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Death of a Maid (Hamish Macbeth Mysteries, No. 23) Hardcover – February 22, 2007

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

At the start of Beaton's enjoyable 22nd Hamish Macbeth mystery (after 2006's Death of a Dreamer), the lovable Scottish constable stumbles over the body of a gossipy housecleaner, Mrs. Mavis Gillespie. She's been bludgeoned to death with her own pail, and there are plenty of suspects to go around in the Highlands village of Lochdubh. None of her clients liked her, but they insist she was a superb maid. Macbeth, noticing thick layers of dust in their homes, digs a little deeper and learns that Mrs. Gillespie was a more skilled blackmailer than housecleaner. His jealous senior colleagues try to thwart his investigation, but he's determined to get to the bottom of things. Meanwhile, the arrival of an erstwhile ladyfriend in town with a new beau makes lifelong bachelorhood appear not so appealing to Macbeth, who remains as charming a hero as ever in this funny, unpredictable read. (Feb.)
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From Booklist

The laid-back Hamish Macbeth police procedurals, set in the remote reaches of the Scottish Highlands, almost define the British cozy. The Atlantic rages at the borders of the tiny village of Lochdubh, while unseemly passions rage within the town's picturesque cottages, reliably spilling over into murder. Macbeth, the local constable, is responsible for cleaning up the messes. A conflict running through the series, which gives a bit of contemporary zest to the plots, is Macbeth's struggles to fight against promotion, which would entail leaving the trout streams and Highland paths of Lochdubh for the crime-ridden streets of Strathbane. In this twenty-second entry in the much-loved series, a mean-spirited local housecleaner is brained with her own bucket. Local feeling runs so high against the nasty, gossiping shrew that Macbeth's suspect card is overfull. Macbeth's investigation uncovers, as usual, secrets seemingly worth defending with murder. As usual, Beaton delivers a delightfully old-fashioned, absorbing village mystery. Connie Fletcher
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Mysterious Press; First US Edition edition (February 22, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0892960108
  • ISBN-13: 978-0892960101
  • Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 0.9 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (60 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,053,491 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

M.C. BEATON has won international acclaim for her bestselling Hamish Macbeth and Agatha Raisin mysteries. She is also the author of over 100 romance titles and a series of romantic suspense, The Edwardian Mystery Series. M. C. Beaton lives in a Cotswold cottage with her husband.

Marion is active on Facebook using her most popular pen name, M.C. Beaton. You can find complete book lists, information on events, and sign up for news updates at her website, www.MCBeaton.com.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 25 people found the following review helpful By L O'connor on February 14, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Once more Hamish's peaceful life as policeman in the Scottish Highlands is disturbed by murder. This time the victim is a disagreeable cleaning lady called Mrs Gillespie. Hamish doesn't have any trouble discovering the motive, but the problem is deciding which of the many suspects could have done it. And of course he also has to cope with his usual problem of making sure no-one high up finds out what a brilliant detective he is and promotes him away from his beloved village beat. Not to mention trying to sort out his complex love-life, still dreaming of Priscilla, dithering over whether or not to marry Elspeth, and getting involved with a few other attractive women just to complicate matters.

The Hamish Macbeth novels are always fun to read, and this one has all the features of the earlier books, an ingenious plot, good characters, and plenty of humorous touches. I must admit that personally I am a little tired of Hamish's dithering over whether or not to get married, I wish he'd just make up his mind one way or the other, but this is only a minor quibble. A new Hamish Macbeth novel is always a treat.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Armchair Interviews on February 25, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Hamish Macbeth was a policeman in a small Scottish village. He cherished his quiet life in the Highlands and got more than he bargained for when he won Mrs. Gillespie's maid service at the church raffle. Just when Macbeth was beginning to suspect that Mrs. Gillespie was snooping around the police station more than she was cleaning, he found her lifeless body outside one of her cleaning client's home. It was common knowledge that she was a much disliked gossip, but as Macbeth investigated further, there seemed to be something more sinister lurking behind the apparently serene village scene.

As the body count went up, Macbeth not only had to deal with superiors from the city headquarters who despised him, he also had to watch his ex-girlfriend parade into town with her new boyfriend. With his personal life in a bit of a turmoil and the risk of his superiors closing down the village police station, Macbeth was glad when they finally wrapped up the murder case...or so he thought.

Although this was the 22nd installment of the Hamish Macbeth series--and I have seen the BBC productions based on the series--this was the first time I read any of the books. This was a nice easy read and the story flowed well with twist and turns in the plot. However, the writing itself was bland with no sparks in it at all. I am sure the regular Hamish Macbeth followers would enjoy seeing their familiar characters engaged in another adventure. I think this would make a good TV adaptation; however, if I were to read another Hamish Macbeth mystery, I would most likely choose one of the earlier works that made the series a success.

FYI: M.C. Beaton is the pseudonym Marion Chesney reserves for her mystery novels.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By S. Schwartz on March 18, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Ms. Beaton is, bar none, the Queen of the Village Mystery, and her two long-running series prove this. This latest in the Hamish Macbeth series is just as good as any of the previous, and that's saying something since this is number twenty-two. Hamish never gets boring, and I love going back to Lochdubh to see what the locals are doing now. The things that go on in this little sleepy village, as well as the other little villages around are enough to make your hair curl. And through it all we have wonderful Hamish who appears to be sleepily pursuing his life interests, and at first, it you don't know Hamish, he appears to not know what's going on. But he's way to sharp to miss anything at all that goes on on his patch. He always manages to cover some pretty unsavoury secrets that the people that live in his area have tried very hard to keep hidden. And he usually ends up in some danger himself while he's after the truth. In this book this all happens, but Hamish also finds himself on the wrong side of a very dangerous mob head who wants to see him dead. I sure hope there are a lot more Hamish Macbeth mysteries to come yet.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By S. Stewart on March 9, 2007
Format: Hardcover
If you enjoyed any previous Hamish MacBeth novels you will not be disappointed in this one. Hamish continues to evolve at just right the pace. MC Beaton is skilled to be able to reweave the same basic plots and keep them fresh every time. Elspeth is more interesting than Priscilla and the pets are lovable. I'm looking forward to the next Hamish MacBeth novel.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Patricia Ibbotson VINE VOICE on May 6, 2007
Format: Hardcover
It's hard to believe that this is the 22nd book in the Hamish Macbeth mystery series. Regular readers of this series eagerly await each new book about the life and crime-solving adventures of this bachelor constable in the village of Lochdubh in northern Scotland. Lochdubh is a sleepy village where nothing much happens except for an occasional murder. This time the victim is a a cleaning woman who is widely disliked and suspected of blackmail. Again there are romantic complications for Macbeth who is very ambivalent about marriage, instead doting on his cat and dog. These books are all light reading and enjoyable escapes into village life in the Scottish highlands. Fans of Macbeth will no doubt enjoy this book and look forward to the next one in the series.
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