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on 2 July 2003
This is the eighteenth in a series of mysteries featuring the detective work of small town, Highland Scottish detective Hamish Macbeth, P.C. When a television star attempts to make a career by exposing all of the secrets hidden in the quiet Highlands, she quickly becomes the most hated woman around. And when she turns up murdered, it's up to Hamish Macbeth to find who the murderer is. But, this is no simple case; suspects abound, and Hamish finds that he is getting the unwanted help of the local newspaper's astrologer! Can Hamish unravel this particularly tough knot? You bet!
I now consider myself something of a Hamish fan (thanks to my loving wife), and I must say that I deeply enjoyed this book. As with all of the other Hamish Macbeth books, I enjoyed the stories, the setting and the interesting characters. I wasn't totally thrilled with the inclusion of a psychic character, but it didn't ruin the story for me. Overall, I thought that this is a great book, and I highly recommend it to you.
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on 5 February 2002
An imminent Texas book critic has called M.C. Beaton the "Barbara Cartland" of police procedurals, if not in quantity in formula! That said, of course, readers of Beaton's Hamish Macbeth series will once again welcome her newest addition, "Death of a Celebrity," the 18th episode about her affable and honest constable from the
affable yet murderous village of Lochdubh somewhere in the Scottish Highlands.
To call "Death of a Celebrity" a "Scottish fling" would be a bad pun, but still. Once again, an outsider has come to the fair village, this time in the role of an irritating local television host who revels in making people miserable. Insufferable herself, TV "star" Crystal French sets about offending yea and nay, giving just about everyone but the Archbishop in Edinburgh a motive for killing her. In true Beaton style (and by page 30), we have our corpse.
Enter our Hamish, still a-fretting about his long lost love Priscilla Halburton-Smythe who's just announced her impending marriage to another, who quickly lines up "all the usual suspects." Thus, Beaton treats us to another littany of local characters, many of whom we've met in previous episodes (after all Lochdubh is a small village!).
Thus, working alone, working with a new boss, and working with a new romantic interest, Macbeth bounces here and there and eventually it is his insight, his perseverance, his knowledge of human nature that lead him, inevitably, to the solution
No surprises here, of course, and perhaps the Beaton followers (and I'm one of them) don't want or expect anything else. A P.D. James or Ruth Rendell she is not; but her fans don't confuse her with those two. They love her as she is.
If you want predictability and you do not wish to have to think about solving the case, any and all of the Hamish Macbeth books are for you. They're fun to read. (Billyjhobbs@tyler.net)
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on 13 September 2015
This is the 18th Hamish Macbeth book in this long running murder mystery series and sadly after reading this book the series seems to be getting a bit tired, plots are getting boring, characters bland and predictable
The small highland village of Lochdubh is quiet and anonymous until a television company takes interest in all the scandals that have happened there over the years making the reporter Crystal French a rather unpopular person. As usual the suspects are numerous and it is Macbeth versus the big boys at Strathbane CID.
The book failed to grasp my attention and as the plot meandered round and round, I got the impression that the plot was drawn out just so the author could fulfill her word quota set by the publisher.
Having read all the previous Hamish books, I am inclined to give the next one a go but with this one I was really close to giving up on it, only persevering because I don't give up on books lightly and with it being part of a series I felt obliged to finish it. The most disappointing Hamish book so far.
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This is the eighteenth book in a series of cozy mysteries featuring lovable Highlander, Hamish Macbeth, in charge of law and order in the village of Lochdubh and its environs in the north of Scotland. The book is laced with sly humor throughout that is engaging, and the dialogue creates a feeling of authenticity of place, making the book highly enjoyable. One does not read these books for their literary value. One reads them purely for the fun of it.

As always, the author kills off a thoroughly unlikable character. This time, the deceased is an ambitious tabloid TV news reporter who had a personal beef with Hamish after he stopped her for speeding. The deceased had also been hell bent on exposing highland village scandals for her muckraking television segments in hopes of a ratings boost, a fact that did not sit well with many of the locals. Moreover, the deceased also had professional and personal issues with those with whom she worked. So, suspects abound, as Hamish, once again, tries to separate the wheat from the chaff and come up with the murderer.

While trying to figure out just who the murderer is, Hamish is assisted by Elspeth Grant, who writes the horoscope column for the local newspaper and is clearly interested in Hamish, though he is still trying to get over his breakup with the coolly beautiful and patrician Priscilla Halburton-Smythe. As with all cozy mysteries, it is not so much the mystery that is of import but the characters that revolve around the mystery, and the characters are certainly quirky and entertaining, adding to the charm of the series. With the oddly endearing Hamish Macbeth, the author has created a character that is a winner. I love this series of cozy mysteries!
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Death of a Celebrity is a nice change of pace for the Hamish Macbeth series. Instead of constantly battling with Detective Chief Inspector Blair over access to evidence and suspects and ultimately over credit for solving cases, Hamish receives what are mostly encouragement and help from Detective Chief Inspector Carson of Inverness while Blair is away. M. C. Beaton does one of her best jobs ever of portraying the differences between the ugliness of Strathbane and the beauty of Lochdubh.

Scandal, scandal, everywhere, and not an apology is heard: That could be the epigram for this story. Muckrakers from Strathbane television (who have their own bad deeds to hide) decide to make a splash to gain ratings by exposing every peccadillo they can find among the Highland communities. Even false accusations are dug up to be repeated on air.

And the presenter of this nasty show is the beautiful, unscrupulous, and unpleasant Crystal French (who doesn't understand that her sleeping around has been hurting her television career). Elspeth Grant, who writes the horoscopes in the Highlands, is sure someone is going to kill Crystal. That's not the last of Elspeth's prediction that will turn out to be true. Once Crystal is dead, Hamish quickly spots that her apparent suicide has been faked. But with few clues, Hamish must sort through those who hated Crystal (pretty much anyone who ever met her). In the process of checking on alibis and motives, Hamish keeps turning up more and more possible reasons and opportunities for mayhem.

Hamish has sworn off women, but this attitude has helped attract women to him in record numbers for an M. C. Beaton novel. You'll be roaring with laughter as you read the horoscopes that Elspeth puts out to try to influence Hamish to pay attention to her.

The humor is needed because the backdrop of human greed, abuse, and misery would otherwise make this book pretty much of a downer. Ms. Beaton must not be much a television fan because she couldn't portray the television characters as much darker than she does.

Fans of Hamish Macbeth will love this story. If you haven't read any of the other books in the series, you could read this one and it would make perfectly good sense. But you'll find the story darker than if you have read the earlier books.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 13 January 2014
This is a relaxing read. Hamish is investigating the murder of a local muck raking TV journalist who has more enemies, including Hamish, than anyone can count due to her personality and interviewing style. As with all Ms Beaton's book's Hamish is either aided or handicapped by the villagers (depending on your point of view), fails in the romance stakes and solves the crime. This is all done with wry humour and a message about the consequences of journalism's wider excesses. If you like well done, undemanding reading this may be the book for you.
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on 10 November 2009
as usual with this author's books I found it amusing, and extremely well written, one really gets to know the characters and care what happens to them
Hamish is a delight.
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on 15 September 2013
M C Beaton does it again with another Hamish. This time a TV presenter decides to go on a muck raking trip and tries to discover peoples secrets and make a TV series out of it. Before she gets to far, she is murdered and it is left to Hamish to catch the killer or killers!!!

Good read. Would recommend.
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Spiteful, self-loving Crystal French is in her element - presenting for Strathbane Television a series of programmes belittling village life. Local shops are mocked, crofters humiliated. Next she intends to expose shocking secrets.

No wonder she is soon dead, but others plan to continue her work....

Already Hamish Macbeth is depressed, news reaching him that Priscilla is engaged. Now he is alarmed by the way people he respects are reacting to the threat of on-screen revelations. One suicide is attempted, another succeeds. Movingly Lochdubh residents come up trumps, united in grief at the loss of one of their own. Note Hamish's eulogy at the funeral - stinging condemnation of those who caused the tragedy.

Yes, this eighteenth novel has sombre undercurrents. It also contains much that delights. It is hard not to warm to DCI Carson (Blair being on holiday), he with growing respect for the unconventional constable's shrewdness and laid-back way of life. Then there is reporter Elspeth Grant, whose help proves invaluable. Gypsy blood runs through her veins. Those published horoscopes may be suspect, but she has powers - as Hamish learns most dramatically.

Hamish now seems resigned to being unlucky in love, but still he finds so much to enjoy. An early novel had him turning cartwheels when happy. Something this time has him rolling on the grass, shrieking with laughter. You too may be convulsed by what so amused him.

A delightful addition to a series that so richly entertains.
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on 21 April 2011
Crystal French from Strathbane Television is upsetting people in and around Lochdubh by raking up old scandals and broadcasting them on television. Several people, including journalist Elspeth Grant, are predicting that she might get more than she bargained for if she keeps turning over stones to see what crawls out from under them. Then Crystal is found dead in what appears to be a case of suicide. Hamish Macbeth is not so sure and believes it is murder.

What follows is a complex plot involving feuds and illicit liaisons in the television company and one or two unsuspected crimes in Lochdubh and the surrounding villages. I enjoyed this story and loved the way the villagers always rally round in an emergency. Hamish's always strained relationship with his colleagues is well done. The irascible Blair is not in evidence in this story and Hamish's detective skills are appreciated by his temporary replacement.

Whilst this series is better read in order each novel does stand alone and can be read out of order though Hamish's many girlfriends - past and present - can become confusing! The book is well written and amusing at times. The characters are well drawn and realistic as well as being interesting and at times eccentric. I recommend it if you like your crime stories to focus on character and motivations rather than graphic violence
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