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Death of a Gossip (Hamish Macbeth Mysteries) [Mass Market Paperback]

M. C. Beaton
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (109 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Feb 1999 Hamish Macbeth Mysteries
When a famous gossip columnist is murdered at the local fishing school, no one is ready to talk. It's up to Hamish Macbeth, with the inspiring assistance of the lovely Priscilla Halburton-Smythe, to sniff out the right rat amid all the cunning anglers with secrets to hide. But someone has baited a hook for him . . .
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Death of a Gossip (Hamish Macbeth Mysteries) + Death of a Perfect Wife (Hamish Macbeth)
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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Warner Books; Reprint edition (Feb 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0446607134
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446607131
  • Product Dimensions: 17.3 x 16.2 x 1.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (109 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 4,411,146 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

M C Beaton was born in Scotland. She worked for many years as a journalist on Fleet Street.

As well as the bestselling Agatha Raisin series, she is the author of the acclaimed Hamish Macbeth mysteries.

She divides her time between the Cotswolds, where she lives in a village very much like Agatha's beloved Carsely, and Paris.

Product Description


Beaton, a Scot herself, excels at giving readers a taste of Highland life and creating a believable character in the lonely, brilliant, continually frustrated-in-love Macbeth. (Booklist)

An enchanting series....M.C. Beaton has a foolproof plot for the village mystery. (New York Times Book Review)

Recommended for all mystery collections. (Library Journal)

Superb entertainment, as rich and warming as a fine malt whisky, and every bit as addictive (Houston Chronicle) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Book Description

The very first book in the bestselling Hamish Macbeth crime series - now in stunning new livery --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
"I hate the start of the week." said John Cartwright fretfully. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
39 of 42 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A good book 10 Sep 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This is the first in a series of mysteries featuring the detective work of small town, Highland Scottish detective Hamish Macbeth, P.C. In this story, John and Heather Cartwright's fishing school is thrown into confusion when the most unladylike Lady Jane Winters arrives. She seems to know the skeletons hidden in the closet of everyone attending the school, and is keen on letting everyone know it. In short order, Lady Jane becomes quite unpopular, and then quite dead. Now, it is up to Hamish to find out who did it and why.
My wife has been a big Hamish Macbeth fan for years, and finally I broke down and began to read them. This was not my favorite Hamish Macbeth book, but I did enjoy it. I liked the setting and the characters, and I especially liked the Cast of Characters list at the start of the book. So, if you are interested in a story set in modern Scotland, or just a good mystery, then I highly recommend this book to you.
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48 of 52 people found the following review helpful
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Death of a Gossip is the first book in the Hamish Macbeth mysteries by M.C. Beaton. I decided to read this book after having found many of the references to Hamish Macbeth's motives in the later books to be obscure and puzzling. I was pleased to find that Death of a Gossip does a fine job of setting up the premise for the series; outlining the characters of Hamish Macbeth and his friend, Priscilla Hallburton-Smythe; and establishing a plot structure for the future murder spree in the small village of Lochdubh in the northwestern Highlands of Scotland. If you want to understand those underpinnings, you definitely need to read this book.

However, the book is quite unlike the others in the series in important ways:

1. The premise behind the murder is much more thoughtful and better developed than in the following books.

2. The tension between the victim and the other characters is also better developed.

3. The interplay between Hamish and Priscilla is awkward and embarrassingly at the edge of prurience for burlesque purposes. In later books, this relationship is much better grounded and more interesting.

4. The detection involved is clumsy and disappointing. It's as though M.C. Beaton had missed the last class on how to write a mystery story. In the later books, the detection is a rewarding element of the stories. So this is an unusual false start.

I mention all of these things lest you fail to realize that you have better books ahead of you.

If you have read none of the Hamish Macbeth stories, I recommend you start with this one and read through them in the order that they were published. You'll enjoy the character development better that way.

Here's a thumbnail of the set-up.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars This is lovely. Or not 17 Jan 2013
I only dimly remember the name Hamish Macbeth from TV listings in the 90s, and I came to this with no preconceptions. I was happy to find myself reading the equivalent of a perfect Sunday night TV murder mystery: cosy, comfortable, traditional, just right!

This is an affectionate, if somewhat tongue-in-cheek homage to Agatha: the closed shop of suspects, all colourful characters, and all with secrets they're desperate to keep secret.

It's the sort of yarn in which, when someone says 'I'll kill her!' it later makes them a suspect. You get the idea.

But Agatha was more sinister, and Ruth Dudley Edwards is funnier. Iain Pears is cleverer.

I probably will read more of Hamish Macbeth, but I'll need to wait until I'm in a very particular sort of mood.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Death of a Gossip 9 Jan 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I was a little disappointed with this after having read the first few Agatha Raisin books which I found to be very entertaining. I had never watched the TV adaptation so wasn't sure what to expect. What I got was a rather mundane tale where the main character wasn't 'set out' in the way that Agatha Raisin is.

One problem is that the point of view changes quite often and you really don't get into the head of Hamish Macbeth at all. If you've read any of the Agatha Raisin books you'll know that hers is a very forceful point of view and you immediately get to know her character.

Other reviews have pointed out that this is not like others in the series so I'll probably have a go at some of the others to see what they're like but I have to admit that this was not what I expected at all.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I got this for 85p and thought I would enjoy it as I enjoyed the Agatha Raisin stories. But, really, it all felt a bit slow and going nowhere. Is this because it was the first one and therefore a bit introductory? Not sure.

There were a few redeeming features - I loved the fly fishing lessons (the explanatory bits), and one or two of the characters made me smile, but overall, I don't know that I will read any more in this series.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
This is the first book in the Hamish Macbeth cozy mystery series. While not the strongest book in the series in that both the mystery and the characters are not that well articulated or developed, it does set the groundwork for the books that are to come in this most enjoyable and utterly addictive cozy mystery series.

This book introduces to the reader Hamish Macbeth, a Highlander and local constable for the village of Lochdubh in Scotland, as well as the woman to whom he will lose his heart, Priscilla Halburton-Smythe. The mystery involves Lady Jane Winters, a notorious gossip columnist who meets an untimely death while vacationing in Lochdubh with a local fishing club. It seems that someone wanted desperately to silence her vicious yattering by whatever means necessary.

The reader sees Hamish bumbling his was around the powers that be in an attempt to solve the mystery that his boss and nemesis, Detective Chief Inspector Blair, is unable to solve. The methodology that Hamish employs to expose the killer is less methodical than in the rest of the series, as the character of Hamish Macbeth is still in a somewhat nascent stage. Still, it gives the reader a glimmer of the treats that are to come with this series, which is one that fans of the cozy mystery genre will enjoy.
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