From the author of the Agatha Raisin television series...
Death of a A Hamish Macbeth Mystery
Sergeant Hamish Macbeth is alarmed to receive a report from a woman in the small village of Cronish in the Scottish Highlands. She has been brutally attacked and the criminal is on the loose. But upon further investigation, Hamish discovers that she was lying about the crime. So when the same woman calls him back about an intruder, he simply marvels at her compulsion to lie. This time, though, she is telling the truth. Her body is found in her home and Hamish must sort through all of her lies to solve the crime.
Marion Chesney was born on 1936 in Glasgow, Scotland, UK, and started her first job as a bookseller in charge of the fiction department in John Smith & Sons Ltd. While bookselling, by chance, she got an offer from the Scottish Daily Mail to review variety shows and quickly rose to be their theatre critic. She left Smith’s to join Scottish Field magazine as a secretary in the advertising department, without any shorthand or typing, but quickly got the job of fashion editor instead. She then moved to the Scottish Daily Express where she reported mostly on crime. This was followed by a move to Fleet Street to the Daily Express where she became chief woman reporter. After marrying Harry Scott Gibbons and having a son, Charles, Marion went to the United States where Harry had been offered the job of editor of the Oyster Bay Guardian. When that didn’t work out, they went to Virginia and Marion worked as a waitress in a greasy spoon on the Jefferson Davies in Alexandria while Harry washed the dishes. Both then got jobs on Rupert Murdoch’s new tabloid, The Star, and moved to New York.
Anxious to spend more time at home with her small son, Marion, urged by her husband, started to write historical romances in 1977. After she had written over 100 of them under her maiden name, Marion Chesney, and under the pseudonyms: Ann Fairfax, Jennie Tremaine, Helen Crampton, Charlotte Ward, and Sarah Chester, she getting fed up with 1714 to 1910, she began to write detectives stories in 1985 under the pseudonym of M. C. Beaton. On a trip from the States to Sutherland on holiday, a course at a fishing school inspired the first Constable Hamish Macbeth story. They returned to Britain and bought a croft house and croft in Sutherland where Harry reared a flock of black sheep. But Charles was at school, in London so when he finished and both tired of the long commute to the north of Scotland, they moved to the Cotswolds where Agatha Raisin was created.
It's always a pleasure to read the newest Hamish Macbeth book and this is the thirtieth in the series. The plot is not the point. The storyline wanders around until Hamish manages to solve the crime, often through luck or coincidence. The point is to spend time with Hamish, the crazy group of villagers, and Hamish's current infatuation and current live-in coworker. Over the years I've developed an affection for Beaton's Highlands and the characters that populate it.
In this 30th book in the 'Hamish Macbeth' series, the Scottish detective investigates a woman's murder and a couple's disappearance while navigating his complicated personal life. The book can be read as a standalone.
When a woman in the Scottish village of Cronish falsely reports that she was raped Sergeant Hamish Macbeth thinks of her as the 'woman who cried wolf' and ignores her next call for help. Unfortunately her body is soon found in her house and her death seems to be connected with the disappearance of a couple who recently moved to Hamish's village of Lochdubh.
Hamish investigates the cases and as usual, Detective Inspector Blair - an alcoholic and barely competent officer - tries to sideline Hamish and get the credit for himself.
Hamish also socializes a bit with his ex-girlfriends Priscilla and Elspeth as he simultaneously tries to get a date with Anka, a polish beauty who's a deft hand at baking baps (Scottish breakfast rolls).
Unfortunately for Hamish, Anka is more friendly to Hamish's assistant Dick Fraser - a homebody cop who's excellent at cooking, cleaning, and keeping the police station (and police home) in tip top shape.
Through it all Hamish gathers clues that help him discover the connection between the crimes and solve the cases.
A large part of the fun of the series lies in the interactions between Hamish and the other characters, especially those that recur from book to book. Hamish resents Dick Fraser for cramping his style with the ladies; dislikes Blair for messing up investigations and trying to get the Lockdubh police station closed; and longs for a lady to love.
Though problems often arise and Hamish's life is sometime endangered he's never down for long. It seems the Scottish detective was born under a lucky star.
The mystery plot of the book is engaging and satisfactorily resolved. I enjoyed the book and recommend it to fans of light mysteries. A good addition to the series.
This reading experience was a bit...odd. I was expecting a cozy British mystery, but what a got was a British mystery book that was apparently trying very hard to be funny, but failed. At least for me it failed. There were so many weird things happening all the time, two spinster sisters accusing the main character, Hamish Macbeth of being a Casanova every time he was seen with a woman, a woman getting bit by a fox, a woman finding a dead body and then she stumbles and hits her head and dies, etc. But it wasn't funny, in any way. The case in itself could have been more interesting, a woman with mythomania gets killed and it all leads to a religious cult. But it lacked depth in both the characters and the story and Macbeth's women problems get a bit too much attention.
This is the first Hamish Macbeth book I read, so perhaps you have to read them from the beginning to appreciate the books and its "humor"...
Thank you Netgalley for providing me with a free copy for an honest review!
I do so enjoy MC Beaton titles as a rule but this one was not in the same class as the others. The plot was wandering all over the place, so much so I wondered what the main thrust of it was, and Hamish Macbeth was more interested in his love life and the various women that he thought he fancied and his own domestic arrangements at the police house than he was in policing the district. So all in all it was a somewhat disappointing read.
The death of the liar is an isolated incident in the early stages of the book as a woman, well known for telling untruths, calls from nearby Cromish village to say that she is being attacked. Hamish goes to investigate but discovers that it is once again one of her little lies. However, some days later she calls again to say that an intruder is in her home. Once more Hamish visits but this time he discovers that she was telling the truth as she is found murdered in her home.
This triggers off the other miscellaneous strands to the story but, unfortunately, at the end of it all I was confused as to who did what and why. As this is the 30th Hamish Macbeth story, perhaps the series has possibly run its course, for many more in this vein could well diminish MC Beaton's fantastic reputation.
A "must read" only for die-hard followers of the series. Alas, I no longer find Hamish as congenial as I did early in the series. I don't know which of us has changed, but I doubt we'll be meeting again. Hamish seems to me to have become somewhat bitter and set in his ways, the male version of the archetypal old maid. The best part of the book was the story about the fox, near the end.
Author M.C. Beaton is hilarious to follow on Facebook. Give it a try. The same humor is utilized in her Hamish MacBeth and Agatha Raisin books. I love Agatha to pieces and Hamish is also quite a character!
The Hamish MacBeth books are always fast paced and Death of a Liar is no exception. Hamish is still the head policeman at the Lochdubh Station in the Sutherland region of Northern Scotland. Beaton describes this region so beautifully as well as realistically with its harsh cold and wind. In winter it is dark there the majority of the time. There are an endless amount of villains in this region and MacBeth has managed to stumble upon most of them!
Death of a Liar is an entertaining mystery full of all of the familiar characters like Blair and Daviot as well as MacBeth's endless quest for the perfect female companion.
I highly recommend this entire series and definitely Death of a Liar which is out on February 3rd. This can be read as a stand alone as well.
A religious cult is playing the drums in the village of Cromish, where Liz Bentley claimed she was attacked, robbed and raped. She's a perpetual liar and fantasist. Nobody, including Hamish takes her seriously. And then she is dead as a door nail, with two other people getting murdered as well. Her over-religious family do not mourn her death, but welcome her wealth.
Hamish is still battling to keep his police station open, while running around solving crimes. The intrigue is expanding into a much bigger set-up when the cult is being investigated for more than just spreading bullshit, as Hamish would say. A couple vanishes in Lochdubh, which he believes is related to the death if Liz Bentley.
Hamish himself is hunted, and not only from the perpetually-obsessive Blair who wants him removed from the police force and his station closed. Blair is doing his utmost to disrupt investigations. His alcoholism is getting out of control and impacts his competency as a Detective Inspector. His wife is a friend of Hamish, and knows how to keep Hamish from harm. The constant tit for tat, the ping-pong of nastiness, between Hamish and Blair adds the comedy to these otherwise dark tales. Hamish is not the easy role-over Blair expects him to be.
The beautiful Polish baker, Anka Bajorak, enters the plot, with all the men circling the bakery like connoisseurs of Scottish breakfast rolls (baps). Was ever a woman put on this earth to scramble up a man's brains like Anka? thought Hamish. He must watch how the cozy Dick Fraser is moving in with his own passion for baking, leaving Hamish jealous and jilted in many ways.
It was an enjoyable tale, as atmospheric as it was dramatic. Poor Hamish is the anti-hero by choice, as usual, but he manages to save his police station and his way of life... and many lives. His chickens provide eggs and die of old age. Auld Angus Macdonald, one of the recurring characters, is still a fraudster, according to Hamish, but still dishes out some predictions for Hamish which tend to become true. It all depends on what the gift was that Hamish came up with ...
An engaging feel-good read when the ending is considered. Hamish remains the main attraction, with his quirky, eccentric villager friends. It is as though we do not really care for the plot so much, as we care to spend time with our beloved Hamish Macbeth, wherever it will take us. We cannot get enough of him and his interaction with the people around him.
In the end it is all about Hamish. We just love him. Period. We want to be part of his life.
Hamish MacBeth is back on the case when he rushes to some small vilage-ish where a woman called for his help claiming to have been raped. It turns out that the woman has too large a fantasy and has done so numerous times in the past, she is well known for fibbing. So when the woman calls again and claims that there are intruders in her house Hamish kinda does not believe her. The next morning he feels a bit guilty and does go out there to have a peek and the lady who cried wolf once too often is found murdered in her garden, she was tortured before her death.. This is the beginning of a crime wave of Hamish neck of the woods, new comers in Hamish village turn up to be murdered and tortured and these people turn out to be something different than they pretended to be.
WHat has that extremely popular church and its pastor to do with this case, why are there attempts on Hamish life with brute force. And how does Hamish love life develop in this installment? In in what way does Hamish want to get rid of Dick this time?
A lot of questions and murder, mayhem and fraudulent activities to untangle while Blair, Hamish adversary, does make a bloody mess of things. And yet when Hamish returns home at the last page he is happy. So the end is alright but in between there is a lot of action, eating and talking. And the highlands prove to be a place of grand gossip.
Another very enjoyable outing in Macbeths Highlands, the stories have not yet been boring or written on an automatic pilot. May mrs Beaton long continue to tell the tales of the tall ginger policeman that lacks any ambition and is so unlucky in love.
A pleasant read. Everything seems to move along at a leisurely pace in the Highlands with the occasional flurry of crime. Poor Hamish, he can't catch a break where the women in his life are concerned. At least he is beginning to realize that it could be his own fault.
A light mystery built around local characters (in both senses of the word) and set in the Scottish highlands - about as far north as you can go on the mainland. It's well into an established series, none of which I've previously read, so I expected to flounder a little with characters and subplots, but that wasn't the case: there wasn't enough depth for floundering. Gentle paddling, maybe.
I felt a lack of subtlety all through it, and couldn't subdue my internal critic enough to find any enjoyment, just ploughing through because I knew I needed to write this review. Maybe I would be less sceptical/critical had I already read other books in the series, but from where I am it was all completely overdone.
Disclaimer: I received a free copy from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Another charming Hamish McBeth adventure. All the usual characters with a sprinkling here and there of more "slightly" eccentric highland folks who always cause trouble and who Hamish cherishes. Hamish has his usual struggles looking for a woman to marry - even after his two failed engagements. Both women make appearances and, as usual, have ideas that help Hamish solve whatever crime/mystery he is seeking to solve.Two new lovely ladies become thrown into the mix of Hamish's romantic stew. The one he fancies seems quite happy sharing a bakery with his former assistant policeman but Hamish still lusts after the beautiful Polish Baker. The one who fancies him doesn't seem to warm the cockles of his anything. The mystery is a little convoluted with no real surprises. There is also a subtle look at fox hunting/killing. I enjoyed the book because I enjoy the characters but I wouldn't recommend it as the book in this series to be your first.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Goodness knows I love Hamish, and all the murders and craziness that he seems to attract. But for the love of all that's holy, we need to find him a woman! This book frankly addresses the bad luck he's had with the ladies, as Hamish tries his luck one last time with Priscilla, Elspeth, and even a couple of new ladies that meets. Poor Hamish! His ill-fated dates overshadow the string of murders and the drug ring that is causing problems throughout his beat, but honestly, I'm not reading these for the murders! I do wish that Beaton would settle Hamish down and end the series, much as I love these books, because I just think it's time.
M.C. Beaton's Hamish Macbeth series is one of my favorites, and her latest book does not disappoint. The charm of these books is not the mystery itself, but Hamish and his relationships; particularly with the people of Lochdubh. Death of a Liar focuses on Hamish and the police force for the most part, with a little Lochdubh sprinkled here and there throughout. As always, Detective Chief Inspector Blair is out to steal the spotlight from Hamish, while Hamish just wants to be left alone to his small village.
As a fan of the series, I enjoyed this book. The author brings many old favorites back for guest appearances throughout the story. I think a new reader will like the story, but may wonder why these minor characters pop in and out of chapters so quickly, when they are not necessarily related to the mystery plot.
Many, many thanks to the Goodreads first reads program for providing me with this advanced readers copy.
You would think that this series would get old, but Beaton's Hamish Macbeth doesn't disappoint. A policeman in the Scottish Highlands, Hamish gets mixed up in all kinds of murders and mayhem. A quick read.
I enjoyed this story set in the highlands of Scotland with police officer Hamish Macbeth. A woman who cried wolf once to often is found murdered and Hamish has to sort through the lies to figure out what happened. I love Hamish's wit and ability to sort through the clues to find who did it each time.
An entertaining romp in the Scottish Highlands, Hamish Macbeth is back for his 30th adventure in Death of a Liar and he doesn’t appear to have aged at all, the writing and ideas are as fresh today as they were when they began with Death of a Gossip in 1985. Funny, charismatic and a real cad, Macbeth is one of those literary characters you simply devour and can't wait to read his next adventure.
As reviously mentioned (above) a woman calls Hamish to report a crime, she’s been raped, but when Hamish investigates he discovers that the woman has a rather lengthy track record of lying. A short time later, a few cross words exchanged, Hamish receives another call that an intruder is in the house and is threatening to kill her. Macbeth being Macbeth puts the phone down and goes back to sleep, certain the woman is lying again. Little does Macbeth know that the woman for once is telling the truth.
Macbeth investigates her murder but is convinced that her death is linked to the disappearance of two new villagers in Lochdubh. What follows is an effortless and imaginative narrative, drawing the reader in to the host of characters, all with their own personality but it's Macbeth most readers are interested and it's easy to see why.
Hamish is his usual self, one minute he likes Dick's company at the police station, the next he's plotting how to get rid of him. Add to that his fickle attraction and interest to new and past romantic conquests and I'm amazed that poor old Hamish has time to do any police work! Beaton brings the area to life with a wonderful and descriptive prose, a prose that appears to rely on the ever changing weather for inspiration!
Another wonderful Hamish Macbeth adventure, simply put .....we want more!
M C Beaton enjoys international acclaim with her Agatha Raisin and Hamish MacBeth novels. I have read all of them but, sadly, think she should now wind these series up once and for all.
There are several reasons why I have come to this conclusion... Firstly, and most importantly, they try too hard to be funny but no longer make me laugh: Hamish has become an extremely selfish and disagreable cynic with a one track mind, who treats women as mindless, disposable entities. Then it is hardly an exaggeration to say that on every other page we are offered an update on the Highland weather conditions. And lastly, I am not sure whether it is the actual writing or the disgraceful editing which is at fault, but it often reads like a bad primary school reader: most of the sentences do not exceed 5 words, some paragraphs hang in the air like last minute ideas, forgotten, then jammed in between two other paragraphs, without any thought of style or natural flow, just like the very short paragraphs that suddenly contain 3 completely different threads.
I found the last Beaton novels scarcely acceptable reading matter. This 31st MacBeth is actually worse, and I have begun to hate Hamish, the main character, who I found so endearing in the early books. It is a sad fact that some series run on far too long. Goodbye Mrs Beaton.
Here’s your chance to head for the Scottish Highlands and meet an old friend, Hamish Macbeth, and if you don’t know him yet, join him at the pub for a wee sip.
Hamish Macbeth, police sergeant at his Highland outpost, investigates a woman claiming she had been brutally raped, only to find she is a well known liar in her village.
Then a new couple moves to town, yet unlike other new comers, they are rude and nasty to Hamish and the other townspeople – when they disappear, and when one is found partly buried in the garden, Hamish investigates, and then he gets another phone call from that notorious liar further north, claiming someone is breaking in and about to kill her.
Hamish goes back to sleep, only to discover that she has been killed and soon he finds himself deep in a case involving drugs, a scamming preacher with a fake church, a gorgeous Polish woman who bakes the best breakfast rolls, his long time police assistant swept away by the Polish woman, and unlucky again with women.
Join Hamish, his adopted wild Scottish cat, his floppy eared, blue-eyed dog and characters you that will have you glad you’re in the Highlands and perhaps making plans to travel and live there yourself!
06/11/22 - Love this one. Sad that Hamish doesn't recognize how fabulous his constable Dick is, and his own romantic flaws really hamper things, but this is an intriguing and twisty mystery, with elements of previous mysteries: suspicious religious congregations, suspected smuggling, the remoteness of some of the dwellings of some of the characters. I feel like Hamish took a lot of dangerous risks, because he's often left out of the loop of crucial information. And I can see why the higher-ups in police jurisdictions around Scotland wouldn't like him: he's always encroaching on their territories and going against procedure, but he's just so damn engaging and intelligent and fabulous!
07/12/18 - While it may seem that not much new territory can be covered in the 30th book of the Hamish Macbeth series, I still find the twists and turns and clues of the story to be enjoyable and there are still surprisingly many new scenarios. I've had it with Detective Inspector Blair, though, and I was so frustrated that when Hamish came in to some money, it wasn't used toward him potentially buying a place in his beloved Lochdubh or nearby.
An enjoyable read with an interesting story plot. I always look forward to a new Hamish Macbeth story each year. The character is fun to read, between his constant falling in and just as fast, falling out of love with either Elspeth or Priscilla. It makes you wonder, if or when, Hamish will make up his mind between which one he loves. I'm glad to see, Sonsie and Lugs, Hamish’s pets, playing a bigger role in this story than they have in the last few books. Hamish, and the rest of the cast, is in great form here. Everyone it seems had a great part to play in the story. The mystery was fun and at times gripping. Hope the next story will be as fun as this one was.
One of the most fun of the Hamish Macbeth series, this one features both of Hamish's ex-fiancées and some other girlfriends besides, none of whom makes much progress but it is cheering to see the coffees and dinners and a bit of yearning. This one also has a couple of slapstick scenes that are delightful, if, like slapstick must, overdone. Wonderful rollicking read! What happiness to hang out with Hamish for a while--this is one of the best of them!
Since M.C. Beaton's passing in late 2019, I have been reluctant to finish the Hamish and Agatha series even though I know she has appointed an author to continue them. However, after reading some of these later Hamish books, I'm finding these stories are just bonkers. There are tons of mini-stories throughout and the big main mystery is barely relevant anymore. Cozies always depend heavily on the setting and colorful townspeople but this is just a mass of tangents thrown together to get enough pages for a book. Some of them are entertaining, some just make you roll your eyes and some are just rehashes of old stories from prior books. I used to like Hamish more than Agatha but I now feel like Hamish is just getting nastier while Agatha is doing the opposite and I'm not sure that I am interested enough to see what the new author has in store with these characters.
I've been reading this series from the beginning. I used to like it, but the last book wasn't very good and this one is worse. Hamish has become a character I don't recognize. He's nothing like he was in the beginning. Now, he's not even likeable. He treats people horribly and worries more about his love life, or lack of it, than the torture/murders in his village.
I don't really understand the evolution of the character. I keep hoping it'll go back to the guy who worked for and cared about the people he policed. Unfortunately, I don't see that happening.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Ok, I read this because I had read the other 30 books in the series and just like the one before it this one felt like it was just a hack filling in the formula. There is really no reason on Earth for anyone to read these unless they are already reading the series and they happen to walk into the library and the book is displayed in their face making them feel somehow incomplete if they do not read it because they have read the others.
I still like Hamish himself and getting a few insights into the character of the highlands but...just but.
I'm continuing my deep dive into the Hamish myseries. I can't believe I'm at the 30th!
In this volume Hamish is dealing with a woman who is a known liar. It starts when he gets a call from a woman saying she has been raped. When Macbeth gets to the victims house it turns out she has lied. So when she calls the next night saying someone is breaking in her house Hamish hangs up on her.
The next day the woman is found dead and Hamish begins to unravel a large mystery as the bodies pile up. These books are like literary popcorn and I'm now onto the next !
In Death of a Liar, Hamish finds himself dealing with a fantasist, a con man, death by fairies, and international criminals. As he investigates, he also deals with the never-ending saga of his love life. Old loves Priscilla and Elspeth make appearances along with new romantic interests, Anka and Christine. Dick, Hamish's constable, has his own significant story line and it was nice to see him get a good story. In addition, Blair is up to his old tricks, trying to discredit Hamish and get him removed from his comfortable station and job. Lively installment in this great series.
Macbeth and the Woman Who Cried Wolf Review of the Hachette audiobook edition released simultaneously with the Grand Central Publishing hardcover edition (2015)
Death of a Liar starts off with some mysterious murders including one of a persistent liar. The plot gets very complex after that with a dubious church congregation and an international drugs gang. Hamish is in one of his perpetual love/hate relationships with his constable Dick Fraser. Dick finds his way to a woman's heart through his kitchen skills (and wins out over Hamish's fumbling romantic steps). Hamish then meets his match in his new constable Charlie Carter who joins the cast towards the end. I wasn't really liking Hamish very much in this outing, but his reconciliation with Charlie in the end did make up for it.
I'm now into the final few of the 34* Hamish Macbeth cozy mystery series set in the Scottish Highlands centered around the fictional village of Lochdubh. I wish I could slow down my reading & listening in order to make them last longer, but they are so irresistible that they have become my go-to default read during this continuing lockdown (Ontario, Canada where I live is currently still in a stay-at-home order situation until possibly June, 2021). Fortunately the library is operating efficiently with their holds system and their curbside pickup. They also provide the opportunity of online audiobook loans via Overdrive.
*No. 34 Death of a Love (2021?) has yet to be released due to delays following M.C. Beaton's (aka Marion Chesney's) passing in late 2019.