms. Beaton beautifully communicates a sense of place, a cadence of language and a refreshingly original formula cozy.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Cookie Cutter Plot and Set Aug. 21 2001
By A Customer
This reader is probably in the minority here, but Death of Dustman in this reader's opinion is one of Ms. Beaton's much poorer efforts. Early in the series, I really enjoyed the Hamish MacBeth novels, but now they seem to have become "cookie-cutter" books with the same tired plots. She uses short, choppy sentences and seems to do more telling than showing in her books now. This has become very tedious and does not keep this reader's interest as much as it did in the past when the books were very good reading. Also, does she have to describe in each and every book every little detail about all the characters in the village -- which is almost the same information verbatim taken from the last book and the book before? Ms. Beaton also needs a new editor, especially in this book where Fergus was substituted for Angus (in a death scene) making it very hard for the reader to know just exactly what is going on and who exactly was murdered. Also, Ms. Beaton - give Hamish a life! He is still pining away for his lost lady love. It's just the "same ole, same ole."
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4.0 out of 5 stars Seventeenth Variation on a Highland Theme Aug. 12 2001
Fergus Macleod, the dustman (garbage collector)in Police Sergeant Hamish Macbeth's village of Lockdubh, is a drunk and a wife-beater. When Fergus is promoted to "environmental engineer" by an ambitious member of the County Council he becomes so officious that soon half the village is threatening to kill him. Someone does and stuffs his corpse into one of his own dustbins. Hamish soon discovers that several people, including his own constable, had additional reasons to wish Macleod dead. Then a local crofter is murdered too. Hamish must solve these crimes while preserving his neighbors' guilty (but irrelevant) secrets.
M C Beaton writes classic British murder mysteries in the tradition of Dorothy Sayers, Agatha Christie, and Ngaio Marsh. It is a genre as stylized as the sonnet or the minuet -- yet capable of infinite variation. Few readers will anticipate all the plot twists Beaton has composed for this, her seventeenth Hamish Macbeth mystery. Hamish does not possess an over-abundance of "little gray cells" like Hercule Poirot, nor upper class connections like Roderick Allyn. But he does know his Highlander neighbors intimately and always manages to ferret out the truth ahead of the detectives sent out from headquarters. Beaton laces her stories with generous dollops of broad, black comedy; often at the expense of her sleuth, Macbeth.
My only quibble with "Death of a Dustman" is that Beaton makes one character hide a crucial piece of information from Macbeth (and from the reader) on the flimsiest of pretexts until just before the climax of the book. One of the rules of the classic mystery is that the author must scatter all the clues needed to solve the puzzle so a canny reader can beat the fictional detective to the soluction.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Predictable, predictable, predictable! March 14 2001
Indeed, "predictable" is the word (or words!) for any of the Hamish Macbeth series by M.C. Beaton, and "Death of a Dustman" is no exception. Ms Beaton has, of course, worked out a very successful "formula" for her Macbeth books, but her fans don't really care! What's fun is reading them! Macbeth is the local policeman in the Scottish Highlands village of Lochdubh, and, if nothing else, Beaton's characters (primarily Hamish) and the local color (of the setting) are enough to get one going!
In "Death of a Dustman," Beaton's inimitable policeman must find the killer of one Fergus Macleod, local villager only recently appointed as the town's new dustman, in charge of a renewed campaign to keep the area environmentally friendly. Macleod is a real pain, and, thus, when he is found dead, no one really cares! Besides turning into a real tyrant--and impossible to deal with--with his silly and petty (but legal) fines of his townsfolk--he is a wife-abuser and into some blackmail as well. And when his body's found, it's poetic justice, indeed: he was left in a recycling bin. (If that's not a metaphor, what is!) But, the law's the law and a murder's a murder. And Hamish must do his duty--regardless of his personal feelings for Macleod!
As usual, Beaton provides us with suspects aplenty, and Macbeth's resilience pays off, one more time! Beaton's books are delightful to read! (
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant
The book is brilliant they are always are with Hamish Macbeth series. You have a bit of humour thrown
into it. Definitely recommend this book to someone else
Published 5 months ago by Michelle McCreath
5.0 out of 5 stars GRIME AND PUNISHMENT...
This is the seventeenth installment in the Hamish Macbeth series of cozy mysteries. In this book, our beloved Highlander is busy going about his business in the village of Lochdubh... Read more
Published on April 18 2012 by Lawyeraau
5.0 out of 5 stars Can Hamish Stand Success?
Due to his remarkable work in Death of an Addict, Hamish once again finds himself promoted to sergeant. Read more
Published on May 18 2007 by Donald Mitchell
5.0 out of 5 stars Woe to those who commit murder in and around Lochdubh!
This is a great installment in the Hamish Macbeth series. This series continues to delight and surprise and I always can't wait to read the next one. Read more
Published on March 25 2004 by S. Schwartz
5.0 out of 5 stars another in the delightful series
M.C. Beaton's mysteries center in a small village in the Scottish Highlands, with chief character Officer Hamish MacBeth, surrounded by other recurring eccentric characters. Read more
Published on March 19 2002 by Karen Sampson Hudson
4.0 out of 5 stars Hamish must find the murderer of the most hated man in town
Fergus the dustman or garbage man is the most hated man in town. He drinks, he beats his wife, and since he was promoted to enviromental supervisor and given a new uniform, he's... Read more
Published on Feb. 27 2002 by Moe811
You won't be able to put the book down is the reason it will gather no dust. I really enjoyed this one. I have read them all up to now and am looking forward to the next one. Read more
Published on Jan. 10 2002 by Mac Blair
5.0 out of 5 stars Highlander Hamish
What I would give to live in a place like Lochdubh where the local bobby actually cares for his fellow villagers! Read more
Published on July 27 2001 by J. Cunningham
5.0 out of 5 stars Death of a Dustman
M.C. Beaton has done it again with another delightful book in the series about Hamish Macbeth, a constable in Lochdubh, a village in the Northern Highlands of Scotland. Read more
Published on April 9 2001 by Patricia Ibbotson
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