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Death of a Sweep (Hamish Macbeth Murder Mystery) [Hardcover]

M. C. Beaton
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)

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Book Description

24 Feb 2011 Hamish Macbeth Murder Mystery
In the south of Scotland, residents get their chimneys vacuum-cleaned. But in the isolated villages in the very north of Scotland, the villagers rely on the services of the itinerant sweep, Pete Ray, and his old-fashioned brushes. Pete is always able to find work in the Scottish highlands, until one day when Police Constable Hamish Macbeth notices blood dripping onto the floor of a villager's fireplace, and a dead body stuffed inside the chimney. The entire town of Lochdubh is certain Pete is the culprit, but Hamish doesn't believe that the affable chimney sweep is capable of committing murder. Then Pete's body is found on the Scottish moors, and the mystery deepens. Once again, it's up to Hamish to discover who's responsible for the dirty deed - and this time, the murderer may be closer than he realizes. Praise for the "Hamish Macbeth" series: 'The much-loved "Hamish Macbeth series"is the beguiling blend of wry humour and sharp observations about rural life' - "Good Book Guide". 'It's always a special treat to return to Lochdubh' - "New York Times Book Review". 'The detective novels of M.C. Beaton, a master of outrageous black comedy, have reached cult status' - Anne Robinson, "The Times".

Product details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Constable; First edition (24 Feb 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1849010218
  • ISBN-13: 978-1849010214
  • Product Dimensions: 21.8 x 14.5 x 2.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 441,941 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


Great stuff, as usual. (Booklist)

Once again M C Beaton has concocted an amusing brew of mystery and romance that will keep her fans turning the pages. (Publishers Weekly) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Book Description

From the author of the ever-popular Agatha Raisin series, this is the 26th outing for the Highland's most famous PC, Hamish Macbeth. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Hamish and the many suspects 16 July 2011
I usually enjoy M.C. Beaton's work but this outing failed to impress though things start promisingly enough. In particular, the four main suspects (and their wives) weren't well enough described to hold much interest and the coupling of a silly plot with a violent series of crimes often meant for unpleasant going.

I'm a fan of cosy mysteries and I missed the usual warmth and humour of the Lochdubh community here, although readers used to more hard-boiled writing probably won't find too much awry.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Too much gore, preferred the mixture as before 23 Feb 2012
Lochdubh has always been a good place to get murdered, but in the good old days the murders were kept within bounds and the story was confined to the local community, with an attractive, authentic Highland setting and a rich set of characters.

This story is different. The violence is intense and indiscriminate, the worldwide setting feeble, the plot unbelievable, and some of the incidents read like a bad imitation of a James Bond novel, without the glamour.

Maybe it's time to pension off Hamish & Co. If this book is anything to go by, the seam is worked out. I say this with regret because I've loved the series so far, but I definitely don't like the direction this book takes it.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Mis-named and badly written 21 Mar 2012
The death of the sweep of the title happened - and was finished with - in Chapter 1. The rest of the book is a confusion of three or four subplots, mostly totally unbelievable. We travel the world and what made most of the series enjoyable - Lochdubh and its characters - are left behind. I will not be buying any further Hamish Macbeth books.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars As you might expect... 24 Jun 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I enjoy reading the Hamish Macbeth mysteries - as another reviewer has said, they are cosy. Coming from Scotland I enjoy the local nuances and language, however this also creates many of its problems. The Scottishisms are clichéd and Beaton uses the same awful ones over and over again (the sibilance coming into Hamish's voice immediately springs to mind). The characterisation of Scottish people is often very accurate, but the wee bits of 'flavour' which may have been amusing in the first 10 books have started making me cringe.

The actual stories have never been particularly well written - certainly not clever, but comfortable, enjoyable easy-reading. This one was slightly poorer than others and I was less interested in the case. I'm also revolted that it came out months earlier in America than in Britain, simply for the reason that it appeals so highly to the sort of people Beaton derides in the books (tweedy Englishmen venturing to Scotland because they think its quaint, dreamy etc.)

If you have read and enjoyed all the other Macbeths then you may find this quite enjoyable, but they are certainly on the decline....
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars NOT VINTAGE, BUT ENJOYABLE 4 Aug 2011
No hanging around here. By page 10 two are dead and Hamish suspended. Good riddance to unscrupulous con artist Captain Davenport, found stuffed up a chimney. Shame about humble sweep Peter Ray - wrong place, wrong time.

Ahead lies a little more than normal of everything. The case takes longer to solve (though fewer pages), more places are involved, the body count higher.

Locally based chapters remain the main attraction, Hamish literally in his element. Always uplifting is the thought of him going about his duties, often accompanied by his two pets - a wild cat called Sonsie and Lugs the dog with ears like Dumbo. Then there are the familiar residents, by now regarded by many faithful readers as friends.

Less happy perhaps are some of the scenes elsewhere - especially when Hamish, not for the first time, is breaking into property or disguised.

Addicts (I one, having read 22 of the 26 books) will find much to enjoy, but some may feel uneasy about the direction taken in later chapters. They seem a little out of control, almost as though improvised whilst being written. (Humble apologies to M.C. Beaton if they had in fact been carefully planned.)

It feels a betrayal to carp when the long running series gives so much pleasure! DCI Blair may seem well past his sell-by date and the villains may not exactly convince, but Hamish himself remains a joy. One warms to the maverick policeman ever showing compassion, he so adept at looking the other way if discretion is required and no good can result. He serves Lochdubh and surrounding villages well, as indeed he does the reader.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A waste of reading time 4 Feb 2014
I have all the Hamish books... And agatha raisin series ... and I have noticed that the latest books in both series are not a patch on the former ones. I think MC Beaton must be losing her touch. The death of a sweep was wishy washy, rambling, badly written and boring. The characters were lifeless. The setting was hardly worthy of a few sentences as the plot jumped from place to place but hardly in the village. I wanted to shake the main character and Macbeth. I vowed I would not buy another macbeth after the last one, but I did, my mistake. I wish I hadn't.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Silly 15 Jan 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The sweep in question is rather incidental as his murder is a by product (wrong time, wrong place) of the murder of a conman ex-army captain. This leads on to an outlandish revenge spree and some serious law breaking by Hamish. This is still a good read but having read all the other books I didn't like how delinquent Hamish was in this book.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
My wife bought this book and enjoyed it very much.
Published 6 days ago by Minder
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Hamish Macbeth again
Another excellent Hamish Macbeth I love them
Published 1 month ago by carol
5.0 out of 5 stars Great continuation
I have thoroughly enjoyed this series of books as I did also with the hahaha raisin series. very easy reading, perfect for my night time read before bed time.
Published 3 months ago by Ms. S. K. Lee
5.0 out of 5 stars sootie.
Once again a brilliant book by a fantastic writer. I have said all there is to say about these books and nothing has changed. One to enjoy folks.
Published 5 months ago by sweetjoy
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Good Story
I never get tired of reading the Hamish Macbeth stories and have enjoyed this one as much as all the others.
Published 5 months ago by Ann Barker
2.0 out of 5 stars Oh dear...
I have lots of M C Beaton's Hamish Macbeth books, (and Agatha Raisin). The prose style can sometimes be irritatingly staccato, with several very short sentences following each... Read more
Published 12 months ago by DaftOldBesom
5.0 out of 5 stars Death of a ...
Loved this. Hamish is as good as ever and the story had a good couple of tense moments in it. Without giving away any of the plot I was glad about the way things turned out. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Mephis1
5.0 out of 5 stars Always good
If you read one book you'll buy them all.
Easy enjoyable reading set in the Highlands of Scotland and the lone copper who solves the big crimes.
A winning formula.
Published 13 months ago by Douglas G. Young
5.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining & Well Constructed
The plot was well constructed and the characterisations very good. Although the foreign sections were a little bit less convincing. Read more
Published 14 months ago by James Eaglesham
5.0 out of 5 stars Book
I was pleased to receive this copy to add to my collection of the Hamish Macbeth series They are a good read
Published 15 months ago by A Payne
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