Death of a Scriptwriter
(Hamish Macbeth Mysteries)
By M. C. Beaton
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M.C. Beaton's 14th adventure featuring Hamish Macbeth, lovable local bobby of Lochdubh, Scotland, is a similar treat to her previous efforts. Macbeth feels a dismal foreboding when television film crews descend into his neighborhood to film a local a Continue
M.C. Beaton's 14th adventure featuring Hamish Macbeth, lovable local bobby of Lochdubh, Scotland, is a similar treat to her previous efforts. Macbeth feels a dismal foreboding when television film crews descend into his neighborhood to film a local author's out-of-print mysteries. Not only are they led by an overbearing and egotistical scriptwriter, but they have completely stood the original manuscript on its head. The producers have determined that a sexy, pot-smoking heroine will bring in more viewers than the genteel and circumspect detective true to the original. The author herself and the local Calvinist minister are not amused. Before too long, the scriptwriter, the shapely actress playing the lead, and her jealous husband all end up dead, confirming Macbeth's suspicions that the gloomy village of Drim and glamorous media types were a dangerously combustible mix.
The mystery itself seems straightforward enough, but Beaton has provided more than the usual number of suspects and subplots. All of these spike the reader's interest while her wicked characterizations of both the locals and the inhabitants of TV-land are hilarious, and very occasionally thought-provoking. The real strength of the book, and indeed Beaton's work in general, is the way in which she evokes the genuine isolation of Macbeth's rural Highlands and blends it with breezy renderings of murder, mayhem, and cozy cups of tea. In some ways it's a bit of an incongruous mix, but Beaton successfully keeps the tone on the lighter side. Death of a Scriptwriter will certainly intrigue mystery fans as well as those who have wondered about the creations of the PBS/BBC series Mystery! --K.A. Crouch