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Death of a Scriptwriter [Mass Market Paperback]

M. C. Beaton
4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
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Book Description

June 1 1999 Hamish Macbeth Mysteries

With the lovely Priscilla Halburton-Smythe away in London, Lochdubh Constable Hamish Macbeth pines for company during the long Scottish winter. He gets his wish -- and more -- when a troupe of flashy, urbane filmmakers clamors into the nearby town of Drim. Before long bedlam erupts around their make-believe mystery ...and culminates in the sudden appearance of one very real corpse.

The initial suspect in the killing is one Patricia Martyn-Broyd, the aging mystery writer furious that her musty old cozies are getting a risque face-lift in their TV reincarnation. Yet, going behind the scenes, Hamish soon finds a town full of locals bitten by the movie bug and a cast of quarreling show business types, all harboring their own secrets, lies, and hidden agendas. And as the culprit strikes again, Hamish must quickly find the right killer -- or script the wrong finale to a show gone murderously awry.

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From Amazon

M.C. Beaton's 14th adventure featuring Hamish Macbeth, lovable local bobby of Lochdubh, Scotland, is a similar treat to her previous efforts. Macbeth feels a dismal foreboding when television film crews descend into his neighborhood to film a local author's out-of-print mysteries. Not only are they led by an overbearing and egotistical scriptwriter, but they have completely stood the original manuscript on its head. The producers have determined that a sexy, pot-smoking heroine will bring in more viewers than the genteel and circumspect detective true to the original. The author herself and the local Calvinist minister are not amused. Before too long, the scriptwriter, the shapely actress playing the lead, and her jealous husband all end up dead, confirming Macbeth's suspicions that the gloomy village of Drim and glamorous media types were a dangerously combustible mix.

The mystery itself seems straightforward enough, but Beaton has provided more than the usual number of suspects and subplots. All of these spike the reader's interest while her wicked characterizations of both the locals and the inhabitants of TV-land are hilarious, and very occasionally thought-provoking. The real strength of the book, and indeed Beaton's work in general, is the way in which she evokes the genuine isolation of Macbeth's rural Highlands and blends it with breezy renderings of murder, mayhem, and cozy cups of tea. In some ways it's a bit of an incongruous mix, but Beaton successfully keeps the tone on the lighter side. Death of a Scriptwriter will certainly intrigue mystery fans as well as those who have wondered about the creations of the PBS/BBC series Mystery! --K.A. Crouch --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Publishers Weekly

In his 14th bracing appearance, Scottish Highland police constable Hamish Macbeth (Death of a Dentist, 1997, etc.) investigates crimes visited upon those who tinker too much with a mystery series. Anxious to be back in print, elderly mystery writer Patricia Martyn-Broyd signs an options contract that cavalierly gives a television company all rights to her books. Poor Patricia should have read the small print. Her aristocratic heroine and staid story line are soon transformed into a wild 1960s romp, featuring buxom blonde actress Penelope Gates. Patricia is mad enough to murder the scriptwriter, Jamie Gallagher. She isn't alone. Penelope's jealous, often inebriated husband, Josh, is tired of his wife's clothes coming off in every part she plays. Jamie, Josh and Penelope all die in quick succession during location filming in the weird Scottish village of Drim, which is a mere stone's throw from lanky, laconic Hamish's hometown of Lochdubh. A good man cursed with a blustery, jealous superior and poor judgment in affairs of the heart, Hamish has a motley crew of actors and producers for suspects, in addition to the snooty yet vulnerable Patricia. There's a little less of Hamish himself this time out, and his romantic misfires feel cursory, but the environs are brooding and Beaton's affectionate wit remains dry and delightful. Mystery Guild featured alternate; author tour.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Hamish installment March 23 2014
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is another addition to an excellent series. I love this series ! the main character, Hamish , is a man content with his lot & more than happy with his life, someone I feel I have something in common with. I highly recommend this series.
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5.0 out of 5 stars THE PLOT THICKENS... April 18 2012
By Lawyeraau TOP 100 REVIEWER
Format:Mass Market Paperback
From the moment that a group of filmmakers arrive in a town near the village Lochdubh in northern Scotland, Constable Hamish Macbeth has his hands full. The filmmakers are there to film a television series based upon some genteel cozy mysteries. The author's work, however, has undergone a complete revamp at the hands of a completely odious scriptwriter, who has changed the author's work into an unrecognizable sexual romp.

It appears that the aging author, in her initial delight at having her cozy mysteries being singled to be televised, did not read the fine print of her contract. Needless to say, the author is outraged at this travesty and is without recourse, having to grin and bear it. After all, she did sign a binding contract giving the filmmakers the right to make any changes in her work they see fit. Moreover, to add fuel to the fire, it appears that the local yokels have become star struck and are acting somewhat foolishly.

As dead bodies start to pile up, the author, villagers, cast, and crew get a thorough going over by Hamish. There are many twists and turns in this book, as any number of the characters in the book have had some sort of axe to grind with the dead. As always, the journey to discover just who the murderer is is great fun. The book is peppered with sly humor, some dotty villagers, and enjoyable characters. Those characters who are bumped off are usually quite unlikable, leaving the reader with no regrets about their departure. In this fourteenth book of the Hamish Macbeth series of cozy mysteries, the author does not disappoint.

As with all cozy mysteries, it is not so much the mystery that is of import but the characters that revolve around the mystery.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Very Funny! May 9 2007
By Donald Mitchell #1 HALL OF FAME TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Lochdubh's finest, the ease-loving Police Constable Hamish Macbeth, finds himself wanting to help others reduce their loneliness in Death of a Scriptwriter. The only trouble is, no one thinks very much about his loneliness.

When English people come to Sutherland in the Scottish Highlands, they often don't adjust very well. Patricia Martyn-Broyd, a mystery writer, seems to be no exception. She sees herself as being socially above her neighbors and doesn't make any friends. Her writing has been out-of-print for some time, and she's suffering from writer's block. Ms. Martyn-Broyd also knows that her style of sedate, well-plotted mystery is no longer in favor. A momentary bright spot in her life comes when Hamish takes pity on her and they go trout fishing together without a license.

The writer's outlook is turned upside down, however, when a television producer, Harry Frame, decides to option her first mystery. She makes a classic mistake and signs the contract without advice. The television people are now free to take her title and characters and do with them as they want. Her refined detective, Lady Harriet Vere, is transformed by a lout of a bullying scriptwriter into a loose-living hippy in a sixties commune who tears her clothes off at the slightest provocation. The role will be played by a shapely, young actress, Penelope Gates, who is best known for baring all.

The production company gets the needed financing and heads north to scout locations. Hamish doesn't like the scriptwriter and recommends that dark den of negative passions, Drim. The fool takes Hamish's advice, and strong emotions are soon simmering as shooting begins.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Charming Hamish at his best. Feb. 8 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
In this book we see Hamish at his best. He's charming and endearing. This book portrays the life of an aging mystery writer in the way only M.C. Beaton can. A television company is going to serialize some of Patricia Murtyn-Broyd's old, out-of-print books, which puts Ms. Priscilla over the top. But then people begin mysteriously dying. Is this potential revial to her books going to go up in smoke? Hamish is on the case (minus his Priscilla this time), and you can bet he solves it, but not before uncovering more twists and turns and potential murderers than he knows what to do with. Again Hamish steals the book. He is the most endearing sleuth out there right now.
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5.0 out of 5 stars "HAMISH IS GREAT"!!!!!!! July 9 2001
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Another good book in the Hamish Macbeth series. I enjoy these much better than the Agatha Raisin books. A group from a TV production company come to Drim to film a TV show. The scriptwriter is killed. Who could have done it? Several has said they would kill him. Was it Fiona, Patricia, Angus or Josh? Inspector Blair believes it was __________. Hamish is not so sure, then someone else is killed. Who killed the second person? Was it Gervase, Fiona or Shella? Hamish keeps digging until he comes up with an answer. As usual Beaton writes so you can feel like you are there. I can see the mountains and the mist in my mind. The characters are great and seems so real. Will be glad to read the next book. If you have not, please read one of the Hamish Macbeth books, I think you will like it.
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