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Death of a Poison Pen

(Hamish Macbeth #19)

3.82  ·  Rating details ·  3,586 ratings  ·  232 reviews
From the author of the Agatha Raisin television series...DEATH OF A POISON PEN: A Hamish Macbeth MysteryWhen the residents of Lochdubh begin receiving poison pen letters, no one takes them seriously. But Constable Hamish Macbeth fears them, and his instincts prove correct when the postmistress is found hanging from a rope with a vicious poison pen letter at her feet.
Paperback, 227 pages
Published January 1st 2005 by Warner Books (first published February 2004)
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145 books — 39 voters
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3.82  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,586 ratings  ·  232 reviews

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Bobby Underwood
Oct 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing
The Highlands are habitually rife with humor and delicious mystery between the covers of every Hamish Macbeth book from author M.C. Beaton. Constable for a patch of Scotland where gossip and superstition often exasperate Hamish Macbeth, he nonetheless loves his fair Lochdubh and its quirky residents. The mysteries are certainly fun, but it is the atmosphere which keeps readers coming back time and again. Finishing a Hamish book always seems to lighten our load and remind us it is the small thing ...more
May 28, 2014 rated it liked it
I like the character Hamish Macbeth and this series HOWEVER I have a problem with this particular book. Hamish remembers that a dentist had been killed in Braikie (Death of a Dentist) and that an elderly man, Fred Sutherland, lived above the dentist's office. He wondered whether Fred still lived in that same place. SERIOUSLY??? Certainly Hamish has found lots of dead bodies in various places, but HOW WOULD HE HAVE FORGOTTEN that Fred was killed not long after the dentist??? WHERE ARE THE COPY ED ...more
The Flooze
May 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
It's amazing how increasingly complicated these stories get. What starts as an irritating case of poison pen letters ends with multiple shocking deaths in the village of Braikie.

Hamish's investigations are helped and hindered by two women. Though both have an interest in him, their motivations are muddled. Jenny, a visitor with a jealous streak, is mostly eager to put Priscilla's nose out of joint. Elspeth, the local reporter, is genuinely attracted to the man but is also very keen to find a st
Jan 31, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: free-nook-books
A few disclaimers before I go on with this review. 1. This was a free Barnes and Noble serial read so I didn't choose it, it chose me. 2. This is the 19th book in a series (great starting point B&N!) so I do not know all the nuances of the life and times of Hamish Macbeth overall, just this little slice of it. 3. Spoilers obviously follow. 4. On to the review.

This is titled Death of a Poison Pen, but I think it really should have been called Everyone in this book is lousy at their job and sh
Nathalie S
Oct 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I love the Hamish Macbeth mysteries by M.C. Beaton! This is my second time through this particular title. I really like reader Graeme Malcolm who just personifies Hamish to me. Hamish is the village bobby in Lochdubh (pronounced Lor-Doo) in Scotland. He is brilliant but is not ambitious, preferring to stay in his little police cottage with his few sheep and hens and his dog. He was once promoted to sergeant and had to move to the drug infested Strathbane which he hated. In this book, poison pen ...more
Jan 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
Going to try something new. This book is available as a serial read on Barnes and Noble. So you are allowed a bit of the story to read each day of the month. I have read a few of the author's other books so I thought I would give this a try. We shall see how this goes. Hope it is worth the torture of waiting to read the next part. Well it did not take a month to read the whole book and it was entertaining but I struggled with having to stop at a good point and waiting until the next day to read ...more
Jan 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: b-n-serial-reads
This was the Barnes and Noble Nook serial read for the month of January.

It's always a bit odd to jump into a series at book 19. I do feel like this did a good job of summarizing the important parts of what happened previously so that I was not lost. I really liked Hamish and would be interested in reading more of this series because of him. But I don't think I have ever read a book with so many characters I just could not stand. Jenny is probably the worst I have ever come across. She is feeling
Dale Safford
Oct 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I listened to this book once, then had an unexpected trip come up and it was what I had available, so I heard it again, all within two weeks. It was just as good the second time! I love these characters. The dry humor is very entertaining, especially when mentioning lesbians, and an innocent schoolgirl responds "they didn't look Greek to me." :-) And the old biddies finding "thong" underwear, and telling the owner of them to "get a respectable pair of knickers that are tight at the knee." LOL Th ...more
C.J. Prince
May 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I was disappointed in #19 and was going to set Hamish Macbeth aside for a bit. However, driven by curiosity, I grabbed this one and found Hamish to be his own charming self.

M.C. Beaton is increasingly clever in plot lines and murder and the entangled complexity of who-dun-it.

Someone knows something about the locals, details that will humiliate, anger or set one off for revenge. Poison pen letters, details that can injure in a small town. All the ingredients for a murder.

Now, will Hamish ever g
Jan 05, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2010
I am loving this series of mysteries set in Scotland and the bumbling redheaded Detective Hamis MacBeth. I love the setting of this book and the interesting characters that populate village life here in the North of Scotland and the sexual tension that abounds between Elspeth and him.
In this Mystery someone is sending poison pen letters causing people to die and Hamish must find out who and why along the way fighting off the advances of Jenny.
In Beatons description of the North of Scotland you l
Jun 20, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another fun small village mystery in this series. There isn't much more that I haven't said about this series, but I continue to enjoy it. I love how Hamish is casually smarter than everyone else. And how the author can write very silly characters who aren't too over the top, but are sometimes hard to believe. Nosiness and jealous always seemed to prevail over common sense, typically getting people into trouble. Hamish being attracted to everyone women he's with (it seems) may get old, but lucki ...more
Will Bellais
Oct 29, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: fans of Hamish MacBeth
Shelves: mystery
Just finished this one. Great fun story of prudish, religious types who let their fear of "bastard-hood" create a terrible chain of murders. The touch of Scotland in this one is strong. I always enjoy Hamish MacBeth -- and I've been M.C. Beaton long before she started the successful mystery series. (There are two continuing series).
Nov 16, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: reviewed
Exactly what a cozy is supposed to be: cozy, perfect for a lazy afternoon with a cuppa. I'm halfway through Gyorgy Spiro's astonishing "Captivity" and needed to step back for a breather. So, a huge thanks to M.C. Beaton for providing this very cozy cozy.
Jun 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
was really pleased to read a "hamish macbeth" whodunit again - a few twists, some humor, and the wonderful atmosphere of the Highlands
Rose Blum
Jul 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Thoroughly enjoyable ~ great mental picture of the Highland scenery ~ excellent detective work ~ Hamish Macbeth at his red headed best!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :)
Oct 17, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mysteries
Boy, I tell ya, taking a holiday in the Highlands sounds awfy risky . . .
Jan 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
My favorite one so far. I particularly loved the ending. lol
Patricia Mack
Jul 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
I m endlessly delighted with this series and the main character, Hamish MacBeth. Clever casting, ingeneous story lines and gentle humor. .. what could be better
Jan 23, 2018 rated it it was ok
2.5 Stars! I love Cozy mysteries, but this one had very little mystery and pages and pages full of stupid characters. Every single person (except for the main character) was either stupid or incredibly mean and self-centered.
This is the first book I’ve read in this series, so I don’t know if I just picked a bad one or this is just the way things are in these books. I really liked Hamish, but that’s about it :(
Mar 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
No surprises here. Someone in or around Loch Dubh dies in a peculiar manner. Hamish deduces that it's murder. Currie sisters show up to act as Greek Chorus? Check. Angela Brodie takes care of the dog? Check. Elspeth or Priscilla help Hamish on the case? Check. Blair give Hamish a hard time? Check. Lots of driving around the sometimes gorgeous, sometimes dismal landscape? Check. This one was either written before the wild cat came to live with Hamish or she has been disposed of and I missed the b ...more
Jan 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
So here we have the first B&N Readouts selection for 2018, a mystery revolving around jealousy and murder, although the two are not in relation to each other. I'm enjoying the process of imagining the setting of this book, as it takes place in the Scottish Highlands, which sounds just beautiful (albeit dangerous) so far.

Although I'm beginning this series with the 19th book, so I suppose there are quite a few details and events that I've missed, regarding the main character, Hamish Macbeth. B
Sep 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
One of the best in the Hamish Macbeth series, this one has all I love: a real mystery at the heart of the murders, unexpected twist in discovering who it is, love interest that heats up among three women, one getting the prize (at least for now), and a plot that touches many of us--the hurt of rumor and accusation and using secrets to make serious trouble-- Lochdubh in all its glory, Blair in all his awfulness, and Hamish, as ever, the Hamish we love.
Doesn't ever drag, and it seemed there was a
Denise Barney
Jan 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was the free Serial Read for the month of January on the Barnes & Noble Nook app.

Hamish Macbeth is a policeman in a small village in the Highlands. He likes it and doesn’t want to be promoted to a larger town. So he doesn’t mind when his “boss” takes credit for his work. Hamish also seems to have problems with making commitments to girlfriends, which figures into this story.

Someone is writing “poison pen” letters and sending them to various folks. This is a nuisance until the Postmist
Jan 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Death of a Poison Pen by M. C. Beaton is a good book. I read this through a B&N serial read where a new chapter is delivered every day to my Nook. The plot and characters are well developed and I enjoyed the interaction of Hamish Macbeth with the townspeople. At times Hamish and others would revert to local dialect and I had to really concentrate to get the meaning of the dialog. Other than that, I found this book to be an easy read and I was trying to solve the murders along with Hamish.

Peter Barr
Jul 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the 19th edition of the Hamish Macbeth mysteries by M.C.Beaton. Macbeth is a police constable in a Highland Scotland village called Lochdubh. I have to check to see how many murders actually occur in rural Scotland some time. It can't be anywhere close to the number that goes on in these mysteries. To get back to the story here, the scenery, characters and story are always engaging in this series. Macbeth, like Sherlock Holmes, is a terrific policeman and has no clue romantically. He has ...more
Oct 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
Constable Hamish Macbeth is involved with more murders than usual There is also someone who is writing vicious letters to local people. These letters stir up emotions and gossip.
In this book Hamish has more than his usual problems with women. He has a difficult time juggling women on a routine basis but this story has several women who are interested in him and he does not know how to handle it.
I love this series of cozy mysteries.
Jan 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Hamish MacBeth knows poison pen letters lead to trouble and sure enough they do. Two murders, a post mistress and a former head of school. A friend of Priscilla's Jenny goes north to try to take up with Hamish. But her time is marked by bodily harm. Hamish is still Hamish and he goes about solving the murders in Death of a Poison Pen. M.C. Beaton is always entertaining when writing these mysteries.
Aug 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
Love this series so much and especially love lanky redheaded constable, Hamish Macbeth. He's unambitious, intelligent, humorous with a special Highland sensory gift that helps him in his job to care for and keep his villagers safe. He often goes above the call of duty to help when sensing there is a special need for help. To the start of each chapter, the author likes to put a piece of prose or quote, etc. that relates to the chapter.
Kelsey Hanson
Jul 04, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction, mystery
I really wish that these stories would spend a little less time on Hamish's love life and the random women that seem to drift in and out and more time on the actual mystery. I really didn't care for the addition of Priscilla's random, petty friend, Jenny. The actual mystery was pretty grave for this light-hearted series but it was intriguing.
Aug 30, 2013 rated it liked it
An easy read, although not compelling. Overall, I prefer the Hamish Macbeth series to the Agatha Raisin ones, but not sure I will read any more of these.
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Marion Chesney Gibbons
aka: Ann Fairfax, Jennie Tremaine, Helen Crampton, Marion Chesney, Charlotte Ward, Sarah Chester.

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 Scottis

Other books in the series

Hamish Macbeth (1 - 10 of 33 books)
  • Death of a Gossip (Hamish Macbeth, #1)
  • Death of a Cad (Hamish Macbeth, #2)
  • Death of an Outsider (Hamish Macbeth, #3)
  • Death of a Perfect Wife (Hamish Macbeth, #4)
  • Death of a Hussy (Hamish Macbeth, #5)
  • Death of a Snob (Hamish Macbeth, #6)
  • Death of a Prankster (Hamish Macbeth, #7)
  • Death of a Glutton (Hamish Macbeth, #8)
  • Death of a Travelling Man (Hamish Macbeth, #9)
  • Death of a Charming Man (Hamish Macbeth, #10)
“What’s gone, and what’s past help Should be past grief. —William Shakespeare” 3 likes
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