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Death of a Gossip [Mass Market Paperback]

M.C. Beaton
3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Feb. 1 1999 Hamish Macbeth Mysteries
When a famous gossip columnist is murdered at the local fishing school, no one is ready to talk. It's up to Hamish Macbeth, with the inspiring assistance of the lovely Priscilla Halburton-Smythe, to sniff out the right rat amid all the cunning anglers with secrets to hide. But someone has baited a hook for him . . .

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Product Description


"* 'Beaton, a Scot herself, excels at giving readers a taste of Highland life and creating a believable character in the lonely, brilliant, continually frustrated-in-love Macbeth.' - Booklist * 'An enchanting series....M.C. Beaton has a foolproof plot for the village mystery.' - New York Times Book Review * 'Recommended for all mystery collections.' - Library Journal * 'Superb entertainment, as rich and warming as a fine malt whisky, and every bit as addictive' - Houston Chronicle" --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

M.C. Beaton lives in the Cotswolds with her husband. In addition to the Hamish Macbeth series, she writes the Agatha Raisin mystery series. --This text refers to an alternate Mass Market Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

3.4 out of 5 stars
3.4 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Death of a Gossip June 5 2014
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
If you enjoy following the exploits of Hamish, you will enjoy this read. Outwitting his superiors and the reader at times, Hamish lives up to his reputation.

Easy reading and compelling to find the murderer.

A good summer read.
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4.0 out of 5 stars THE BEGINNING OF A WONDERFUL COZY MYSTERY SERIES... March 13 2012
By Lawyeraau TOP 100 REVIEWER
This is the first book in the Hamish Macbeth cozy mystery series. While not the strongest book in the series in that both the mystery and the characters are not that well articulated or developed, it does set the groundwork for the books that are to come in this most enjoyable and utterly addictive cozy mystery series.

This book introduces to the reader Hamish Macbeth, a Highlander and local constable for the village of Lochdubh in Scotland, as well as the woman to whom he will lose his heart, Priscilla Halburton-Smythe. The mystery involves Lady Jane Winters, a notorious gossip columnist who meets an untimely death while vacationing in Lochdubh with a local fishing club. It seems that someone wanted desperately to silence her vicious yattering by whatever means necessary.

The reader sees Hamish bumbling his was around the powers that be in an attempt to solve the mystery that his boss and nemesis, Detective Chief Inspector Blair, is unable to solve. The methodology that Hamish employs to expose the killer is less methodical than in the rest of the series, as the character of Hamish Macbeth is still in a somewhat nascent stage. Still, it gives the reader a glimmer of the treats that are to come with this series, which is one that fans of the cozy mystery genre will enjoy.
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By Donald Mitchell #1 HALL OF FAME TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Death of a Gossip is the first book in the Hamish Macbeth mysteries by M.C. Beaton. I decided to read this book after having found many of the references to Hamish Macbeth's motives in the later books to be obscure and puzzling. I was pleased to find that Death of a Gossip does a fine job of setting up the premise for the series; outlining the characters of Hamish Macbeth and his friend, Priscilla Hallburton-Smythe; and establishing a plot structure for the future murder spree in the small village of Lochdubh in the northwestern Highlands of Scotland. If you want to understand those underpinnings, you definitely need to read this book.

However, the book is quite unlike the others in the series in important ways:

1. The premise behind the murder is much more thoughtful and better developed than in the following books.

2. The tension between the victim and the other characters is also better developed.

3. The interplay between Hamish and Priscilla is awkward and embarrassingly at the edge of prurience for burlesque purposes. In later books, this relationship is much better grounded and more interesting.

4. The detection involved is clumsy and disappointing. It's as though M.C. Beaton had missed the last class on how to write a mystery story. In the later books, the detection is a rewarding element of the stories. So this is an unusual false start.

I mention all of these things lest you fail to realize that you have better books ahead of you.

If you have read none of the Hamish Macbeth stories, I recommend you start with this one and read through them in the order that they were published. You'll enjoy the character development better that way.

Here's a thumbnail of the set-up.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Agatha Christie wannabe June 9 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This is the first book in the Constable Hamish Macbeth Series. The story takes place in Scotland and revolves around the people who are attending the Lochdubh School of Casting: Salmon and Trout Fishing. The school is run by John and Heather Cartwright who are working hard to make the school a profitable endeavor. The guests include an American couple, an attorney, a secretary, a 12-year-old boy, and ex-army major, and a debutante. These people would have probably gotten along if it had not been for Lady Jane Winters. Lady Jane knows a guilty secret about each of the guests and she is not hesitant to proclaim the secret to everyone. The guests all loathe her, so it is not surprising when she shows up dead, on the end of someone's fishing pole. Hamish Macbeth, the village constable, comes on the scene, but he is not nearly as interesting as Agatha Christie's inimitable Hercule Poirot. Also the solution to the identity of the murderer is pretty straighforward and doesn't have the clever twist that many mystery writers add.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A Charming Cozy July 2 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I have read all of the Agatha Raisin series, and I am a great fan of M.C. Beaton's style of cozy, but this is the first Hamish Macbeth book I've read. They are as different from Agatha Raisin as could be, but just as enjoyable. Macbeth is a poky Scottish village constable who appears to not know how to even tie his shoes, but when he sets his mind on discovering a murderer, he shows that he has a mind like a steel trap. He has the Miss Marple knack of being able to compare people and situations to those he is familiar with, and he has the added help of many relatives throughout the world that he can call on for information. In this book Hamish solves the murder of a very nasty woman who has come to the village for a week long fishing school. It turns out that she is a gossip columnist for a tabloid newspaper, and she is at this school to dig up dirt on the other students. A very nasty character indeed, and there is certainly no lack of suspects. Great fun!
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent series
This is the first in the Hamish MacBeth series, so it lacks some of the polish of the subsequent books. Read more
Published on June 11 2003
1.0 out of 5 stars go for Agatha instead
I love the Agatha Raisin series that M.C. Beaton also writes, but she dropped the ball on Hamish here. I expected a likeable, if flawed, main character. Read more
Published on April 10 2003 by Miss Ivonne
4.0 out of 5 stars Lots of fun.
Since I began reading these Hamish Macbeth mysteries out of order, it's given me a bit of perspective. Read more
Published on March 17 2003 by MLPlayfair
4.0 out of 5 stars A good book
This is the first in a series of mysteries featuring the detective work of small town, Highland Scottish detective Hamish Macbeth, P.C. Read more
Published on Aug. 17 2002 by Kurt A. Johnson
1.0 out of 5 stars major disappointment
I am always in favor of a light hearted mystery, but I was very disappointed in this book. While the descriptive language in this book is positively delicious, I found the... Read more
Published on April 2 2002
4.0 out of 5 stars A fun and very different British mystery.
When I first started reading this book I didn't quite know what to think. However, I quickly found that I was having quite a bit of fun reading it. Read more
Published on June 8 2001 by A. Gaston
4.0 out of 5 stars Pleasant, traditional British mystery
This is a cozy in the classic sense of the concept. There's just about as little violence as you can have while still having a murder. Read more
Published on Feb. 27 2001 by Carol Peterson Hennekens
4.0 out of 5 stars Quirky characters make for a light, quick read
First of the Hamish MacBeth series, this book introduces the quirky country constable who -- while not ambitious -- refuses to take a back seat to the big city Detective... Read more
Published on Sept. 4 2000 by Jim Allen
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