Mark's Reviews > Death of a Chimney Sweep

Death of a Chimney Sweep by M.C. Beaton
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May 18, 2012

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If one wants empirically-defensible, psychologically-nuanced crime writing then M.C. Beaton's Hamish Macbeth books aren't your cup of tea (or dram of whiskey). They're wildly improbable and this one is maybe the most improbable one I've read. It's chock full of coincidences, intuitions, unlikely connections, weak motives, and brisk writing (a code word in some reviews for not well-developed, superficial even?) that sometimes makes you wish for a tougher editor. OK, they're light and not so believable, but always a hoot. Beaton knows the land (northwest highlands of Scotland) and the people there, and she's quite savage and witty in her depictions of both. One of Hamish's neighbors, for example, is a lonely doctor's wife who fancies herself a thwarted literary star, giving Beaton the chance to ridicule both the publishing business and ambition in general.

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