Pardon me, but I found this title to be inapt for the book. The victim, John Heppel, is a bad writer, acts in inconsiderate ways, displays immense egotism, and is generally despicable. But I didn't find him boring . . . just obnoxious. The book, too, is anything but boring.
What distinguishes this book from the run-of-the-mill mystery is the marvelous satirical humor displayed throughout. Hamish Macbeth avoids promotion. His superiors prove to be incompetent, unhappy, and in some cases driven to drink in this book. You can quickly see why he would be skeptical of becoming more like these people. John Heppel wins prizes for his books, has a great story about his gritty beginnings and attracts the interest of those don't know writing. In reality, the man is a phony in every dimension. M.C. Beaton has fun with that point in other ways as a local villager becomes sought after for a book that will be written in Gaelic, a language few can read, but which will look impressive on coffee tables in England. Women keep setting their sights on marrying Hamish, but it doesn't take much to distract them. Hamish finds his dog to be a better companion. It's a marvelously Scottish way of looking at the world that you'll enjoy.
What's the story about? Hamish is deeply concerned for writer John Heppel when Hamish notices that Heppel is offering a writing class. Doesn't Heppel know there's good telly on that night? Hamish, in turn, is astonished to find out that virtually the whole village has signed up for the class, hoping to become famous. The classes turn out to be a disappointment when Heppel displays disdain for his students. Refund is the word most often heard among the curses. In fact, many of the villagers in Lochdubh are captured on film threatening Heppel. When Heppel turns up dead, suspicion centers on Lochdubh . . . but Hamish is unconvinced. He wants to know more about a script that Heppel has written for Down in the Glen, a soap opera about Scotland. Why won't anyone show him a copy?
One of the most delicious moments in the story comes when Hamish gets a lead on information about the television show but is compelled to take the source of his lead out for a drunken evening. Another delightful scene involves Hamish going clubbing with the new schoolteacher, Frida. There's also a wonderful mini-story about a haunted island that will have you chuckling.
The book isn't a five-star novel, however. Why not? The murder plot is pretty silly and won't satisfy you. But the satire will keep you entertained nicely.