George Shirer's Reviews > Death of a Chimney Sweep

Death of a Chimney Sweep by M.C. Beaton
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Jul 07, 2012

did not like it

I have been in an abusive relationship with M.C. Beaton. Despite the fact that her books continue to leave me battered and fuming, I kept coming back for more.
Well, not after this. After this awful book, I am ending my relationship with M.C. Beaton.
The characters in this book are unsympathetic, idiotic louts who do incredibly stupid things. From the main character, Macbeth, whose Highland instincts let him 'sense evil' to Millie Davenport, the milksop-of-a-wife of Captain Henry Davenport, if these were real people I would recommend they be marooned on an island somewhere to expire. They are that irritating.
The story is set in Lochdubh, perhaps meant to be portrayed as a quaint and isolated Scottish village, full of quirky characters. Instead, they come across as nosy, holier-than-thou busybodies who vaccilate between forgiving to outraged from one section of the book to another. These are not quaint, colorful characters; they are a bunch of nutters who need to be medicated.
As for the villain of the piece? Well, let's just say we are told again and again why they are doing what they do. They are a vain psychopath. This opinion, expressed by Hamish Macbeth, is driven into our heads again and again like a railroad spike.
However, I feel that the greatest sin Beaton commits is lazy storytelling. When I read a mystery, I want to have a chance to play detective, to try and figure out who the villain is from the clues provided. I don't think that's much to ask. Do you?
Unfortunately, Mrs. Beaton doesn't provide us any clues. Revelations are made by Hamish Macbeth in the most boring fashion possible. We never get the chance, as readers, to work out the mystery for ourselves. Beaton spoon-feeds us the villain between uninteresting subplots involving tedious secondary characters.
Overall, I found this book about as engaging as a bowl of plain oatmeal. The only reason I finished it was because I kept hoping something interesting would happen. Unfortunately, that never occurred.
This book is so awful, I am not going to take it to the used bookstore for credit, like I would normally do. Instead, I am going to throw it in the garbage. If that doesn't tell you how much I hated this work, I don't think anything else will.
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Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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message 1: by Victoria (new)

Victoria Thanks for the review. I saw this on sale at Audible and came here to check it out. I only like mysteries that I get a chance to solve it. You saved me my money. Thank you.


message 2: by George (last edited Jul 18, 2012 10:45PM) (new) - rated it 1 star

George Shirer Your welcome. If you'd like to get a glimpse of what Beaton's style is like, BBC Radio is currently releasing audio-dramas of some of her Agatha Raisin mysteries. They're free so you may want to check them out for a different perspective of the writer and her works.


message 3: by Victoria (new)

Victoria George wrote: "Your welcome. If you'd like to get a glimpse of what Beaton's style is like, BBC Radio is currently releasing audio-dramas of some of her Agatha Raisin mysteries. They're free so you may want to c..."
Thanks George I will check it out.:)


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