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Death of a Travelling Man [Mass Market Paperback]

M.C. Beaton
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)

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Book Description

June 1 1996 Hamish Macbeth Mystery
"ENTRANCING . . . A GEM."
--Ocala Star-Banner
Hamish Macbeth's life is going to pot. He's been promoted (horrors!), his boss is a dunce, and--to add insult to injury--a sinister self-proclaimed gypsy and his girlfriend have parked their rusty, eye-sore-of-a-van in the village.
Hamish smells trouble and as usual he's right. The doctor's drugs go missing. Money vanishes. Neighbors grow suddenly unneighborly. And when the unsavory newcomer is murdered, Hamish regrets it only because his bones tell him the killer may be one of his friends.
Nobody wants to volunteer even a scrap of useful information, so canny Hamish single-handedly sets about the delicate work of worming the facts out of his neighbors. Yet in the process he uncovers a story so bizarre that neither he nor the villagers may ever recover from it. . . .
"EXCELLENT.. . . A cast of winning characters."
--Publishers Weekly
"Scottish writer M. C. Beaton develops the locals with humor and verve."
--The Christian Science Monitor

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From Publishers Weekly

In this excellent, eighth Hamish Macbeth mystery, the slightly lethargic, tousle-haired village copper in the Scottish Highlands has been promoted against his will. As Sergeant, he makes more money, but must suffer more work as well, not to mention the enthusiasm of his new helper, Police Constable Willie Lamont. Hamish rescues a young boy from the river and saves some stranded mountain climbers; he listens to a minister confess wavering faith, is plagued by a superior who resents his promotion and has repeated run-ins with a drifter who parks his van behind the minister's manse. The "devastatingly handsome" drifter charms four women out of their money and harasses Hamish's ladylove, Priscilla. When the bounder's body is found after a fatal bludgeoning, Hamish seeks out the young man's rock-singer girlfriend and unhappily discovers a blackmailing scheme that incriminates some locals. Beaton ( Death of a Glutton ) pens a cast of winning characters, even the pesky, malaprop Willie (whose aunt lives "in a condom in San Francisco"). But the star, as always, is the slow-moving, quick-witted Hamish.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Beaton's eighth mystery featuring Scottish police constable Hamish MacBeth is every bit as charming, humorous, and clever as the first seven. This time MacBeth acquires a new sidekick, P. C. Willie Lamont, who has less talent for police work than for cleaning, polishing, and scrubbing. His insistence on keeping the police station spotless is driving MacBeth mad. But Hamish has other troubles: his lady friend, Priscilla, is being standoffish, and a handsome drifter named Sean has arrived in Lochdubh and seems to be a catalyst for evil. When Sean is brutally murdered, Hamish has the difficult task of finding his killer without upsetting Lochdubh's placid way of life or his police superiors in Strathbane. As usual, Beaton makes Lochdubh and its inhabitants come alive; the characters are wonderfully original; the plot is cleverly crafted and intriguing to the end; there's lots of laugh-aloud humor; and even the darker, bleaker parts of the story (and there are some) only add to its overall appeal. Emily Melton --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a great series March 23 2014
Format: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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4.0 out of 5 stars Rank Struggles Feb. 16 2007
By Donald Mitchell #1 HALL OF FAME TOP 50 REVIEWER
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Death of a Travelling Man is the ninth novel in the Hamish Macbeth series of comic mysteries by M.C. Beaton. Before describing the book, I strongly urge you to not start your reading of the series with this book. The subjects in this book reflect important transitions in the series, and you won't find the book nearly as entertaining as a standalone novel rather than a continuation. Stop reading here if you haven't read the earlier books!

At the end of Death of a Glutton, Police Constable Hamish Macbeth was still trying to get the central heating for his Lochdubh police station home that Chief Inspector Blair had promised in exchange for getting credit for solving an earlier murder. Anxious to get the central heating, Hamish took credit for a gutsy bluff that solved the death of the glutton. His reward? He was promoted to Sergeant and Police Constable Willie Lamont was assigned to "assist" him and live in the police station's spare bedroom.

Rarely since Shakespeare has anyone painted a portrayal of a person in power with greater comic wit than M.C. Beaton does with Willie Lamont. Three main gags dominate: Willie's desire to keep things neat and tidy; Willie's malapropisms; and Willie's idea of a romantic life.

Much of the pleasure of Willie's appearances is spoiled, however, by the portrayal of Hamish as being very upset by Willie. No one could be upset by Willie.

As the book opens, Hamish spots a recycled hippy van parked where it's not allowed. Planning to hurry the van and its occupants right out of town, Hamish is surprised to find that the driver, Sean Gourlay, is young, handsome, and well off. Gourlay is accompanied by a very foul-mouthed Cheryl Higgins who loves to shout "pig!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent and Very Entertaining Nov. 25 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Death of a Travelling Man is an excellent addition to the Hamish Macbeth series. In it we see a newly promoted Hamish trying to put up with a trying police constable (P.C Willie Lamont). All Hamish wants is the privacy of his home back without the arduous efforts at cleaning by Willie. A man can't even relax in his home - Hamish thinks. Then something happens to really upset the applecart in the village of Lochdubh. A "traveller" arrives in town, and seems intent on staying. Hamish, for some reason can't stand the man, but all the village ladies seem to think he's marvellous, at first. Then it appears that some of the women in town have had a sudden change in personality, and the peace of Locdubh is ruined. When Sean, the traveller, is found bludgeoned to death in his trailer (or caravan as the English call it), Hamish can't help breathing a sigh of relief, but peace doesn't return and he realizes that it won't until he finds the killer. Hamish is his usual lovable and charming self, but he finds he has to get tough with some long term Locdubh residents in order to get to the truth. This is probably one of my favourite Hamish stories so far.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Death of a Travelling Man April 3 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
"Death of a Travelling Man" is the ninth Hamish Macbeth mystery by M. C. Beaton, a series set in the Scottish highlands in the town of Lochdubh. Hamish has been promoted to sergeant, and has a helper in P.C. Willie Lamont. With so little crime in Lochdubh Willie is usually either cleaning the station or spending time at the Italian restaurant with the lovely Lucia. Sean Gourlay and his girlfriend Cheryl Higgins roll into Lochdubh in an old bus converted into a travelling home. Hamish knows they are trouble and orders them to leave. The townspeople think he is being too harsh, and the pair soon park their bus in back of minister Wellington's home. Soon after their arrival, many of the women of the town start acting strangely. Four vials of morphine vanish from Dr. Brodie's office and one hundred pounds disappear from the Mother's Union. Then Sean is found murdered in the bus. Who killed him? Was it one of the women of the town whom Sean had been blackmailing? Was it Willie Lamont, who learns that Lucia had kissed Sean Gourlay? Could it have been Sean's girlfriend, Cheryl? Hamish once again sorts through everything and solves the murder. An interesting turn takes place in Hamish's relationship with Priscilla Halburton-Smythe. "Death of a Travelling Man" is an excellent novel and a very entertaining read.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A fun Hamish Mac Beth mystery Aug. 29 2002
By Moe811
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Hamish is trying to deal with his promotion and new constable Willie. Willie is a clean freak and is driving the laconic Hamish crazy. The police station is also abnormally busy. Two travellers arrive in the village in a beat up bus. Everyone but Hamish seems to be charmed by the couple. The local reverend even lets him park his bus on the grass next to the manse. Then odd crimes occur. Money is stolen from the Mother's Union fund, and morphine is missing from Dr. Brodie's office. Priscilla's scarf is taken, then found, and finally, the Currie sisters have put their house up for sale. Mrs. Brodie, Mrs. Wellington, and Jessie Currie are miserable. Hamish thinks that it has something to do with the Travelling Man. Soon after, Sean turns up dead, beaten to death with a sledge hammer. Hamish is terribly afraid that one of the villagers committed the crime.
This was a funny mystery. Hamish is lazy on the outside and busy in his mind as usual. Willie's romance with the beautiful Lucia is hysterical. I love the way his scrubs his way into her heart. Hamish's devious solving of the crime without effort or getting promoted is very entertaining.
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