I know I’ve mentioned (a whole lot of times!) that M. C. Beaton has been one of my very favorite Cozy Mystery authors for many years. She writes not one, but two series which I considered my very favorite series. Quite a while ago, I started reading the Agatha Raisin books, and I loved them. Then I discovered the Hamish Macbeth Mystery Series, the first books of which were published way back in the mid 1980s (even before the Agatha Raisin series), and I loved them even more!
Even though both of these series began so long ago, M. C. Beaton continues to write new books and both series are often still recommended by site readers.
I recently re-read the first of the Hamish books, Death of a Gossip as part of my quest to read or re-read the first books of some of the most popular and recommended Cozy Mystery series. In Death of a Gossip, we are introduced to the red-haired, laconic and seemingly lazy Hamish Macbeth, the only constable in the small Scottish village of Lochdubh.
The setup for the story is that of a very classic Cozy Mystery: in this case, a small number of strangers are thrown together in a small group to spend a week learning how to fish in the Scottish Highlands. Before you know it, one of the party is murdered, and just about everyone else is a potential suspect with at least a plausible motive to have hated the victim enough to kill. Of course, big town detectives are called in the try to solve the crime, but Hamish is able to outwit the killer and beat the police detectives to the solution — even though Hamish was told not to work on the case.
The book also introduces a potential love interest for Hamish (the daughter of the local rich land owner), Hamish’s beloved dog Towser, and a number of other people who live in the small town.
This is a short (less than 200 pages) and fun read with a tight plot, interesting characters and very little extraneous material. It is the kind of book that leaves me wanting more, and luckily, there are 27 more books in the series so there is, indeed, a lot more! I highly recommend the Hamish Macbeth Mystery Series by M. C. Beaton.
By the way, there was a British TV series produced in the 1990s with some of the same characters, but don’t expect a strong correlation between the two. The location is the same, but Hamish in the shows is not too similar to Hamish in the books. I did enjoy the TV shows but only after accepting that I was not going to see the Hamish that I had always imagined when reading the books. The Hamish Macbeth TV series is available on Acorn TV.