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Death of a Hussy [Mass Market Paperback]

M.C. Beaton
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Sept. 23 1991 Hamish Macbeth Mysteries
"Splendid fun." The New York Times Book Review
A Hamish Macbeth mystery.
Wealthy Maggie Baird is neither nice nor kind nor generous. Once she was beautiful, but now, although middle-aged, she retains the appetites of a beautiful woman. When Maggie's car catches fire with her inside it, suspicion focuses on the five houseguests staying at Maggie's luxurious Highlands cottage: her timid niece and four former lovers, once of whom Maggie had intended to pick for a husband. All five are impecunious. All five had ample opportunity to monkey with Maggie's car. So finding who did it requires all Police Constable Hamish Macbeth's extraordinary common sense and insight into human nature. And lazy lout though he may be, Hamish lets no grass grow under his feet when it comes to solving a murder. Especially when he may be the next target.

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Death of a Hussy + Death of a Charming Man + Death of a Macho Man
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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

The Scottish village of Lochdubh has a problem: the beloved police constable, Hamish Macbeth ( Death of a Perfect Wife ), has been transferred to Strathbane because of a dearth of local crime. In a successful bid to get him back, the villagers, led by newcomer Maggie Baird, organize a crime wave. On his return, Hamish is confronted with a possible murder. Maggie, who in younger and slimmer years had amassed a fortune as a well-rewarded kept woman, dies, ostensibly of a heart attack during a car fire. Suspects include her niece and heir, Alison, who had been living with Maggie after recuperating from lung cancer, and four of Maggie's former lovers and present suitors, whom she had invited for a visit: an ad man, a car salesman, a manager of a gambling club and a fading pop singer, all of them in dire need of money. Hamish draws on his knowledge of the local people and of human nature to solve the case. Meanwhile he continues his off-again, on-again romance with a daughter of the local gentry and attempts to stay out of hot water with his superiors, who resent his unpredictable approach to life and policing. Beaton's newest continues one of the finest, and most offbeat, police procedural series around.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

The Scottish village of Lochdubh successfully initiates a crime wave in order to get their one policeman, Hamish MacBeth, transferred back to town. Their harmless crime reports turn into something quite different when a wealthy, retired prostitute decides to write a tell-all biography, invite a few of her old lovers to town, and change her will. Lots of red herrings here, but Hamish finds the culprit and brings his little village back to relative peace, disturbed only by local bickering. It is this underlying grumbling as well as the ugly murders that ruin the beautiful setting and detract from the lightheartedness of Beaton's story. The cast of unpleasant people make it hard to care which one is guilty. Davina Porter offers a fine reading with her musical Scottish accent and flexible voice. Recommended for larger mystery collections. Juleigh Muirhead Clark, John D. Rockefeller, Jr. Lib., Colonial Williamsburg Fdn., VA
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars ANOTHER WONDERFUL HAMISH MACBETH MYSTERY... April 10 2012
By Lawyeraau TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Poor Hamish Macbeth, the Constable of the quaint village of Lochdubh, has been reassigned to a new post in the bustling and gritty city of Strathbane, since the village of Lochdubh is hardly a hotbed of criminal activity. Feeling put out and longing for village life, Hamish wonders if he is at all missed by those he has left behind. Little does he know that the villagers are planning to stage some criminal activity in hopes of getting him back home where he belongs. Hamish may be a bit lazy, but he is one of their own and they desperately want him back.

As luck would have it, they succeed, and Hamish returns just in time for him to find out who murdered Maggie Baird, middle-aged minx who was a new arrival to Lochdubh. Who could have done it? Was it her put upon, long suffering niece? Was it her four former lovers who were Maggie's house guests? All had motive and opportunity. Or was it some else altogether?

This is the fifth book in a series of cozy mysteries featuring lovable Highlander, Hamish Macbeth. In this book, village life takes center stage, and the village characters continue their development, giving the book that cozy feel. The book is also laced with sly humor throughout that is engaging, keeping the mood of the book light and highly enjoyable. As with all cozy mysteries, it is not so much the mystery that is of import but the characters that revolve around the mystery. While the mysteries are intriguing, they are the framework around which the characters evolve. With the oddly endearing Hamish Macbeth, the author has created a character that is bound to win many fans of the cozy mystery genre.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Book in the Hamish Macbeth Series! Jan. 11 2007
By Donald Mitchell #1 HALL OF FAME TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Mass Market Paperback
What's a hussy? The definition that fits this book is "an immoral woman." As you can imagine, hussies are not well regarded in the conservative Scottish highlands. Put a hussy in that locale, and the results can be explosive.

If you love Hamish Macbeth mysteries, you have a great treat ahead of you with Death of a Hussy. But if you haven't read any of the books in the series, you owe it to yourself to begin with the excellent, Death of a Gossip. Then go on to read the books in order of their publication. You'll enjoy the development of the ongoing characters better that way.

As the book opens, Hamish has been banished to Strathbane to be beat officer. His new partner there proves to be a good foil for lots of humor. But he misses Lochdubh. Feeling forlorn, rescue comes from an unexpected direction: New resident Maggie Baird suggests that the locals make up imaginary crimes to force the powers to be to send Hamish back . . . even though she's never met him. Strathbane capitulates and Hamish returns. Then the story leaps forward in time as Maggie retires from the scene to work on recovering her previous good looks from the days when she was a highly sought-after companion for rich men. Her timid niece, Allison, remains behind with one thing on her mind: Becoming a driver. Hamish is pressed into duty as her driving instructor. The book alternates between Hamish and Allison as the narrators, and the contrast enlivens the story development. Maggie unexpectedly returns, much thinner, more toned, with freshly dyed and cropped hair, and wearing expensive clothes. But she's in a bad mood. She has set up four of her former lovers in competition to marry her for her money. In the meantime, Maggie makes life difficult for Allison, her heir.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Another First Class Macbeth! Sept. 17 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Ms. Beaton is the queen of village mysteries, and each one of her Hamish Macbeth books is as delightful as the last. In this one, the story starts with Hamish living in Strathbane where he has been tranferred. He's not a happy man because he has had to move from his beloved Lochdubh. The villagers of Lochdubh aren't happy either, and they stage a number of "crimes" in their small village which forces the authorities to send Hamish and Towser back where they want to be. But in true Hamish fashion, murder seems to follow his reinstatement. One of the villagers is burned inside her car, and it's apparent to Hamish that it was murder. He opens up a whole wasp's nest of potential murderers, and it's up to Hamish to find the one who did it. This book is a delight - offbeat and funny.
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5.0 out of 5 stars First class MacBeth! June 18 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Once again, M.C. Beaton has produced a very entertaining mystery featuring Constable Hamish MacBeth, our favorite Highlands policeman. Rather short in length (again) but excellently plotted with lots of red herrings and amusing characters. Very enjoyable reading, highly recommended
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5.0 out of 5 stars A bonbon treat of a cozy. Dec 16 2002
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Short and sweet and jam-packed with fun, DEATH OF A HUSSY is the fifth in the series of Hamish Macbeth mysteries. There are some really colorful characters here. Beaton is so good at creating characters with both good and bad sides. Even the "hussy" has some good points -- and the combination of characters can be pretty funny. Satisfying conclusion. Thoroughly enjoyable.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Fast and Fun read Oct. 6 2002
By Moe811
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Hamish is stationed in Strathbane, due to the downsizing of constabularies in the Highlands. He is unhappy with living in the city and with the attitude of his new partner. The residents of Lochdubh are unhappy with the situation also. A new woman in town suggests that they stage a series of fake crimes to get him back, it works. Mrs. Baird is something of a femme fatale, encased in a layer of fat. She is a former professional hussy and has amassed a fortune with her looks. She has taken in a niece recovering from cancer, and turned her into a secretary, unpaid of course. When she goes away to restore her looks, her niece is charged with typing up her filthy memoirs. The girl wants to learn how to drive and to get a proper job, but Mrs. Baird forbids it. Hamish teaches her to drive and she is feeling independent until her aunt returns home and announces that she is getting married again and cutting the niece out of her will. She is killed shortly thereafter and the niece and Mrs. Baird's four suitors are the main suspects.
This is a typical Hamish McBeth book. The mystery isn't difficult, but the characters and story line are alot of fun.
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