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on 18 February 2005
This is the eleventh in a series of mysteries featuring the detective work of small town, Highland Scottish detective Hamish Macbeth, P.C. In this story, Hamish sets out for a quiet (and cheap) vacation at the North Sea resort town of Skag. However, when he discovers the body of one of his fellow vacationers (a loud-mouthed nag of a husband), Hamish suddenly finds himself the prime suspect in a murder investigation. And so, with his faithful dog Towser in tow, Macbeth sets out to find out who caused the death of a nag.
My wife has been a big Hamish Macbeth fan for years, and she has now brought me into the fold. This was not my favorite Hamish Macbeth novel, in particular I found the ending sadly cynical, but I did enjoy reading it. I liked the setting and the characters, and think that M.C. Beaton is an excellent. 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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VINE VOICEon 19 January 2001
In "Death of a Nag," M.C. Beaton returns with her eleventh Hamish Macbeth mystery, and he is continuing to keep Lochdubh safe and sound. And the Scottish Highlands couldn't be in better hands! Aside from his on-again, off-again romance with Priscilla Halburton-Smythe, Macbeth takes his responsibilities quite seriously (there are those in the village who think of him as lazy, no-good, and quite irresponsible for "letting" Priscilla go!). In this episode, Macbeth has taken off a few days
to "recharge his batteries," but, alas, the charming seaside resort (Friendly House) is teeming with the usual Beaton characters. Macbeth finds the company tiresome, the food inedible, and, sure enough, a body: that of one of the guests, a terrific nag. And who better is the suspect that the victim's wife, whom he publically ridiculed (and nagged!). Beaton makes sure that all of the characters are suspects (a "regular" ingredient of Beaton's works!), but only Macbeth is able to sort
out the culprit. Charming, easy-to-read, and worthwhile.
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on 26 July 2014
Following the break off of his engagement to Priscilla Hamish finds himself feeling somewhat rejected by the locals, so decides to take a holiday in a small town on the Moray Firth. At the cheap B&B he finds himself once again drawn into a murder enquiry, when one of the guests, a terrible nag, is found drowned with an obvious blow to the head having occurred.
This was perhaps a little different to the books before it, with very little movement in the story of Hamish's personal life, and more time therefore on the murder plot. As usual (so far) there are two murders. As usual, Hamish uses his laid back methodology and wide range of contacts to eventually work out the murder. That familiarity though is part of what is good about these books, they're like an old friend, and an easy comfortable read. This one came close to challenging that, and for once, it was easy to feel sorry for the murderer.
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on 9 April 2016
Ah, Hamish is back and the plot is perfect. Who killed the nagging Bob Harris who has nothing good to say to anyone? I must admit, I knew the answer but could not figure out the motive till the end when Hamish revealed it. The story moves along at a fairly good clip.
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on 24 July 2015
I really love the Hamish MacBeath books and this one is no exception. I also love the new set of covers for the series and that this has- beautiful- Highland ponies on the front is not lost on me ( Death of a Nag)- someone had fun with that one. The quirky way the story is told is addictive and I always feel sad to have finished each book. Looking forward to the next one.
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on 18 August 2015
Actually bought by mistake when my Kindle was not responding as usual, but as I had read earlier books I decided to keep it. The book is exactly what you expect from this series, easy to read, but one distressing event made me wish I'd stopped at book 10. As usual, hard to picture the author's version of Hamish MacBeth when you've seen TV's Robert Carlisle.
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on 1 September 2009
I like M.C. Beaton's 'Agatha Raisin' the grouchy, feisty, middle-aged amateur detective, but I find the Hamish Mcbeth books even more enjoyable. If you want a 'serious' crime novel, look elsewhere, but if you are out for a lighthearted, often tongue-in-cheek whodunnit, this series is for you!
In 'Death of a Nag' we follow Hamish on a coastal holiday to get away from the villagers' disapproval of his break-up with Priscilla. But, of course holiday it is not - before he knows it Hamish finds himself involved in a case of murder amongst his fellow lodgers in a cheap, but sadly not cheerful B&B. Red herrings, side plots and human nature make for an entertaining read. And the ending is truly and wickedly malicious! Well done again, M.C. Beaton!
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on 30 July 2014
I have always read Agatha Raisin and loved this character - I never thought I would feel the same about Hamish but I do. This book was a joy to read and I could not put it down. MC Beaton at her best the twists and turns are in it throughout great story and an easy read - but it will get you hooked....
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on 19 August 2015
This was definitely not my favourite Hamish Macbeth book. As someone mentioned previously, it does seem to have been written hastily with no time for revision. Apart from repetitive vocabulary, there are a couple of loose ends there too. What I dislike most about this novel though is Hamish's approach to domestic violence. In one place he says that there are women 'who can make men into bullies'. This justification of domestic violence against women is absolutely outrageous even considering that the novel was initially published 20 years ago. Then there are also procedural things such as interviewing people together (and recording this), which should never happen. I hope the next book will be better.
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This is the 11th Hamish Macbeth mystery. At the end of Death of a Charming Man, Hamish breaks his unofficial engagement with Priscilla. It wasn't just that she tried to run his life; she was too good at it! Also, Priscilla couldn't warm up to him at male-female level which left him feeling bereft. Naturally, the sturdy citizens of Lockdubh and his police colleagues think that Hamish must have lost his mind. He gets full blame for the breakup. Hamish is also demoted back to police constable for his mistake at the end of Death of a Charming Man. Feeling pretty bad, he decides he needs a wee holiday. Finding a low-priced boarding house in Skag, Hamish heads off with Towser.

Arriving in Skag, Hamish finds that he's jumped out of the pot into the fire. The boarding house (so-called Friendly House) serves inedible food that seems spoiled, and the owners are openly hostile. Not only that, someone has been into his things. His next-door neighbors never stop arguing, and the husband is always nagging his wife about something or the other. The only respite comes when Hamish slugs the nag in self-defense and threatens to kill him if he doesn't stop on his wife. Naturally, the husband calls in the local constabulary. Hamish is saved from jail by the wife's willingness to defend him. After that contretemps, Hamish tries to organize outings with the more amiable of the fellow guests and starts to have a good time . . . when he suddenly spots the nag's body in the water. Naturally, Hamish is suspect number one . . . until a retired teacher gives him an unexpected alibi.

Hamish finds himself drawn into the investigation, but he's got a tagalong, police constable Maggie Donald, who wants to use her female wiles to get ahead. Through some pretty unusual detective methods, Hamish begins to uncover the secrets of his fellow boarders . . . and plenty of motives for murder.

Before the book is done, Hamish has suffered another great loss. The book concludes on a sad note that strikes against optimism about love conquering all.

In many ways, this story has better development than most of ten books that preceded it. But the book lacks charm and appeal. Frankly, it's a bit of a downer.

But for a continuing series, this story fits nicely and lays the groundwork for further series developments that I'm sure will reward readers in the future.

But if you don't feel like you need to read every book in the series, you could skip this one.

I usually devour one the Hamish Macbeth books at one sitting. In this case, I found myself going very slowly. It was just such a downer. I give Ms. Beaton great credit for being able to capture that mood and transmit it to me.

Ultimately, the story's weakness is that the characters aren't very attractive. Even the ones you don't like in a normal Hamish Macbeth story are interesting enough that you want to know more about them. In this case, I didn't find any of the new characters to be particularly interesting.
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