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Death of a Gossip Mass Market Paperback – Feb 1 1999

3.4 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Warner Books; Reprint edition (Feb. 1 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0446607134
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446607131
  • Product Dimensions: 10.8 x 1.3 x 17.1 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 100 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,270,897 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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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 the Paperback edition.

About the Author

M.C Beaton is the author of both the Agatha Raisin and Hamish Macbeth series, as well as numerous Regency romances. Her Agatha Raisin books are currently being turned into a TV series on Sky. She lives in Paris and in a Cotswold village that is very much like Agatha's beloved Carsely. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

3.4 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

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.

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Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is the first in a series of mysteries featuring the detective work of small town, Highland Scottish detective Hamish Macbeth, P.C. In this story, John and Heather Cartwright's fishing school is thrown into confusion when the most unladylike Lady Jane Winters arrives. She seems to know the skeletons hidden in the closet of everyone attending the school, and is keen on letting everyone know it. In short order, Lady Jane becomes quite unpopular, and then quite dead. Now, it is up to Hamish to find out who did it and why.
My wife has been a big Hamish Macbeth fan for years, and finally I broke down and began to read them. This was not my favorite Hamish Macbeth book, but I did enjoy it. I liked the setting and the characters, and I especially liked the Cast of Characters list at the start of the book. So, if you are interested in a story set in modern Scotland, or just a good mystery, then I highly recommend this book to you.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
No one could be more surprised than I, to dislike a novel I looked forward to. I squirmed through this one. I have every intention to give the next novel a chance. <b>Marion C. Beaton</b> is a beloved ‘cozy mystery’ author and it’s no joke, I collected about 20 of her books! I would be relieved to turn my reaction around. I landed up with a few first editions!

<b>Marion</b> wanted to portray a peaceful, idle policeman, so his input would make shockwaves. The misfortune is, in this attempt; <i>Hamish</i> came out as a moocher whom no one liked. Adding to the sour note, it took ages to establish a protagonist. We started with a fishing class couple, moved among pupils, and I have no interest in fishing. This theme wasn’t a backdrop but an activity cast to the forefront. Lastly, I dislike the storytelling method that passes a viewpoint between a bunch of people, instead of sticking with the hero. However I have gotten on board with that several times in literature because the subject was compelling, or I loved the characters. I couldn’t stand any one of these! I found the girl ‘looking for love’, stupidest of all.

The scenery was beautiful and people who like fishing would savour the details. However this is a series that tried to be categorized with mysteries but it took 100 pages to get anywhere near one. I think <b>Marion</b> wanted to write slapstick humour and that’s perfectly valid. The mystery didn’t gel; dropping death into a book with no profound plot. When we discover the motive; it’s far away and nothing that should precipitate killing. Your reaction to the outcome should never be “so what” or “that’s it?”! It’s regrettable there was nothing for me to latch onto among these pages.
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Format: Paperback
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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