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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.

Frequently Bought Together

Death of a Scriptwriter + Death of a Poison Pen + Death of a Charming Man
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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 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 A truly, wonderful series! Oct. 12 1999
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I had bought a copy of Death of A Hussy a long time ago and never read it - keeping it in the back of my bookshelf. I tried to read her Agatha series but didn't like it so it kept me from reading her Hamish MacBeth series. I started getting books on tapes for the long drive to/from work and one of them was Death of A Charming Man, read by Davina Porter. I was hooked. Since then I have read all of the books after Charming Man and after I read Death of an Addict, I will go back and read all of the beginning books. Death of a Scriptwriter was very good and with each book, I have not been disappointed yet, with the mystery, with the descriptions of the Scottish Highlands and its people, of Hamish MacBeth. I hope M. C. Beaton forgets about Agatha and writes double time about Hamish! To think, I almost missed these terrific books! I would highly recommend reading the Hamish MacBeth series.
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5.0 out of 5 stars "HAMISH IS GREAT"!!!!!!! July 8 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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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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4.0 out of 5 stars Delicious satire on British "cozies" May 11 2000
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Readers who do not like M. C. Beaton's Hamish McBeth and Agatha Raisin mysteries are missing the point. DEATH OF A SCRIPTWRITER, like all the other books by this author (or committee) are glorious sendups of the traditional British whodunits and the fact that they are formulaic just adds to the suspense. Will Beaton be able to bring off still another of these elaborate practical jokes? My favorite so far is AGATHA RAISIN AND THE QUICHE OF DEATH. The title alone is worth the price of the hardcover book. I wait with bated breath for the next volume to be published and have already pre-ordered it from
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